October 15, 2020 – A new series from the Broad Institute offers a comprehensive view of the largest psychiatric genetics study ever done in Africa—a four-year project called the Neuropsychiatric Genetics of African Populations-Psychosis (NeuroGAP-Psychosis).
The project is a collaboration involving the Broad Institute’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and scientists from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda. Begun in 2018, the project is more than halfway toward its goal of enrolling 35,000 Africans who will provide saliva samples for DNA analysis, with the aim of shedding light on the genetic underpinnings of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to an October 8, 2020 Broad Institute feature story.
Karestan Koenen, professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Harvard Chan School and co-principal investigator of the project, said in the Broad feature article that studying the genetics of mental illness in Africa can help “eliminate the diversity gap in genetics, which is not just about equity but is critical for scientific advancement. Africa has the most genetic diversity globally, and if we don’t study African populations we risk missing novel genetic information.”
In addition to the feature story, the Broad series includes:
- An article about a neuropsychiatric-genetics training program that has trained 17 African researchers since 2017, with another seven currently in training. The program, Global Initiative for Neuropsychiatric Genetics Education in Research (GINGER)—which runs alongside the NeuroGAP-Psychosis program—is led by Lori Chibnik and Bizu Gelaye, both assistant professors in Harvard Chan School’s Department of Epidemiology.
- A Q&A with three bioethicists from Kenya and Uganda who are working to understand and address NeuroGAP-Psychosis’ ethical considerations.
photo: Arnold Mugasha
GINGER graduates poised to elevate neuropsychiatric genetics research across Africa (Harvard Chan School feature)
Study looks at psychiatric genetics in African populations (Harvard Chan School feature)