The project team
Professor Naomi Wray
Naomi holds joint appointments at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland (UQ) and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. She is a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Leadership Fellow and this study – Australian Genetics of Depression Study- Cellomics – is funded through this fellowship. Her research focusses on development of quantitative genetics and genomics methodology with application to psychiatric and neurological disorders. She plays a key role in the International Psychiatric Genomics Consortium which in the last 10 years has dramatically advanced knowledge of the complex genetic contribution to psychiatric disorders. Her research passion comes the experience of growing up in a family with parental mental ill health. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science (FAHMS). Naomi is a recipient of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics Ming Tsuang Lifetime Achievement Award.
Professor Ian Hickie
lan is Co-Director, Health and Policy at The University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre. He is an internationally renowned researcher in clinical psychiatry, with particular reference to medical aspects of common mood disorders, depression and bipolar disorder. He was an inaugural Commissioner on Australia’s National Mental Health Commission (2012-18) overseeing enhanced accountability for mental health reform and suicide prevention. He is now focused on the development of real-time personalized and measurement-based care systems for use in partnership with young people and their families. These systems promote early intervention, use of new and emerging technologies and suicide prevention. Hickie plays a key role in advocacy and education, follow him on twitter @ian_hickie, listen to his podcast “Minding your Mind” and book of the same name (both with James James O’Loghlin), and look out for him on ABC’s Drum where is a regular participant in mental health themed episodes. He is an NHMRC Leadership Fellow and Fellow of the Australian academies of Social Science, and Health and Medical Science.
Professor Nick Martin
Nick leads the Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research Berghofer (QIMRB). In 1978 he founded the Australian Twin Registry and is internationally recognised for his longitudinal studies of twins covering a wide range of complex traits a wide range of medical and behavioural interest. His research over recent years has moved to genome wide association studies (GWAS) to locate genes influencing complex traits including anxiety, alcoholism, anorexia, depression and dizygotic twinning. He has initiated projects to recruit large patient samples for GWAS of anorexia, depression and other psychiatric disorders and is the lead investigator of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study. Nick is a NHMRC Leadership Fellow, and Fellow of the Australian academies of Science, Social Science, and Health and Medical Science. Nick is a recipient of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics Ming Tsuang Lifetime Achievement Award.
Professor Sarah Medland
Sarah Program Director of Mental Health & Neuroscience and head of the Psychiatric Genetics lab at QIMRB. Her research focuses on two key themes which seek to improve i) our understanding of the mechanisms influencing mental health and ii) the translation of these findings through a focus on treatment response and cost of illness and through reducing stigma by improving or understanding of mental health challenges. Current projects focus on identifying genetic variants influencing the structure and function of the human brain, psychiatric disorders including: ADHD, ASD, bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia, women’s health and pregnancy related conditions. Sarah is passionate about improving communication of genetic findings and improving the evidence base to aid decisions about pharmacogenomic testing. Sarah is a NHMRC Leadership Fellow, and Fellow of the Australian academies of Science, Social Science, and Health and Medical Science.
Dr Britany Mitchell
Brittany graduated from the University of Pretoria (South Africa) with an MSc in Genetics in 2016. After receiving a highly competitive international research scholarship from the Queensland University of Technology, Brittany moved to Australia in 2018 to commence a PhD under the supervision of Prof. Nick Martin in the Genetic Epidemiology lab at QIMRB. Her work was focused on identifying and understanding genetic and environmental influences on neuropsychological traits including depression, cognitive ability and Alzheimer’s disease. Since completing her PhD, Brittany has joined the Psychiatric Genetics lab at QIMRB, under the supervision of Prof. Sarah Medland. Brittany has been a lead analyst of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study. She is a NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow.
Dr Jacob Crouse
Jake is a post-doctoral research fellow with the Youth Mental Health & Technology Team at the Brain and Mind Centre. He received a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) in 2015, a Master of Brain and Mind Sciences in 2016, and a PhD (Medicine) in 2021 under the supervision of Prof. Ian Hickie. Jake has been a lead analyst of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study. He is an NHMRC Emerging Leader Fellow.
Dr Enda Byrne
Enda is Senior Research Fellow at UQ’s Child Health Research Centre. His research focus is to improve understanding of the genetic etiology and biological mechanisms underlying risk of common psychiatric disorders, particularly those with onset during childhood and adolescence. He leads a several domestic and international collaborations that evaluate the association between polygenic risk scores, environmental variables and behaviour during childhood and adolescence. Enda completed his PhD at QIMRB, and was a UQ post-doctoral research fellow under mentorship Prof. Naomi Wray and in this role led development of the questionnaire content of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study and was a senior analyst of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study.
Dr Sonia Shah
Sonia leads the Genomics in Health group at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, UQ. Her research uses genomic and health data to advance our understanding of heart disease so we can improve prevention and treatment. She is interested in the heart-brain axis and the role of medication in this relationship. She is the project lead for The South Asian Genes and Health in Australia Study (SAGHA). She leads cell-based assays in the Wellcome Trust funded Antidepressant Medications: Biology, Exposure & Response (AMBER) study. Sonia will play a key role in designing cell-based assays for AGDS-Cello.
Ms Anjali Henders
Anjali is the Director of UQ’s Human Studies Unit based in the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. She is responsible for the coordination of research activities and strategies, research governance and supervision of a high-through put genomics laboratory. Anjali has over 15 years of experience managing complex, large-scale research programmes (both at UQ and QIMR Berghofer) and specialises in facilitating and managing interdisciplinary collaborations and consortia.
Mrs Leanne Wallace
Leanne is the laboratory manage of UQ’s Human Studies Unit (HSU), and so oversees the laboratory where the blood samples for this project will received and processed. Leanne has over 20 years of experience implementing and managing large scale human research projects involving sample collection through to genomic data generation and analysis. The HSU receives and processes thousands of blood samples each year receiving samples from around Australia. We provide support for many large projects such as the Sporadic ALS Australia study, the Endometriosis Genetic Risk Study, and the Australian Women’s Health Study. Leanne studied at Griffith University obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Science and Master’s in Genetic Counselling.
Ms Deborah Gilroy
Deborah is a senior research project officer within UQ’s Human Studies Unit. Her background is nursing with experience in coordinating and managing investigator and industry-based research /clinical trials in University, Hospital, Community and Regulatory settings. She has worked in the areas of mental health, hypertension, endocrine, cardiac and diabetes. Deborah takes the lead in day-to-day management of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study- Cellomics.
Ms Lorelle Nunn
Lorelle is a research project officer within UQ’s Human Studies Unit. She has 23 years’ experience working on large scale population health and human genetics studies in the areas of participant recruitment, phenotype data collection, data QC and biological sample retrieval. Lorelle joined the Human Studies Unit in January 2018. Lorelle takes the lead in participant liaison of the Australian Genetics of Depression Study- Cellomics.