Integrated Understanding of Causes and Mechanisms in Mental Disorders
Understanding of the causes and complex developmental mechanisms of the common neuropsychiatric diseases remains incomplete. In recent years, systematic molecular genetic investigations have identified the first genes. The IntegraMent Consortium (Integrated Understanding of Causes and Mechanisms in Mental Disorders) will apply an integrated approach to elucidate the causal biological pathways and networks, and make a decisive contribution to deciphering the etiological mechanisms. Associated genetic variants and candidate genes will be identified using exome/genome-wide sequence approaches and state-of-the-art biostatistical methods. The effects of these genetic/epigenetic factors on symptom clusters and basal neuropsychological/cognitive processes will be investigated in large patient cohorts, which have been subjected to detailed symptom- and endophenotype characterization. Functional magnetic resonance imaging investigations will be used to demonstrate these effects on basal processes in vivo. Existing population-based samples in Germany will be used to perform epidemiological investigations of health risks and comorbidities, as well as gene-environment interactions. On the basis of the genetic findings, disease mechanisms will be addressed on the experimental level through investigations of protein-protein interactions, the introduction of human mutations into mouse models, and the establishment of induced human stem cells with a high-risk background. Using a systems biology approach, data from diverse experimental levels will be integrated and disease mechanisms will be modeled. The internationally networked IntegraMent Consortium will make a decisive contribution to advancements in our understanding of the biological basis of psychiatric illness, and important steps towards the translation of research findings into patient care.
Subprojects in IntegraMent:
SP 1 Data integration and systems modeling in mental disorders