Associate Professor Margie Wright: Imaging genomics

The Wright laboratory's research is at the interface of cognitive neuroscience and genetics. We focuse on the neurobiological causes and modifiers of brain function, and especially brain disorders. A key aim is to determine whether there are particularly sensitive periods when genetic and environmental factors alter the developmental trajectory in adolescence, and mediate risk for mental illness. The group uses a combination of approaches to track adolescent brain development, including neuroimaging, genetic, behavioural, and neuropsychological.

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Researcher biography

Associate Professor Margie Wright is head of the Imaging Genomics Group at the Queensland Brain Institute and Centre for Advanced Imaging, the University of Queensland. Her research focuses on the neurobiological causes and modifiers of cognitive function associated with development, including ageing, and, especially brain disorders. Much of this work takes a multi-method approach using neuroimaging (MRI, DTI, task and resting state fMRI) and cutting-edge techniques to interrogate brain images in key periods (e.g. adolescence) and across the lifespan in twin and non-twin cohorts, as well as neuropsychological tests, and behavioural and molecular genetic approaches.

Margie did her undergraduate Honours degree at the University of Otago, in Neurophysiology, and her PhD in Psychophysiology, at Flinders University. Following postdoctoral work at Flinders and the University of Queensland she joined the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and with Nick Martin established the Genes for Cognition Study, including over 3000 adolescent twins. She is recognized internationally for pioneering the collection of multi-modal imaging from large population samples, together with behavioural and genetic data, initiating the Queensland Twin Imaging study, one of the first large-scale MRI studies in twins in the world. This brought together, for the first time, researchers from QIMR Berghofer, the Centre for Advanced Imaging, University of Queensland and the University of California Los Angeles. She also directed the Queensland arm of the Older Australian Twins Study, a multi-site study of healthy brain ageing, and in 2009 was a founding member of the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) consortium, a worldwide effort using genome-wide association meta-analysis to identify genetic variants that affect the brain. She relocated her group to QBI in 2015.

Margie is a strong proponent of the importance of collaborative research. She has published widely with over 300 journal articles in the fields of cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and genetics.