Columbia University – Genetic Animal Models Study
Principal Investigator: Eric Kandel
This research grant will evaluate specific genes that regulate stress vulnerability in rodents based on pathways known to be activated when an organism encounters a life-threatening event. This program will additionally examine the 3D aggregation of specific proteins implicated in the stress response pathway using nuclear magnetic resonance techniques (NMR). Finally, the link between susceptibility for PTSD and substance abuse will be examined in rodent models developed within the Kandel laboratory.
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Genetics at the Broad Institute – Human Genetics Study
Principal Investigator: Karestan Koenen & PGC-PTS Consortium
Grant: $1.7M + $500K to other program partners
Cohen Veterans Bioscience has established a Collaborative Funding Agreement with the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Genetics at the Broad Institute to support genotyping of large cohort PTSD populations.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the most commonly occurring and seriously impairing disorder that occurs after exposure to traumatic events such as combat, sexual assault, and natural disaster. PTSD risk can be significantly reduced by early preventive interventions, however not all individuals exposed to a traumatic event will develop PTSD.
Genetic factors are critical in influencing who develops PTSD.
Heritability estimates for the disorder are as high as 70% following trauma. However, robust genetic variants for PTSD have yet to be identified and the genetic architecture of PTSD remains largely unknown.
This collaborative funding agreement will provide funding for genotyping DNA samples and access to the extensive genetics expertise and platforms available at the Broad Institute by the PTSD research community. Cohen Veterans Bioscience will provide funding and resources for genotyping, a data repository, analytics and program management.
The Psychiatric Genetics Consortium (PGC) is a collective of scientists working together to elucidate the genetic underpinnings of neuropsychiatric diseases. Initiated in 2007, the PGC has undertaken genome wide association studies (GWAS) for a number of diseases, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, substance use disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and PTSD.
GWAS studies of complex, polygenic diseases, such as PTSD, require large cohorts of patients, which can only be accomplish through collaboration and data-sharing amongst many research groups. To this end, the PGC cultivates a platform where researchers are invited to share their data and, in turn, receive access to data from consortia participants within their particular disease of study.
The scope of this collaboration is unprecedented in the field of traumatic stress, and will lead the search for replicable genetic associations and new insights into the genetic and molecular underpinnings of PTSD, leading to novel drug targets and biomarkers for PTSD.