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The role of immune genes in schizophrenia

Principal Investigator:
  • Jennie Pouget, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Project Overview

The primary aim of this project was to explore the role of immune genes in schizophrenia. Ms. Pouget initially studied an association between the neuroinflammatory translocator protein (TSPO) and schizophrenia and antipsychotic induced weight gain. In order to continue investigating immune genes and their association in schizophrenia, Ms. Pouget was awarded two travel fellowships, from Fulbright Canada and the Weston Foundation, to pursue her research at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston. With this experience, Ms. Pouget was able to complete two successfully complete two major scientific projects. Her main findings included that: 1) Genes that have key role in immune-mediated diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, may not have major role in schizophrenia susceptibility, and 2) There is a significant overlap between schizophrenia and 19 immune mediated diseases, with a
modest sharing of genetic risk factors between both types of diseases. Ms. Pouget has submitted two manuscripts based upon the results of this project, and received an Early Career
Investigator Award to attend the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, where she gave an oral presentation to over 200 people. Her findings have also led to the filing of a patent for a genetic test to predict weight gain in patients undergoing antipsychotic treatment.