Towards a new understanding of the biological underpinnings of mental disorder: a multi 'omics' investigation in a longitudinal birth cohort
Dr D Cotter
Prof M Cannon
Monday, December 02, 2019
Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
Mental disorders have traditionally been studied in “silos” as if they are separate entities. However, it is known that there is considerable co-morbidity between disorders and that they share genetic and environmental risks. A new integrative approach is required to advance our understanding of the aetiology of mental disorders.
The study of biological mechanisms underpinning mental disorder has also been guilty of the “silo” approach. Different ‘omic’ approaches are typically studied separately but there is evidence for functional interdependence between these biological processes and mechanisms. One must also take into account the concept of development as the vast majority (~75%) of mental disorders begin before age 25.
In this proposal, we will take an integrated approach to examine biological mechanisms underpinning a range of mental disorders in a large longitudinal population-based cohort. We will also examine the mediating effects of biological markers between environmental and genetic risk factors and mental disorder in the context of development.
This is an ambitious, innovative approach incorporating cutting-edge techniques of proteomics and environmental and genetic epidemiology. This project will expand our knowledge of the origins of mental disorders and pave the way for new treatments.