Our research interests
Mental, behavioral, and emotional disorders, which include schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorders, are highly debilitating and diminish a person’s ability to function and quality of life. Unfortunately, few novel and effective therapies have developed in recent decades, hampered by our limited understanding of disease mechanisms.
We are interested in using genomics to answer specific questions related to the causes of mental illnesses. For instance, which genes are associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia or major depression? What biological pathways and processes are these genes involved in? Which cell types and neuronal circuits are perturbed by the risk variants and genes linked to each psychiatric disorder?
In the last decade, large global efforts have generated genetic data for hundreds of thousands of individuals. These large data sets were initially designed to study specific traits and conditions, As part of these collaborations, we have identified specific genes associated with severe psychiatric disorders. More recently, genetic data of national biobanks allow us to explore thousands of phenotypes in hundreds of thousands of individuals. We will use the depth and diversity of these datasets to study and characterize the effects of genetic risk factors for psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders.
To this end, our team generates, analyzes, and integrates genetic and functional data to understand the causes of mental illnesses. We will use these findings to build specific biological hypotheses on disease pathogenesis that lead to new therapies. Broadly, we: (i) develop and apply methods to identify robust genetic associations and pinpoint disease-specific genes through the meta-analyses of sequence data of psychiatric disorders, (ii) characterize the range of clinical outcomes of common and rare genetic risk by studying clinical collections and population biobanks, and (iii) develop methods and approaches to integrate genetic and functional data to prioritize biological tissues, cell types, and processes relevant to disease.
Genetic architecture of schizophrenia
Rare variants in SETD1A conferring risk for schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders