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Research Seminar 31 Jul 2017


Research Seminar

Centre for Genomic Sciences

Using Genetic Structural Equation Modelling to
Estimate Maternal, Causal and Parent of Origin
Effects in Related Individuals with GWAS

Professor David M Evans

University of Queensland Diamantina Institute, Translational Research Institute,
University of Queensland;
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, School of Social and Community Medicine,
University of Bristol

31 July 2017 (Mon)
3:00 – 4:00 pm

Seminar Room 1A, G/F
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Building for Interdisciplinary Research
5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong


Structural equation modelling (SEM) can be used to analyse genetically informative data but has so far largely been restricted to pedigree based heritability and linkage analyses. With the advent of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) over the last decade, several new exciting statistical methods involving molecular genetic data have emerged including G-REML (genetic restricted maximum likelihood analysis), which uses GWAS data to model genetic similarity between unrelated individuals and from this estimate genetic variance components and parameters, and Mendelian randomization (MR), a technique that uses genetic variants from GWAS as instrumental variables to estimate putative causal relationships between phenotypic traits. In this presentation, I show how G-REML, MR and a range of other informative genetic models can be performed in a SEM framework and illustrate several advantages that SEM provides over more usual methods. I illustrate this new generation of models using recent research from my group involving data from the UK Biobank Study, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and other large scale data resources. I focus on models that enable the detection of maternal, causal and parent of origin effects in data from related individuals.

About the Speaker:

David Evans is Professor of Statistical Genetics and Head of Genomic Medicine at the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute. He completed his PhD in Statistical Genetics at the University of Queensland in 2003, before undertaking a four year post-doctoral fellowship at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford where he worked as part of the The International HapMap Consortium and co-led the analysis of four diseases within the first Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. In 2007 he moved to take up a Senior Lecturer then Reader position at the University of Bristol where he led much of the genome-wide association studies work in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). In 2013 he returned to take up his current position at the University of Queensland where he leads four NHMRC Project grants and an MRC Programme grant in osteoporosis genetics. His research interests include the genetic mapping of complex traits and diseases and the development of statistical methodologies in genetic epidemiology including approaches for gene mapping, individual risk prediction, causal modelling and dissecting the genetic architecture of complex traits.



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