Speaker :

Professor Naomi Wray
Program in Complex Trait Genomics
Institute for Molecular Bioscience & Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland

Title: "Progress in ALS genomics research from the Ice Bucket Challenge Grant"

Abstract: In 2014 the Ice Bucket Challenge raised $1.1M for research which was awarded as a single grant. That 3-year grant concluded in May 2019. I will provide an update on what has been established and some of the research outcomes integrated with other research results from the brain disorders theme of the Program in Complex Trait Genomics. Technological advances of the last decade mean that the genome, epigenome, and transcriptome are now more easily measurable. These data, when compared between cases and controls identify disease-associated genes and help to build a clearer picture of ALS biology. Whereas the genome is the same in every cell and throughout life, the other ‘omics measures can reflect biological responses to the environment and the disease process. Differences in ‘omics measures between cases and controls can generate hypotheses about disease process, and differences amongst cases may help understanding of disease progression and between individual-heterogeneity. Another approach is to integrate genomic data from ALS cases/controls with ‘omics data generated on healthy people linking via DNA polymorphisms. For example, if a DNA polymorphism is associated with ALS, we can interrogate reference data sets to ask if the variant controls variation between people in DNA methylation or gene expression, and if so, is this control of gene expression tissue-specific. In this way, bioinformatics analyses can quickly and cheaply generate hypotheses for testing in a laboratory. I will draw on examples from our in-house genome and ‘omics data in ALS and other disorders. The vision of what current and future ‘omics technologies can deliver led to the establishment of the SALSA Systems Genomics Consortium, funded by the Ice Bucket Challenge.



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.

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Neuroscience Seminars archive 2005-2018