Supporting networking and collaborative research among early career scientists and clinicians.

Identification of new genes for sleep

Tatiana Wilson, Oriel College



I am a PhD student studying the genetics of sleep and circadian rhythms. Analysis of sleep phenotypes using human genetics (GWAS) identifies a number of genetic loci with associations to specific sleep traits.  However, identifying which are the causal variants, and which are the effector genes remains a challenge.  There is some evidence that clock genes may affect sleep duration through glucocorticoid signalling.  Indeed, many of the genes regulated by sleep deprivation in the brain are also glucocorticoid target genes.  I now have the opportunity to link the molecular endocrinology, circadian, and sleep science expertise of my host lab in Oxford with the unrivalled expertise in the genomics of sleep and diabetes of Richa Saxena at the Broad Institute and Harvard University.  I will work with Richa and her team to prioritise genes and SNPs for further mechanistic characterisation. Over a fortnight visit, I aim to:

  • Establish a collaboration with the Saxena lab and other labs carrying out relevant work in the Broad Institute.
  • Learn new bioinformatic methods to investigate GWAS data.
  • Learn how existing models of SNP/ gene prioritisation work.
  • Develop a new pipeline for the prioritization of SNPs/ regions/ genes using GWAS data.
  • Use this pipeline to prioritise ~40 SNPs/ regions/ genes for future investigation by Capture-C to see how these regions affect chromatin looping.


Grant awarded: £2,400.00

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