The ADHD polygenic score – Angelica Ronald, Birkbeck University of London

January 24, 2022 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Elizabeth Weir

In this talk, I will consider how recent advances in genetic research are improving understanding of neurodevelopment. I will focus on findings from a recent systematic review of the literature on the polygenic score for ADHD. I will interrogate to what degree the polygenic score for ADHD is helping to advance knowledge in basic research. I will consider the parallels and differences between a polygenic score and other sources of information currently used in medical practice, such as family history. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats underlying the application of polygenic scores will be discussed.

Angelica Ronald is Professor of Psychology and Genetics at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London, where she co-directs the Genes Environment Lifespan laboratory and the BRIDGE wet lab. She gained postdoctoral training in molecular genetics funded by an Autism Speaks fellowship and a PhD in Quantitative Genetics from King’s College London. Prior to that she received her BA from the University of Oxford in Experimental Psychology. Professor Ronald has 19 years’ experience of large-scale research with a focus on genetic and environmental causes of neurodevelopment and mental health in children and adolescence. Her research includes the first study to show high genetic overlap between autism and ADHD in childhood, and the first genome-wide association study of autistic traits. Her recent research has included large-scale meta-genome-wide association analyses of cohorts such as TEDS, ALSPAC and CATSS. She is co-I of Babytwins Study Sweden, a 5-year study of infant twins assessed on an extensive neurocognitive battery. Her research prizes include the Association for Psychological Sciences Janet Taylor Spence award and the British Psychological Society Spearman medal. Prof Ronald has >110 publications, is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and is joint editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, ranked top in the field of developmental psychology (ISI). She co-founded the London Genetics Network, a new hub funded by the Genetics Society involving over 30 institutions and 300 members. The network aims to increase collaboration, support for early career researchers and skill sharing in human genetic research in and around London.

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