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Discovery & Development Analytical Science

Relating the Geno to the Pheno

Finding links between genetic markers and the end phenotype can be difficult – especially with complex diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia, where a multitude of other environmental factors affect disease development. In an attempt to close the gap, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and Pfizer have announced a collaboration that aims to create a statistical model that relates brain scan data to genetic profiles (1). We spoke with Kayhan Batmanghelich, principle investigator and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine, to tell us more about the collaboration.

Why collaborate?

In recent times, the budget of the NIH has remained constant while the number of scientists has increased, meaning that budget per capita has decreased. It’s important to think outside the box to obtain other sources of funding. When we presented the project to Pfizer, they confirmed that they had similar issues that needed resolving. Why not combine resources and make things more efficient? I think there’s a trend towards greater openness and collaboration in research that will inevitably lead to more innovation on the industry side, as well as greater opportunities for academia in terms of funding.

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About the Author

James Strachan

Over the course of my Biomedical Sciences degree it dawned on me that my goal of becoming a scientist didn’t quite mesh with my lack of affinity for lab work. Thinking on my decision to pursue biology rather than English at age 15 – despite an aptitude for the latter – I realized that science writing was a way to combine what I loved with what I was good at.

From there I set out to gather as much freelancing experience as I could, spending 2 years developing scientific content for International Innovation, before completing an MSc in Science Communication. After gaining invaluable experience in supporting the communications efforts of CERN and IN-PART, I joined Texere – where I am focused on producing consistently engaging, cutting-edge and innovative content for our specialist audiences around the world.

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