Professor Valentina Escott-Price
Professor, Dementia Research Institute
There is a need to integrate increasingly large amounts of data from increasingly diverse sources where the genetic effects are often so small that there is an insurmountable signal to noise problem with individual tests caused by hidden population admixture and small genotyping error rates. It is therefore important to develop methods which include the identification of weak signals in disease genes and convergent biological pathways and systems on a very noisy background and to develop approaches to combining the effects of multiple genetic loci taking into account the random correlation structure. We develop and apply alternative new solutions to the problems posed by genome-wide analyses to identify novel genes.
In collaboration with the School of Mathematics and department of Computer Science of Cardiff University, we expand this research further in the bioinformatics area, working on the methodology of genetic interactions analyses and on the application of machine learning techniques to genetic data.
- Director of Postgraduate Research in the MRC Centre for Neuro-Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics
- MSc in Mathematics (1991) Department of Mathematics and Mechanics, St.Petersburg University, Russia.
- PhD in Statistics (2001), School of Mathematics, Cardiff University, UK.
- Research Assistant, School of Mathematics, Cardiff University (1998-2002).
- Research Assistant, Department of Psychological Medicine, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (2002-2003).
- Lecturer in Biostatistics and Genetic Epidemiology, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Unit, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (2003-2005).
- RCUK Research Fellow, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics Unit, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (2005-2010).
- Senior Lecturer, MRC Centre for Neuro-Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (2010-2014).
- Reader, MRC Centre for Neuro-Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University (2014-2016).
- Since 2016: Professor, MRC Centre for Neuro-Psychiatric Genetics and Genomics, School of Medicine, Cardiff University.
MSc in Biostatistics and Bioinformatics: “Genetic Epidemiology: Association Studies” Module Leader.
My main research interest is to deploy the new opportunities afforded by technological advances and large sample sizes in order to contribute to identification of new risk genes and biological pathways for psychiatric and other disorders, and to undertake integrative analyses to provide additional biological meaning to the basic genetic data. As a member of several international consortia, we analyse terabytes of genome/exome/sequencing data for cohorts of tens of thousands of individuals from different populations.
Being a member International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project (IGAP) consortium, we processed and analysed genome-wide data which resulted in the discovery of 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer's disease. Further analysis of this data, with the approximate gene-based analysis, which we developed in 2011 in Cardiff, lead to the discovery of two additional Alzheimer's disease susceptibility genes.
My most recent research is focused around evaluation of genetic risk associated with different aspects of psychiatric and neurological diseases. In our recent work we have investigated the polygenic architecture of Alzheimer's and Parkinson’s diseases and have also explored the potential relationship between an individual’s polygenic risk score and the risk of the disease.