Genetics of Brain and Mind Disorders (BMRI5017)


This unit of study provides a comprehensive introduction to the research methods that can be used in the identification and characterisation of genetic variants underlying neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases. The first part of the unit will focus on the statistical methods to quantify the contribution of genetic factors to complex genetic disorders in the population. The principles of genomic epidemiology using examples of neurodegenerative disorders will be discussed. The course will then discuss concepts of gene mapping for Mendelian diseases using linkage analysis and the identification of causative variants using filtering strategies of next generation sequencing data. Students will learn to use a suite of bioinformatics tools and resources. The use of animal models for neurodegenerative disease will also be explored. This is a capstone unit of study that will require students to develop over the semester a scholarly piece of work using advanced bioinformatics skills. Over the assessments in this unit, students will identify genetic variants associated with a mental health disorder, map and identify possible causative genes for a Mendelian neurodegenerative disease, examine the suitability of gene DNA variants as disease candidates using bioinformatics, and propose future laboratory research that would confirm the role of this gene in disease.

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Further unit of study information


2hr seminar week 2, one day workshop week 4, 9 and 11


Lab report (40%), journal article (60%)


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Unit of study rules

Additional Information

This is a capstone unit of study.

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.