Prof Eske Derks: Eske.Derks@qimrberghofer.edu.au
- Honours or PhD project
Background: Mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, ADHD, substance use) are the leading cause of global disease burden in the children and young adult population. High rates of co-occurring psychiatric disorders have been observed, in addition to associations with poor physical health, for example, obesity, or poorer functioning, for example lower educational attainment. Comorbidity is associated with a higher severity and poorer outcome. Genetic epidemiological and molecular genetic studies have shown that the high phenotypic comorbidity is at least partly explained by sharing of genetic risk factors. The Translational Neurogenomics group (see https://www.qimrberghofer.edu.au/lab/translational-neurogenomics/) aims to investigate the underlying mechanisms of the associations between mental disorders, physical traits and other associated characteristics making use of publicly available databases such as UK biobank or Genome Wide Association Study summary statistics from the EArly Genetics and Lifecourse Epidemiology (EAGLE) or Psychiatric Genomics consortia.
Study aim: To investigate the underlying mechanisms explaining the associations within mental disorders and between mental disorders and other traits.
A research question can, for example, be whether the genetic correlation between insomnia and many mental disorders is due to genuine associations or whether it is due to insomnia being associated with one disorder, e.g., depression, which in turn is associated with all the other mental disorders. This is an important question as insomnia is associated with poor outcome of many mental disorders.
Student profile: We are seeking a highly motivated student with a strong interest in statistics and quantitative studies.
What do we offer: A position in a dynamic research environment and the opportunity to conduct high-quality studies. Access to large-scaled datasets through (inter)national collaborations. Be part of a successful research team.
Ensure you have familiarised yourself with QIMR Berghofer's student program process.