The UK Biobank cohort released the genetic information relating to 500,000 participants in September 2017. The rich phenotypic information also available includes a bespoke pain questionnaire answered by every participant, and there are plans to re-phenotype the cohort more intensively for pain with a new series of validated questionnaires. This paves the way to perform genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genetic variants for multiple pain phenotypes such as regional pain (headache, neck pain, back pain, etc), neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. The Chronic Pain Research Group in the school has recently published an exemplar GWAS paper on headache using the UK Biobank cohort (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29397368) and other analyses are ongoing, including meta-analyses with related cohorts. Working with the supervisors and collaborating academic and health science partners, the PhD student lead new analyses, contribute to existing studies, and develop methods for selecting and validating clinically relevant phenotypes for case-control studies in this area. S/he will develop skills and experience in managing and analysing very large genetic, phenotypic and linked datasets, learn advanced computational and statistical skills and have the opportunity for publication in high impact journals. The project will have translational value in identifying potential targets for new or re-purposed analgesic drugs through the identification of important, relevant genetic variants.
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