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Joint Research Seminar (4 Nov 2014)



Joint Research Seminar

Genomics Strategic Research Theme
Centre for Genomic Sciences
Department of Psychiatry

DNA Methylation Profiles
in Alzheimer Disease Brains

Professor Leonard C Schalkwyk
Human Genetics
University of Essex

4 November 2014 (Tue)
11 am – 12 noon

Seminar Room 2
G/F, HKJC Building for Interdisciplinary Research
5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, HK


We performed a cross-tissue analysis of methylomic variation in Alzheimer's Disease using samples from four independent human post-mortem brain cohorts. We identified a differentially methylated region in the ankyrin 1 (ANK1) gene that was associated with neuropathology in the entorhinal cortex, a primary site of AD manifestation. This region was confirmed as being substantially hypermethylated in superior temporal gyrus and prefrontal cortex, but not in the cerebellum or whole blood from the same individuals. Neuropathology-associated ANK1 hypermethylation was subsequently confirmed in cortical samples from three independent brain cohorts. This study is, the first epigenome-wide association study of AD employing a sequential replication design across multiple tissues and highlights the power of this approach for identifying methylomic variation associated with complex disease.
About the Speaker: 

Originally a microbiologist from Canada, Leo studied at the University of Alberta, graduating in 1983. He completed his PhD in Biochemistry at Dalhousie University in 1991. His PhD work was on genome mapping of Haloferax, an archaeon from the Dead Sea, with Ford Doolittle. He worked on genomic resources for several species and genome mapping of mouse in Hans Lehrach’s laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratory in London and at the Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Genetik in Berlin. He was at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, King’s College London from 2000-2014, where he worked on functional genomics and epigenomics, identifying genes involved in behaviour in the mouse and in depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease in human. He is now professor of human genetics at the University of Essex where his research themes will include epigenomic techniques and associated computational tools, and epigenomic signatures of environmental exposures. Speaker's webpage.


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