GENE Amsterdam Day 2023

GENE Amsterdam Day 2023

November 28, the second annual GENE Amsterdam Day was held in the Doelenzaal in Amsterdam. We reflect back on a wonderful day full of interesting talks and discussions.

We started the day with a recap by Margot van de Weijer on the work done by the different GENE Amsterdam committees in the past year, followed by our the first symposium Mental Health and Education. We kicked off the symposium with a talk from Bruno Sauce Silva (department of Biology Psychology, VU Amsterdam) on his work studying GxE in an educational context in the US. Next, Rick Jansen (department of Psychiatry, AUMC, location VUmc) presented on the metabolome-wide signature of major depressive disorder. Emil Uffelman (Complex Trait Genetics, VU Amsterdam), ended the symposium with a talk on estimating disorder probabilities based on polygenic scores using the Bayesian polygenic score probability (BPC approach).

In the second part of the morning, we had our second symposium Cardiovascular and Neurodegenerative Disorders. The symposium started with a talk by Rada Veeneman (department of Psychiatry, AUMC, location AMC) on genetic strategies to elucidate the complex relation between mental illness and cardiovascular disease. The second presentation by Alex Salazar (Department of Human Genetics, AUMC) focused on using long-read sequencing to identify structural variants associated with neurodegenerative diseases. The last talk in this symposium was one by Roddy Walsh (Experimental Cardiology, AUMC), and was titled: “the complex spectrum of dominance and recessiveness in genetic cardiomyopathies: insights from research in understudied groups”. After hearing, and getting inspired by, these interesting talks, we continued with discussion groups led by Dennis van ‘t Ent. We discussed our goals for outreach and collaboration within the network itself but also with outside organisations such as ABC, a summary of which will be distributed later. These useful discussions will be used to shape the network further in the year that is to come.

After the break, we continued with an inspiring talk from our keynote speaker Peter Visscher on exploiting within-family segregation variance to study complex traits. The keynote started with a brief recap of “old fashioned genetics” such as linkage, followed by novel work incorporating polygenic variation. The keynote lecture was followed by two sessions of 5-minute flash talks by 13 junior career researchers that introduced ongoing or very recent work. We ended the day with a symposium on the future of genetics, with Sjoerd van Alten and Tinca Polderman. Sjoerd van Alten talked about selection bias in genetic datasets and GWAS, and his solution of inverse probability weighting in UKB. Lastly, Tinca Polderman talked about involving people with lived experience in genetic research, illustrated by her work in autism research.

We thank all attendees for joining us on this day, and hope the full program will lead to novel collaborations within the network. A big thanks to Anne Landvreugd, Nikki Huberts, Tanya Phung, Rada Veeneman, Jorien Treur, and Margot van de Weijer for organizing this day, and to Amsterdam Brain and Cognition for funding the day.

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