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Approved research

Identifying Biomarkers and Biotypes for Mental Health Conditions

Principal Investigator: Dr Laramie Duncan
Approved Research ID: 52498
Approval date: October 25th 2019

Lay summary

Mental health disorders affect a significant proportion of the UK population and are one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. While extensive research has been done to understand the biological underpinning of mental health disorders, progress has been slow and often unsuccessful. One way to better understand the biology of disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and PTSD is to detect measurable substances whose presence increases disorder risk. These biological risk factors may be referred to as biomarkers and can be measured in blood or urine (for example, cholesterol levels blood). Biomarkers can also be based on genetics and imaging data, for example the difference in brain grey matter volume between patients and controls. Therefore, the purpose of this application is to identify biomarkers relevant to mental health disorders. The detection of biomarkers and subsequent creation of biotypes, using various computational approaches, would be a tremendous leap forward in the process to improve prevention and treatment of these debilitating conditions. This project aims to identify biomarkers and will require three years for the full project. Biomarkers may be used to identify individuals at risk for psychiatric outcomes, or to match patients to better treatments, and consequently there are many potential benefits of this research.