Bioinformatics and causal analyses

Led by Professor Tom Gaunt and Professor George Davey Smith and supported by Professor Caroline Relton, Professor Nic Timpson,
Dr David Evans and Dr Susan Ring

Bioinformatics is an area of study that develops methods and software tools to help understand biological data. We work closely with each research theme on selection of technologies, experimental design, data processing and analysis.

Mendelian randomization (MR)

Mendelian randomization is one of the tools we use. It enables researchers to take observational associations and understand whether there is a causal link. We are developing web-based analytical platforms to simplify this type of analysis, incorporating the extensive array of genome-wide association study (GWAS) data we have collated from a variety of sources (MR-Base). This platform has many potential applications in experimental medicine including the use of genetic data to predict whether a potential drug target will have the desired effect on disease traits or outcomes, and also whether it has potential adverse effects.

We apply MR to many areas of BRC research, including understand how emotion recognition affects a range of mental health disorders and the role of alcohol use on young people’s cognitive processes, psychopathology, liver function and fibrosis.