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Trinity College Dublin

Personal Information
College Photo Name Morris, Derek
Main Department Psychiatry
College Title Adjunct Assistant Professor
College Tel  
Dr. Morris graduated with a B.Sc. in Biotechnology from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 1998. In 2001, he completed his PhD in molecular genetics at the Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK. The research undertaken during his PhD concentrated on trying to identify genes that contribute to reading disability / dyslexia. Since joining the Neuropsychiatric Genetics Group as a research fellow in 2001, Dr. Morris has worked on molecular genetic studies of schizophrenia. In 2003, he was awarded a HRB Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to investigate novel methods for mapping genes for complex diseases. In 2006, Dr. Morris was appointed Lecturer in Molecular Psychiatry within the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Awards and Honours
Award Date
Alltech Student Scholarship 1997
HRB Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2003
Research Interests
Bioinformatics Biostatistics GENE CONVERSION GENE EXPRESSION
GENE MAPPING GENE POLYMORPHISMS Genetic/Molecular epidemiology Genomic structure and function, molecular approaches to gene function
Human genetics Mammilian and human genetics and genomics Molecular population genetics Psychiatric genetics
Psychiatry Psychosis Quantitative and molecular genetics Quantitative genetics and genetics of complex traits
Research Projects
Project title Developing haplotype maps: a novel approach to identifying susceptibility genes for complex disorders
Summary One of the most exciting developments in the wake of the Human Genome Project has been the discovery that linkage disequilibrium (LD) across stretches of genomic sequence is highly structured. Regions displaying very high levels of LD are termed haplotype blocks. The boundaries of these blocks are defined by recombination hot spots. The lengths of these blocks vary greatly, with large and small blocks being interspersed randomly. I plan to target susceptibility loci for schizophrenia using a LD mapping study design that incorporates knowledge of the underlying genetic structure of the loci. An analysis will be performed to determine the haplotype block structure of the putative susceptibility locus. Within each block, SNPs will be chosen that identify or ?tag? each common haplotype. Using haplotype-tagging SNPs will permit the capture of the vast majority of genetic diversity with minimum testing of genetic variation. These SNPs will be genotyped in separate pooled DNA samples of schizophrenia cases and controls. The use of pooled DNA instead of individual samples allows rapid, cheap and accurate estimation of allele and hence haplotype frequencies. As a novel protocol, it will be modified to integrate developments in the method over time. The initial target will be Neuregulin 1 on chromosome 8, a putative schizophrenia susceptibility gene. However, this will be a universal technique, equally applicable to any complex genetic disorder.
Funding Agency Health Research Board, Ireland
Programme Postdoctoral Fellowships
Type of Project
Date from 2003
Date to 2006
Person Months

Publications and Other Research Outputs
Peer Reviewed
Morris DW, Murphy K, Kenny N, Purcell SM, McGhee KA, Schwaiger S, Nangle JM, Donohoe G, Clarke S, Scully P, Quinn J, Meagher D, Baldwin P, Crumlish N, O’Callaghan E, Waddington JL, Gill M, Corvin AP, Dysbindin (DTNBP1) and the BLOC-1 protein complex: main and epistatic gene effects are potential contributors to schizophrenia susceptibility, Biological Psychiatry, 63, (1), 2008, p24 - 31
Notes: [PMID: 17618940]
Mutsuddi M, Morris DW, Waggoner SG, Daly MJ, Scolnick EM, Sklar P, Analysis of high-resolution HapMap of DTNBP1 (Dysbindin) suggests no consistency between reported common variant associations and schizophrenia, American Journal of Human Genetics, 79, (5), 2006, p903 - 909
Notes: [PMID: 17033966]
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Last Updated:20-SEP-2014