Prof. Michael O’Donovan
Based at the Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Group, School of Medicine
Molecular genetics, psychiatric disorders, gene expression, pathophysiology
Research Interests and Facilities
Population genetic variation makes important contributions to the aetiology of all major psychiatric disorders. Recent advances in molecular genetic technology offer unprecedented opportunities to identify specific risk genes for these disorders, and to use these findings as the basis for understanding the molecular basis of these hitherto enigmatic disorders. I am interested in identifying individual genes that contribute to susceptibility to a wide range of psychiatric disorders, most particularly the psychotic illnesses schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and understanding the mechanisms by which susceptibility is conferred.
The laboratories of the genetics group are equipped with the full range of state of the art platforms for genetic and gene expression analysis (genotyping platforms, sequencing, expression arrays) and work closely with the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Group (led by Prof Peter Holmans) and the animal behavioural genetics units (led by Prof Lawrence Wilkinson) affording opportunities for multidisciplinary research. Crucial to the success of this work, we also have available large DNA samples for a range of phenotypes, particularly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dyslexia, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD.
Available PhD Projects
- Molecular genetic dissection of any of the above phenotypes.
- Determining the impact of risk alleles on gene function and disease.
- Exploring networks of susceptibility genes through simultaneous analysis of global gene expression and genome-wide association analysis.
- Investigating gene environmental interaction in large data sets with both genetic and environmental data.
- Convergent functional genomics of schizophrenia: from comprehensive understanding to genetic risk prediction.
Ayalew M, Le-Niculescu H, Levey DF, Jain N, Changala B, Patel SD, Winiger E, Breier A, Shekhar A, Amdur R, Koller D, Nurnberger JI, Corvin A, Geyer M, Tsuang MT, Salomon D, Schork NJ, Fanous AH, O'Donovan MC, Niculescu AB, Mol Psychiatry (May 2012)
- Association at SYNE1 in both bipolar disorder and recurrent major depression.
Green EK, Grozeva D, Forty L, Gordon-Smith K, Russell E, Farmer A, Hamshere M, Jones IR, Jones L, McGuffin P, Moran JL, Purcell S, Sklar P, Owen MJ, O'Donovan MC, Craddock N, Mol Psychiatry (May 2012)Thapar A, Langley K, Fowler T, Rice F, Turic D, Whittinger N, Aggleton J, van den Bree M, Owen MJ, O'Donovan MC. (2005) Catechol-O-Methyltransferase gene variant and birth weight predict early onset antisocial behaviour. Archives of General Psychiatry 62:1275-1278.
- De novo mutation in schizophrenia.
Rees E, Kirov G, O'Donovan MC, Owen MJ, Schizophr Bull, Volume 38, 3 (May 2012) pp.377-381
- Risk variant of oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 is associated with reduced white matter integrity.
Prata DP, Kanaan RA, Barker GJ, Shergill S, Woolley J, Georgieva L, Picchioni MM, Kravariti E, Walshe M, Allin M, Toulopoulou T, Bramon E, McDonald C, Giampietro V, Murray RM, Brammer M, O'Donovan M, McGuire P, Hum Brain Mapp (April 2012)
- No consistent evidence for association between mtDNA variants and Alzheimer disease.
Hudson G, Sims R, Harold D, Chapman J, Hollingworth P, Gerrish A, Russo G, Hamshere M, Moskvina V, Jones N, Thomas C, Stretton A, Holmans PA, O'Donovan MC, Owen MJ, Williams J, Chinnery PF, GERAD1 Consortium None, Neurology, Volume 78, 14 (April 2012) pp.1038-1042
- Runs of homozygosity implicate autozygosity as a schizophrenia risk factor.
Keller MC, Simonson MA, Ripke S, Neale BM, Gejman PV, Howrigan DP, Lee SH, Lencz T, Levinson DF, Sullivan PF, Schizophrenia Psychiatric Genome-Wide Association Study Consortium None, Plos Genet, Volume 8, 4 (April 2012) pp.e1002656-e1002656