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Genetic Repositories Australia (GRA)

FACILITY INFORMATION

Genetic-Repositories-Australia-GRA

Genetic Repositories Australia (GRA) is a national genetic repository for DNA and cell lines derived from appropriately consented disease-specific and population-based studies. GRA has been supported by a $2 million National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Enabling Facility Grant and is based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

The Chief Investigators on the NHMRC Enabling Grant 401184 are Prof Peter Schofield (Neuroscience Research Australia and University of New South Wales), Assoc Prof Juleen Cavanaugh (Australian National University), Dr Susan Forrest (Australian Genome Research Facility) and Prof John Hopper (University of Melbourne).

Change of funding arrangements for NHMRC Enabling Facilities
Important changes in NHMRC Support Mechanisms have been implemented; please refer to the following letter for further information.

NHMRC Support Mechanisms PDF

Obtaining cost estimates for NHMRC Project Grant submissions
If you are intending to submit a Project Grant application which involves the use of Genetic Repositories Australia, then please contact the facility via gra.notify@neura.edu.au or (02 9399 1725) as soon as possible to discuss your proposal and to obtain a cost estimate.

Staff
Kerrie Pierce

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Exploring the electrophysiology and heritability of wellbeing and resilience

The majority of adults without a mental illness still experience poor mental health, indicating a need for a better understanding of what separates mental wellness from mental illness. One way of exploring what separates those with good mental health from those with poor mental health is to use electroencephalography (EEG) to explore differences in brain activity within the healthy population. Previous research has shown that EEG measures differ between clinical groups and healthy participants, suggesting that these measures are useful indicators of mental functioning. Miranda Chilver’s current project aims to examine how different EEG measures relate to each other and to test if they can be used to predict mental wellbeing. Furthermore, she hopes to distinguish between EEG markers of symptoms including depression and anxiety, and markers of positive symptoms of wellbeing to better understand how wellbeing can exist independently of mental illness. This will be done by obtaining measures of wellbeing and depression and anxiety symptoms using the COMPAS-W and DASS-42 questionnaires, respectively. Because EEG measures and mental wellbeing are both impacted by genetics as well as the environment, Miranda will also be testing whether the links found between EEG activity and Wellbeing are driven primarily by heritable or by environmental factors. This information will inform the development of future interventions that will aim to improve wellbeing in the general population. To achieve these goals, the project will assess the relationship between EEG activity and wellbeing, and between EEG and depression and anxiety symptoms to first test whether there is an association between EEG and mental health. Second, the heritability of the EEG, wellbeing, depression, and anxiety will be assessed to determine the extent to which these variables are explained through heritable or environmental factors. Finally, a model assessing the overlap between the heritable versus environmental contributions to each measure will be developed to assess whether genetics or environment drive the relationship between EEG and mental health. This project is based on a sample of over 400 healthy adult twins from the Australian TWIN-E study of resilience led by Dr Justine Gatt. This research will pave the way for improved mental health interventions based on individual needs.
PROJECT