Assistant Professor Laramie Duncan 
Director of the Integrative Mental Health Laboratory
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
Stanford University 


Title: Linking human brain cell types to psychiatric disorders


Abstract: Over the past 15 years, massive human genetic studies have revealed thousands of risk factors (loci) for psychiatric disorders.  The polygenic architecture of disorders like schizophrenia and depression is now clear from genome-wide association studies (GWAS).  While these landmark studies have yielded many discoveries about psychiatric disorders, they have also raised a new challenge: namely, determining the mechanistic relevance of associated genomic loci.  Fortunately, technological advances have also enabled brain-wide surveys of human cell types using transcriptomes from single nuclei (snRNAseq).  Here, we combined these two landmark data resources (GWAS + snRNAseq) to infer the cell types involved in the etiology of schizophrenia and other complex brain phenotypes.  This work reveals: 1) cell types that are concordant with prior findings about schizophrenia, 2) novel cell type associations for schizophrenia, 3) greater molecular specificity regarding schizophrenia-associated cell types than was previously available, 4) evidence that well powered genome-wide and brain-wide datasets are required for these analyses, 5) cellular profiles for additional disorders including depression and Alzheimer’s Disease, and 6) a prototype for a cell-type based classification system for psychiatric and other brain disorders.  In sum, this work formalizes a genome-wide, brain-wide approach to understanding complex brain disorders, and it specifies a roadmap toward drug repurposing, novel drug development, and personalized treatment recommendations.


About Neuroscience Seminars

Neuroscience seminars at the QBI play a major role in the advancement of neuroscience in the Asia-Pacific region. The primary goal of these seminars is to promote excellence in neuroscience through the exchange of ideas, establishing new collaborations and augmenting partnerships already in place.

Seminars in the QBI Auditorium on Level 7 are held on Wednesdays at 12-1pm, which are sometimes simulcast on Zoom (with approval from the speaker). We also occassionally hold seminars from international speakers via Zoom. The days and times of these seminars will vary depending on the time zone of the speaker. Please see each seminar listed below for details. 


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018