The aim of my research group is to identify how different layers of genetics, epigenetics and gene expression can be involved together in the development of mental disorders, their outcome and how they are modulated by the environment.
I am a core researcher at the NORMENT, a Norwegian Centre of Excellence for Research on Mental Health. The NORMENT is described here: http://www.med.uio.no/norment/english/ In Bergen I am situated at the Dr Martens group for research on biological psychiatry, our research activity is described here: http://www.uib.no/en/rg/geneticsgroup/106397/martens-group#at-a-glance
Description of our group in the NORMENT centre:
Epigenetics and multi-omicsAbout the group
The group consists of people with background in genetics, statistics, medicine and informatics who together bring their complementary expertise to try understand the interaction between genetic and environmental risk in mental disorders. We work in close collaboration with clinicians.
We use datasets generated in house or publicly available that combine genetic, epigenetic and gene expression datasets for mental disorders (mostly schizophrenia and bipolar disorders) that are in addition well annotated for environmental factors.Aims
Genetic studies of psychiatric disorders have identified numerous genomic regions that harbor genetic variants which explain some of the risk to develop illness. In addition to the genetic risk, many environmental risks (drug use, trauma, migration, etc) can affect the development and the outcome of mental disorders.
Our aim is to identify how the different layers of genetics, epigenetics and gene expression can be involved together in the development of mental disorders, their outcome and how they are modulated by the environment.Projects
- Molecular mechanisms of exposure to cannabis in patients with schizophrenia: We are looking at the difference between cannabis users and non users in DNA methylation and modelling these differences in cell models.
- The 3D sample: In a set of patients and controls we have genetic information, epigenetic information and gene expression. We are combining these 3 datasets to try identify common effects across the 3 dimensions.
- DNA methylation in psychiatric disorders, and mediation of gene by environment effects, from birth to adulthood. We are examining the variations on DNA methylation associated with mental disorders.
- An evolutionary epigenetics approach to schizophrenia: We examine if regions differentially methylated in the recent human evolution can be implicated in schizophrenia.
- van der Meer D, et al. (2018) Brain scans from 21,297 individuals reveal the genetic architecture of hippocampal subfield volumes. Mol Psychiatry.
- Banerjee N, et al. (2018) Recently evolved human-specific methylated regions are enriched in schizophrenia signals. Bmc Evol Biol 18.
- Hughes T, et al. (2018) Elevated expression of a minor isoform of ANK3 is a risk factor for bipolar disorder. Transl Psychiatry 8(1):210.
- Banerjee N, et al. (2018) Analysis of differentially methylated regions in great apes and extinct hominids provides support for the evolutionary hypothesis of schizophrenia. Schizophr Res.
- Davies G, et al. (2018) Study of 300,486 individuals identifies 148 independent genetic loci influencing general cognitive function. Nature Communications 9.
I teach Genetics and Evolution to medical students in their 3rd semester, at the Faculty of Medicine, UiB.
I also participate in the IGSIN course for PhD students, UiB, and the Master course in Genetics of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oslo.