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Approved Research

Identifying Biotypes of Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior

Principal Investigator: Dr Philip Szeszko
Approved Research ID: 96700
Approval date: March 2nd 2023

Lay summary

Suicide is a major public health crisis that is one of the leading causes of death worldwide affecting individuals of all ages and race/ethnicities. The number of individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors (STB) is even higher and is considered a significant risk factor for completed suicide. Prior studies indicate that there is a genetic component to suicide and there is a higher rate of STB among individuals in families who have a member with a completed suicide - even after accounting for other mental health disorders. Although some progress has been made in identifying genes that might play a role in suicide, little is known regarding how variability (or differences) in these genes contributes to STB. In addition, individuals experiencing STB are a highly diverse group and there are likely multiple biological and environmental factors that increase risk of STB; however, the relationship among different sources of information to inform our understanding of STB has been largely unexplored. We propose to leverage the UK Biobank to accomplish two main goals: (1) identify the functional significance of genes implicated in STB both within and across traditional psychiatric diagnostic disorders and (2) integrate different types of information available within the UK Biobank (e.g., genetic, brain imaging and clinical) to identify subgroups of individuals experiencing STB through the use of sophisticated analytic approaches for combining these data.