Genetic studies on brain imaging phenotypes

Speaker: 
Dr Nicola Armstrong
Affiliation: 
Mathematics & Statistics, Murdoch University
Date: 
21 July 2017 - 3:00pm
Venue: 
Rountree Room 356, Level 3, Biological Sciences Building D26
Abstract: 

White matter hyperintensities (WMHs), seen on T2-weighted MRI brain scans, are often associated with cognitive and functional impairments. They can be classified as deep (DWMH) and periventricular (PV) WMH dependent upon their anatomical location in relation to the lateral ventricle and subcortical space.  This categorisation is thought to be reflected by etiological and clinical pathophysiological differences between DWMH and PVWMH.  WMHs are strongly correlated with neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. WMHs have been demonstrated to have a strong genetic basis. As PV and DWMH have many aetiological differences, different genetic factors may also be involved. This seminar presents the preliminary results of a large international meta-analysis GWAS for PV and DWMH and discusses the potential impact of the assumptions which commonly underlie such analyses.  

Biography: Dr. Armstrong completed her doctoral studies in the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley where she worked under the supervision of Terry Speed on statistical genetics. After graduating with her PhD, she spent several years in the Netherlands. On returning to Australia in 2009, she worked at the Garvan Institute and the School of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Sydney before moving to Murdoch in 2015 where she is currently a Senior Lecturer in mathematics and statistics. Her research work has centered on the development of statistical methodology and the application of statistics to problems in genetics, genomics and biomedical research.