A Graduate Course: Psychiatric Genomics and Imaging Genetics

All day
Through November 21, 2018
Peking University
Haidian District, Beijing

Sep. 19


Jubao Duan, Ph.D.

Director, Unit of Functional Genomics in Psychiatry, NorthShore University HealthSystem

Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago (UChicago)

Weihua Yue, M.D.

Professor and Deputy Director of Institute of Mental Health, Sixth Hospital, Peking University (PKUIMH)



The Peking University Sixth Hospital

The University of Chicago Center in Beijing


As a continuation of the successful “2017 UChicago Beijing Center Workshop on Clinical and Basic Research of Psychiatry”, three UChicago professors from the Department of Psychiatry (Drs. Jubao Duan, Alan Sanders, and Pablo Gejman) furthered the collaboration between the University of Chicago and Peking University Sixth Hospital by offering lectures as part of an autumn 2018 graduate course at Peking University. This course, led by Dr. Weihua Yue and co-sponsored by UChicago Center in Beijing, aimed to deepen the collaboration between the two world-class institutions by offering the graduate students of Peking University an opportunity to interact with internationally leading professors of advanced psychiatric genomics, with a particular focus on their applications toward imaging research in psychiatry. It also aimed to help promote scientific collaboration between professors at both institutions.

The three UChicago professors each contributed one three-hour lecture. Dr. Duan presented his research on functional genomics, pluripotent stem cell models and epigenetics (09/25/2018); Dr. Sanders focused on the genetic basis of common mental disorders and behavioral traits (11/07/2018); and Dr. Gejman provided the students with insight on the multi-omics approach and precision medicine in psychiatry (11/21/2018). Three PKUIMH associate professors also gave lectures. Hao Yan gave a lecture on the imaging basis and imaging biomarkers of common mental disorders; Li Yang presented on genetic imaging studies of neurodevelopmental disorders; and Suhua Chang on the bioinformatic analysis of common mental disorders. Ms. Yuyanan Zhang played a role as the academic secretary for the lecture.

With its focus on imaging genetics, this course integrates psychiatric genomics information and brain imaging analyses, demonstrating how individual genetic differences lead to variations in brain wiring structure and intellectual function. Imaging genetics allows for the direct observation of the link between genes and brain activity, in which the overall idea is that common variants in SNPs lead to common diseases. Thus, advancing research toward neuroimaging is attractive because it will help the students come closer to the biology of genetic function than illness or cognition models would.