Queensland Twin Adolescent Brain (QTAB) project
Data collection 2017-2020
This project is enabled through NHMRC funding granted to Margie Wright (CIA), Greig de Zubicaray, Katie McMahon, and Paul Thompson. It will extend our understanding of normative brain changes during adolescence, including sex differences, the effects of puberty, and the role of genetic and environmental influences. Brain imaging and behavioural data will be collected longitudinally, allowing us to critically examine factors contributing to optimal cognitive and emotional functioning during this important transition period and to gain insights into vulnerabilities that may underlie brain disorders and mental illness.
Queensland Twin Imaging (QTIM) project
Data collection 2007-2012 – analyses ongoing
This collaborative project was initiated with NIH funding granted to Margie Wright (PI), Paul Thompson, Greig de Zubicaray, Nick Martin, Katie McMahon, and Arthur Toga (bringing together researchers from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, the University of Queensland, and the University of California, Los Angeles). Brain imaging was collected in a large genetically-informative population sample of young adults (N>1200) for whom a range of behavioural traits, including cognitive function, were already characterised (as a component of the Brisbane Adolescent Twin Study, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute)). The project continues to add to our understanding of the genetic influences that determine variation in neuroanatomic structure, neural connectivity, and cognitive ability. Examining these relationships in a healthy cohort also provides insights into the role of genes associated with brain-related measures of neurological and psychiatric disease. In addition, the project joins with 50+ groups worldwide contributing data (>30,000 subjects) to the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Consortium, which pools data to maximise power and validate findings within the field of imaging genetics.
Memory, Attention, and Problem Solving (MAPS) project, also known as the Cognition Study, a component of the Brisbane Adolescent Twin Study
Data collection 1996-2012 – analyses ongoing
This long-running project was led by Margie Wright in collaboration with Nick Martin (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute). Other researchers involved at different stages of the project include Gina Geffen, Laurie Geffen, Glen Smith, Michelle Luciano, Graham Halford, David Shum, Glenda Andrews, and Naomi Wray. Cognitive and behavioural data were collected from 16-year-old twin pairs and their siblings (N>2700). The broad aim of the project was, and is, to investigate individual differences in cognitive abilities, and in particular, the contribution of genetic and environmental factors. The data continue to contribute to worldwide initiatives exploring the genetics of cognitive function.
Older Australian Twin Study (OATS)
Data collection began in 2007 and is ongoing in New South Wales and Victoria (data collection ran 2007-2016 in Queensland, based at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute) – analyses ongoing
This project was initiated by Perminder Sachdev (School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales) and expanded to include researchers in Queensland and Victoria. The OATS investigative team comprises David Ames, Bernhard Baune, Henry Brodaty, John Crawford, Teresa Lee, Nick Martin, Karen Mather, Christopher Rowe, Perminder Sachdev, Katherine Samaras, Peter Schofield, Julian Trollor, Wei Wen, and Margie Wright, who directed the Queensland arm of the study. The study is longitudinal in design and investigates healthy brain ageing in older twins (65+ years, N = 623 at baseline). Measures collected include brain imaging and cognitive function, as well as genotypes. The study has formed collaborative partnerships with other twin and/or imaging studies around the world, including the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Consortium.
“Imagine Cerebral Palsy” Genome and Connectome Study
Blood collection 2017-2018
This project was funded by the Research Foundation of Cerebral Palsy Alliance (Margie Wright, CI) with co-investigators Roslyn Boyd, Stephen Rose, Gai McMichael, and Michael Fahey). It builds on the PREDICT-CP Study (Roslyn Boyd, CI), in which children with cerebral palsy have been recruited for brain imaging and assessment of motor and cognitive function. The current project allows collection of a blood sample from 240 families (child and both parents) and subsequent whole exome sequencing for a subset of 40 families. This study expands on prior work by combining whole exome sequencing and brain imaging to identify rare/unique, and potentially highly penetrant, genetic variants in child-parent trios, with the aim of providing biological insights into the disease mechanisms of cerebral palsy.
ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis) Consortium
This consortium was founded in 2009 and is led by Paul Thompson (University of Southern California). Margie Wright was a founding member and is one of a number of Australian researchers who continue to play a leading role in the consortium - now a global alliance of over 500 scientists from over 200 institutions in 35 countries with brain MRI data available for >30,000 individuals (approximately a third being patients with a range of psychiatric conditions). ENIGMA is organised into working groups that examine (i) normal variation in brain structure and function within the population, for example, as related to brain plasticity, ageing, and lateralization, (ii) disease-related variation in conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, and ADHD, (iii) genomics approaches such as genome-wide association analysis and epigenetic analyses, and (iv) protocol development. Large-scale collaborative consortia such as ENIGMA herald a new era in the field of imaging genetics in which the reliability of findings is paramount.