Robert Maier (PhD Exit Seminar)

Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland

Title: "Improving genetic risk prediction in psychiatric disorders and other complex traits"


The genetic nature of psychiatric disorders was observed by clinicians long before DNA had been identified as the molecule of inheritance. Until recently this knowledge has not contributed substantially to treatment efforts or to a better understanding of the disease processes because we lacked the necessary genetic data. Advances in genotyping technologies have brought an end to this data shortage which is leading to a better understanding of the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders. Two patterns started to emerge which were uncommon in earlier studied Mendelian disorders. (i) most of the genetic part of disease risk is conferred by a large number of genetic loci of small effect, and (ii) genetic loci often influence a large number of traits at the same time. While this is true of many so-called complex traits, these two phenomena (polygenicity and pleiotropy) are particularly pronounced in psychiatric disorders. This has wide-reaching consequences for the analysis and interpretation of genetic data and provides challenges as well as opportunities. Here I will show how polygenicity and pleiotropy can be used to study the genetic heterogeneity of psychiatric disorders, and how these concepts can help to improve the prediction of genetic risk.

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.

The scheduled QBI Neuroscience Seminar series are held on Wednesdays from 11am-12pm in the Level 7 Auditorium of the Queensland Brain Institute, Building 79, St Lucia Campus, The University of Queensland. Additional seminars may be held at other times as listed below.


Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2016