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Approved Research

Searching for genome-informed dimensions of cognitive functioning

Principal Investigator: Dr Liliana Ciobanu
Approved Research ID: 71131
Approval date: October 18th 2021

Lay summary

Cognitive functioning (from staying alert, paying attention and remembering to thinking, problem solving and decision making) is fundamental to everyday functioning in health and disease. Understanding its biological mechanisms, including their genetic underpinnings, is critical to developing treatments for impaired cognition, as well as improving methods to enhance cognitive capacities in healthy individuals. Our study is aimed at examining how genes are related to performance on cognitively demanding tasks and how components of these tasks are related. First, we will identify genetic markers for multiple measures of cognitive performance captured in the UK Biobank, then we will map across these measures to identify common components that are associated with specific genes and biological pathways. Our study is the first to explore the core dimensions of human cognitive functioning using their genetic markers.

The potential public health impacts include the development of biologically informed standards for cognitive measurement that would provide biologically relevant assessment across a full range of cognitive functioning from deficit to peak performance. New genetic evidence on the underlying biology of core elements of cognitive functioning will inform new ways to treat its impairments, as well as enhance it in healthy populations. 

We propose to complete this project in 36 months.