Élucidation précoce des risques microstructuraux et génétiques des principaux troubles psychiatriques apparaissant au l'adolescence


Carolina Makowski

University of California - San Diego [UCSD]


Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Formation postdoctorale - Citoyens canadiens et résidents permanents

Concours 2019-2020


Fondation des Étoiles

One in five Canadians are affected by mental illness, with a high proportion of these individuals experiencing their first symptoms in adolescence. This dynamic and critical time period in the lifespan of an individual holds key milestones in the development of white matter "highways" in the brain, and offers a unique and informative target to study alongside genetic information. Genome-wide association studies have rapidly increased our knowledge of the genetic risk architecture that underlies individual psychiatric disorders, but there is a need to look beyond current symptom-based definitions, which do not map onto biological findings. This project will harness the rich genotypic, imaging and phenotypic data from 11,500 children recruited for the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study and findings from multiple genome-wide association studies to build a multivariate model of polygenic risk for schizophrenia, bipolar, major depressive, anxiety, and eating disorders. I aim to capture the unique and shared contributions of psychiatric polygenic risk in one score using cutting-edge genomic data science methods.

This score will then be related to measures of white matter in the brain that can be assessed non-invasively with magnetic resonance imaging. I will then integrate findings of microstructural features most related to polygenic risk for psychiatric disorders to maladaptive behaviours in childhood that could be predictive of the onset of future psychiatric symptoms. This project will provide an important neurobiological framework to assess psychiatric risk in early life that represents a significant departure from the classical definitions of psychiatric disorders, with the hope of re-routing current treatment plans to better meet the needs of patients and their families.