Biomedical Sciences Seminar – 13th December 2018 at 3pm

Biomedical Sciences Seminar

Location: Seminar room, BSB

Time: 3pm

Title:  Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression

Presented by Dr Gerome Breen, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London

Hosted by Dr. Derek Morris

All are welcome.

Exploring both the environmental and genetic risk factors for depression  and anxiety are essential if geneticists and epidemiologists can  contribute to the improvements in healthcare for these disorders, which affect 25-30% of the population at some point during their life. We are  conducting genetics analyses of depression in UK Biobank on >157,000  people who have completed a standardised questionnaire on common mental  disorders that included 26 childhood and adult trauma items. I will  present on the heritability of depression in cases who did and did not  experience severe trauma (such as abuse and domestic violence) as well  as their implications for gene-environment studies. Turning to trying to  find new drugs and targets from GWAS data, we have analysed the recent  Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) data, which found 44 independent  variants loci for major depression and find a significant enrichment for  the targets of known antidepressants. In UK Biobank we also analyzed ~30,000 people with an anxiety disorder and have found 5 independent  variants. Finally, I will talk about the new “Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression” or GLAD study, in which we are using social media to  recruit 40,000 people with experience of clinical depression or anxiety  into a re-contactable biobank for mental health, with the aim of speeding  up new research into interventions and treatments for these disorders.

Dr Breen  is a Reader in the MRC Centre for Social, Genetic and Developmental  Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology &  Neuroscience, King’s College London and theme lead (unit leader) at the  NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC; a type of large translational  medicine centre, focused solely on psychiatry) for Mental Health and the  South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. He is originally from Kerry and went to the  University of Limerick for his BSc before a PhD in Aberdeen and has been  at KCL for 18 years. His research focuses on the genetics of mood and  eating disorders with strong interests in translational bioinformatics.  He is a 2018 Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher and has published >250  articles on psychiatric genetics.