Student Projects

Statistical Genetic Analyses of Psychotic and Mood Disorders

Project Supervisor/s

PhD or Honours project. Seeking a motivated student with experience in psychology, genetics, epidemiology or statistics dry lab analysis focused project.

BACKGROUND

Psychiatric disorders rank fifth in global causes of disease, contributing nearly 20% to non-fatal disease burden. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are associated with a substantial genetic risk, with genetic estimated to explain 60-80% of variability in these disorders. Although depression is less heritable, there are significant overlaps between these three disorders, with bipolar disorder often considered the intermediary between depression and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression have been shown to share genetic and biological factors that contribute to their development and course but as of yet the biological aetiology of these disorders is not clearly known.

AIM

This research project aims to further develop our understanding of psychotic and mood disorders through the lens of genetic analyses. By utilising a range of statistical techniques, this project can develop towards triangulating evidence from a variety of sources and explore biological mechanisms that are both shared and unique between these disorders.

METHOD

This project aims to use a variety of statistical genetic analyses, such as genome-wide association studies, polygenic risk scores, Mendelian randomization, pathway analysis and biological annotation. This project will utilise recent data from Australian medication-based recruitment studies conducted at QIMR Berghofer including the Australian Genetics of Depression Study (N=22,000), Australian Bipolar Genetics Study (N=5,000) and the currently recruiting Clozagene Study (schizophrenia). In addition, this research group are active collaborators within the Psychiatric Genetics Consortium (PGC) and have access to the largest available GWAS summary statistics for all three disorders.

To apply for this project, please contact the project supervisor/s

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