“The importance of diagnosis: molecular biology of major depressive disorder”

The Center for Genetic Epidemiology is hosting a virtual seminar with Dr. Jonathan Flint, (https://neuroscience.ucla.edu/profile/flint-jonathan) Professor-in-Residence, Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, and Human Genetics at UCLA. 

Dr. Flint has been a pioneer in the genetics of behavior. He showed that behaviour, and psychiatric diseases are genetically tractable targets, and he has made key advances in identifying their molecular underpinnings, particularly with his work on structural variants.   His genome-wide analyses of behaviour in rodents, precursors to GWAS in humans, revealed the polygenic architecture of behavior, arising from the joint action of many loci of small effect, a key insight for the design and interpretation of genetic studies in psychiatry.


"Almost all genome-wide association studies of major depressive disorder (MDD) use the analysis of cohorts in which most cases are diagnosed by minimal phenotyping, a method that has low specificity. However there is a large genetic component unique to MDD that remains inaccessible to minimal phenotyping strategies and the majority of genetic risk loci identified with minimal phenotyping approaches are unlikely to be MDD risk loci. I show that inventive uses of biobank data, novel imputation methods, combined with more interviewer diagnosed cases, can identify loci that contribute to the episodic severe shifts of mood, and neurovegetative and cognitive changes that are central to MDD”. - Dr. Flint 


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