SysGen Seminar – Nick Martin – 14th July, 2017

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Andrew Siebel

T: +61 3 8344 0707

Nick Martin

Queensland Institute of Medical Research

Friday 14th July
Room 155 (Theatre D), Ground Floor, Old Arts, The University of Melbourne

Progress in the molecular genetics of depression: testing for GxE interaction

The diathesis-stress theory for depression states that the effects of stress on the depression risk are dependent on the diathesis or vulnerability, implying multiplicative interactive effects on the liability scale. We used polygenic risk scores for major depressive disorder as a direct measure of the vulnerability for. In the same sample we also had measures of stressful life events and social support as well as DSM-IV depression diagnoses. Our results point to an extra risk for individuals with combined vulnerability and high number of reported personal life events beyond what would be expected from the additive contributions of these factors to the liability for depression.

Nick Martin graduated with honours in Genetics from the University of Adelaide in 1972 and obtained his PhD in genetics at the University of Birmingham. In 1978 he returned to a Research Fellowship at the Australian National University where he founded the Australian Twin Registry. After 3 years in the US he returned in 1986 to the Queensland Institute of Medical Research where he heads the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory and continues longitudinal studies with twins of a wide range of complex traits of medical and behavioural interest. He also is involved in several large studies of cognition and brain imaging (EEG and MRI). His research over recent years has moved to genome wide association studies (GWAS) to locate genes influencing complex traits including anxiety, alcoholism, and dizygotic twinning. He developed methods for multivariate analyses and the analysis of gene-environment interactions. Most recently he has initiated projects to recruit large patient samples for GWAS of anorexia, depression and other psychiatric disorders. He has published over 1200 papers and is a fellow of the Australian academies of Science, Social Science, and Health and Medical Science.

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