Biomedical Sciences Seminar – 13th December 2018 at 3pm
Biomedical Sciences Seminar
Location: Seminar room, BSB
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.