Our recent work exemplifies a novel approach to understanding and investigating the genetics of schizophrenia, an approach that takes into account and leverages on the known properties of biological systems, in particular their robustness to change, and the underlying genetic heterogeneity of the disease. The former led us to the expectation of multiple hits in a single biological process and the latter to the expectation that these hits will be concentrated in only a few patients. The data confirmed our expectation, supporting a view of the genetics of schizophrenia that complements current thinking. It explains why current genome wide genetic studies do not explain most of the genetic component of the disease as well as why the schizophrenia causing variants are not cleared by natural selection. Most importantly, once this concept is solidified and expanded by additional research, it would allow the development of diagnostic tests to characterize schizophrenia that could prove useful to more successful treatment of the patients.
Dr. Dimitrios Avramopoulos graduated from the medical school of the University of Athens in Greece in 1990 and then received a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of Crete in 1995. He did two post doctoral fellowships at Johns Hopkins, first with the department of pediatrics studying the genetics of Down syndrome and mapping the human genome and later with the department of psychiatry exploring the genetics of Alzheimer’s disease, bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2002. Dr. Avramopoulos currently works with the McKusick Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine and the department of psychiatry. His interest is in human genetics and his focus is on how genetic variation leads to psychiatric disease. Learn more about Dr. Avramopoulos
Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research.
Schizophrenia Research Forum
The Schizophrenia Research Forum website is a virtual community for science about schizophrenia and related disorders sponsored by the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and was created with funding from the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.