Professor David Evans from the University of Queensland Diamantina Institute will present a talk titled: Disentangling the Genetic Basis of Complex Psychological Traits and Their Inter-relationships
The field of Behaviour Genetics is on the cusp of a revolution whereby the identification of individual genetic variants that contribute to complex psychological traits and psychiatric diseases is finally a reality. In this presentation I will review some of the genetic studies that I have been involved in that have shed light on traits relevant to human psychology including genome-wide association studies of educational attainment, personality, laterality and 2D:4D ratio. I will introduce the technique of Mendelian Randomization and demonstrate how this statistical method can be used to disentangle complex causal relationships between different psychological traits. Finally I will describe two areas of statistical methods development where I am active and discuss the implications of these techniques for the wider field of Behavior Genetics.
Professor Evans is the new Professor of Statistical Genetics and Head of Genomic Medicine at the Diamantina Institute. He is an “old” alumnus of UQ psychology, having obtained his honours degree in 1996 in cognitive psychophysiology and subsequently completing a PhD in statistical genetics in 2003. Later that year he moved to the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford, to complete a four year post-doctoral fellowship involving the International HapMap Project and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium. In 2007 he took up a Senior Lecturer then a Reader position at the University of Bristol, where he has led the genome-wide association studies work in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). His research interests include the genetic study of many different complex traits and diseases as well as the development of statistical methodologies including approaches for gene mapping, individual risk prediction, causal modelling and dissecting the genetic architecture of complex traits. On weekends he likes to surf and is enjoying the temperature difference between Queensland waters and the northern coast of Devon.