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OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Scholarly achievement metrics are essential for academic researchers since they are used for promotion and funding opportunities. Our objective was to create awareness among pilot project PIs about how these scholarly activities are evaluated and about the need for continuous auto-evaluation. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: NIH-sponsored Clinical & Translational Research (CTR) infrastructure grants are a critical mechanism to increase scholarly activity. The Pilot Project Program Core (PPP) of The Alliance IDeA-CTR created a weighted metrics system to evaluate activities including presentations, publications, promotion, honors, & community service. We used the revised evidence-based medicine pyramid to develop the metric instrument. Pilot project PIs received the metric table and met quarterly with a PPP member to discuss progress. The top PIs were acknowledged during the Alliance Research Day with a platform presentation and a monetary award for research expenses or travel to scientific meetings. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: During our first 2 pilot project calls (2020-2022) the PPP funded 7 one-year pilot projects for ($50,000 each). We had a total of 10 PIs, 2 of the projects were MPI. Seven PIs were early or new stage investigators (ESI/NSI). Using the productivity award metric we had a total of 33 presentations, 10 publications, 12 events of community service, and 2 external grant funding. These are significant outcomes considering the pandemics impact on clinical & translational research. A total of 3 awards were given, one award per year for funding and an overall award. The activity was well received by the PIs who actively participated in the tracking of their scholarly activities using the metric. DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE: Productivity metrics are crucial for the career development of ESI and NSI by raising awareness regarding the importance of scholarly activities in their career. This activity will help them track their productivity in an ongoing manner while becoming independent researchers.
Reading difficulties are prevalent worldwide, including in economically developed countries, and are associated with low academic achievement and unemployment. Longitudinal studies have identified several early childhood predictors of reading ability, but studies frequently lack genotype data that would enable testing of predictors with heritable influences. The National Child Development Study (NCDS) is a UK birth cohort study containing direct reading skill variables at every data collection wave from age 7 years through to adulthood with a subsample (final n = 6431) for whom modern genotype data are available. It is one of the longest running UK cohort studies for which genotyped data are currently available and is a rich dataset with excellent potential for future phenotypic and gene-by-environment interaction studies in reading. Here, we carry out imputation of the genotype data to the Haplotype Reference Panel, an updated reference panel that offers greater imputation quality. Guiding phenotype choice, we report a principal components analysis of nine reading variables, yielding a composite measure of reading ability in the genotyped sample. We include recommendations for use of composite scores and the most reliable variables for use during childhood when conducting longitudinal, genetically sensitive analyses of reading ability.
Recounts how our collaboration with Nick Martin was shaped over two decades, leading to the first studies of predictions from the ‘Dual Route Cascaded’ computational model of reading in twins, and extending into the molecular work, first linkage, fine mapping of genes identified in pedigree studies, into now the genomewide association study era and the first polygenic risk scores for reading and their potential in early clarifying causality and validating interventions, as well as for future global collaborations in improving these predictors and identifying causal variants. We highlight Nick’s warm, future-focused optimism, support and inclusive approach without which none of this would have been possible. The circle of Nick asking, over half a century ago, ‘What genes do you think make some kids get better grades?’ has built a diverse scientific legacy involving thousands of papers and collaborations. The (heritable) traits of curiosity, boldness, warmth, interest in societally important questions, openness to new methods, ambition and collaborative skill to bring into being the infrastructure and samples needed for this research are rare, and we are grateful.
Reading and language abilities are critical for educational achievement and success in adulthood. Variation in these traits is highly heritable, but the underlying genetic architecture is largely undiscovered. Genetic studies of reading and language skills traditionally focus on children with developmental disorders; however, much larger unselected adult samples are available, increasing power to identify associations with specific genetic variants of small effect size. We introduce an Australian adult population cohort (41.7–73.2 years of age, N = 1505) in which we obtained data using validated measures of several aspects of reading and language abilities. We performed genetic association analysis for a reading and spelling composite score, nonword reading (assessing phonological processing: a core component in learning to read), phonetic spelling, self-reported reading impairment and nonword repetition (a marker of language ability). Given the limited power in a sample of this size (~80% power to find a minimum effect size of 0.005), we focused on analyzing candidate genes that have been associated with dyslexia and developmental speech and language disorders in prior studies. In gene-based tests, FOXP2, a gene implicated in speech/language disorders, was associated with nonword repetition (p < .001), phonetic spelling (p = .002) and the reading and spelling composite score (p < .001). Gene-set analyses of candidate dyslexia and speech/language disorder genes were not significant. These findings contribute to the assessment of genetic associations in reading and language disorders, crucial for understanding their etiology and informing intervention strategies, and validate the approach of using unselected adult samples for gene discovery in language and reading.
Most of the photochemical activity of bacterial photosynthetic apparatuses occurs in the reaction center, a transmembrane protein complex which converts photons into charge-separated states across the membrane with a quantum yield close to unity, fuelling the metabolism of the organism. Integrating the reaction center from the bacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides onto electroactive surfaces, it is possible to technologically exploit the efficiency of this natural machinery to generate a photovoltage upon Near Infra-Red illumination, which can be used in electronic architectures working in the electrolytic environment such as electrolyte-gated organic transistors and bio-photonic power cells. Here, photovoltage generation in reaction center-based bio-hybrid architectures is investigated by means of chronopotentiometry, isolating the contribution of the functionalisation layers and defining novel surface functionalization strategies for photovoltage tuning.
Major depressive disorder and neuroticism (Neu) share a large genetic basis. We sought to determine whether this shared basis could be decomposed to identify genetic factors that are specific to depression.
We analysed summary statistics from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of depression (from the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 23andMe and UK Biobank) and compared them with GWAS of Neu (from UK Biobank). First, we used a pairwise GWAS analysis to classify variants as associated with only depression, with only Neu or with both. Second, we estimated partial genetic correlations to test whether the depression's genetic link with other phenotypes was explained by shared overlap with Neu.
We found evidence that most genomic regions (25/37) associated with depression are likely to be shared with Neu. The overlapping common genetic variance of depression and Neu was genetically correlated primarily with psychiatric disorders. We found that the genetic contributions to depression, that were not shared with Neu, were positively correlated with metabolic phenotypes and cardiovascular disease, and negatively correlated with the personality trait conscientiousness. After removing shared genetic overlap with Neu, depression still had a specific association with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, coronary artery disease and age of first birth. Independent of depression, Neu had specific genetic correlates in ulcerative colitis, pubertal growth, anorexia and education.
Our findings demonstrate that, while genetic risk factors for depression are largely shared with Neu, there are also non-Neu-related features of depression that may be useful for further patient or phenotypic stratification.
The decision to adopt forced medication in psychiatric care is particularly relevant from a clinical and ethical viewpoint. The European Commission has funded the EUNOMIA study in order to develop European recommendations for good clinical practice on coercive measures, including forced medication.
The recommendations on forced medication have been developed in 11 countries with the involvement of national clinical leaders, key-professionals and stakeholders’ representatives. The national recommendations have been subsequently summarized into a European shared document.
Several cross-national differences exist in the use of forced medication. These differences are mainly due to legal and policy making aspects, rather than to clinical situations. In fact, countries agreed that forced medication can be allowed only if the following criteria are present: 1) a therapeutic intervention is urgently needed; 2) the voluntary intake of medications is consistently rejected; 3) the patient is not aware of his/her condition. Patients’ dignity, privacy and safety shall be preserved at all times.
The results of our study show the need of developing guidelines on the use of forced medication in psychiatric practice, that should be considered as the last resort and only when other therapeutic option have failed.
Two C2/c pyroxene suites from sodic alkaline rocks (Basanite-Phonolite: B-Ph and Alkali basalt-Trachyphonolite: AB-T) belonging to the McMurdo Volcanic Group (Mt. Melbourne province and Mt. Erebus, Antarctica) were investigated by single-crystal X-ray diffraction combined with electron probe microanalysis which together provide accurate site occupancy and site configuration parameters. Variations in site volumes distinguish the clinopyroxenes belonging to the more alkaline B-Ph suite from those of the AB-T suite. The former have higher VM2 and, for similar cell volume, lower VM1 and higher VT. In these C2/c pyroxenes, the bond lengths of M1 depend on R3+ content, necessary to balance AlIV in the T site. M1 geometric variations are similar for both B-Ph and AB-T suites. However, the M2 site is crucial for variations in polyhedral configurations. The increase in AlIV affects the shortest M2-O bond lengths in different ways depending on (Ca+Na) contents in the M2 site. Thus, the clinopyroxenes were distinguished in two different groups not related to the two suites. The first group is characterized by (Ca+Na) higher than 0.90 atoms per formula unit but shows a good positive correlation between the shortest M2-O bond lengths and AlIV content, at quite constant (Ca+Na). The second group has (Ca+Na) less than 0.90 atoms per formula unit but shows a poor correlation between the shortest M2-O bond lengths and AlIV content. In general, shortening of the longest M2-O bond lengths is associated with increase in AlIV. The cell and M1 volumes suggest that the clinopyroxenes, including the larger and sometimes resorbed macrocrysts, crystallized at a pressure lower than 5 kbar, fitting the petrography and evolved character of the rocks in question.
Approximately half of the variation in wellbeing measures overlaps with variation in personality traits. Studies of non-human primate pedigrees and human twins suggest that this is due to common genetic influences. We tested whether personality polygenic scores for the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) domains and for item response theory (IRT) derived extraversion and neuroticism scores predict variance in wellbeing measures. Polygenic scores were based on published genome-wide association (GWA) results in over 17,000 individuals for the NEO-FFI and in over 63,000 for the IRT extraversion and neuroticism traits. The NEO-FFI polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction in 7 cohorts, positive affect in 12 cohorts, and general wellbeing in 1 cohort (maximal N = 46,508). Meta-analysis of these results showed no significant association between NEO-FFI personality polygenic scores and the wellbeing measures. IRT extraversion and neuroticism polygenic scores were used to predict life satisfaction and positive affect in almost 37,000 individuals from UK Biobank. Significant positive associations (effect sizes <0.05%) were observed between the extraversion polygenic score and wellbeing measures, and a negative association was observed between the polygenic neuroticism score and life satisfaction. Furthermore, using GWA data, genetic correlations of -0.49 and -0.55 were estimated between neuroticism with life satisfaction and positive affect, respectively. The moderate genetic correlation between neuroticism and wellbeing is in line with twin research showing that genetic influences on wellbeing are also shared with other independent personality domains.
ErxYb(3-x)Q9 (1, x = 1, 2), NdYb2Q9 (2), NdEr2Q9 (3) and NdErYbQ9 (4), have been obtained through a simple molecular strategy, by controlling reactant stoichiometry. In 2-4, the templating effect of the molecular framework allows to control the metal distribution across the coordination sites where the central position is occupied by the larger Nd ion and the terminal ones by the almost vicariants Yb3+ and Er3+, drastically reducing molecular speciation. Remarkably, 4 represents the first example of a discrete molecular entity containing three different Ln ions simultaneously emitting in three different spectral regions in the NIR, upon single visible wavelength excitation. Highly transparent and homogeneous doped silica glasses have been prepared, which show the same optical properties of the incorporated complex in solution.
Structural brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) traits share part of their genetic variance with cognitive traits. Here, we use genetic association results from large meta-analytic studies of genome-wide association (GWA) for brain infarcts (BI), white matter hyperintensities, intracranial, hippocampal, and total brain volumes to estimate polygenic scores for these traits in three Scottish samples: Generation Scotland: Scottish Family Health Study (GS:SFHS), and the Lothian Birth Cohorts of 1936 (LBC1936) and 1921 (LBC1921). These five brain MRI trait polygenic scores were then used to: (1) predict corresponding MRI traits in the LBC1936 (numbers ranged 573 to 630 across traits), and (2) predict cognitive traits in all three cohorts (in 8,115–8,250 persons). In the LBC1936, all MRI phenotypic traits were correlated with at least one cognitive measure, and polygenic prediction of MRI traits was observed for intracranial volume. Meta-analysis of the correlations between MRI polygenic scores and cognitive traits revealed a significant negative correlation (maximal r = 0.08) between the HV polygenic score and measures of global cognitive ability collected in childhood and in old age in the Lothian Birth Cohorts. The lack of association to a related general cognitive measure when including the GS:SFHS points to either type 1 error or the importance of using prediction samples that closely match the demographics of the GWA samples from which prediction is based. Ideally, these analyses should be repeated in larger samples with data on both MRI and cognition, and using MRI GWA results from even larger meta-analysis studies.
Variation in human cognitive ability is of consequence to a large number of health and social outcomes and is substantially heritable. Genetic linkage, genome-wide association, and copy number variant studies have investigated the contribution of genetic variation to individual differences in normal cognitive ability, but little research has considered the role of rare genetic variants. Exome sequencing studies have already met with success in discovering novel trait-gene associations for other complex traits. Here, we use exome sequencing to investigate the effects of rare variants on general cognitive ability. Unrelated Scottish individuals were selected for high scores on a general component of intelligence (g). The frequency of rare genetic variants (in n = 146) was compared with those from Scottish controls (total n = 486) who scored in the lower to middle range of the g distribution or on a proxy measure of g. Biological pathway analysis highlighted enrichment of the mitochondrial inner membrane component and apical part of cell gene ontology terms. Global burden analysis showed a greater total number of rare variants carried by high g cases versus controls, which is inconsistent with a mutation load hypothesis whereby mutations negatively affect g. The general finding of greater non-synonymous (vs. synonymous) variant effects is in line with evolutionary hypotheses for g. Given that this first sequencing study of high g was small, promising results were found, suggesting that the study of rare variants in larger samples would be worthwhile.
A recent study by Cid et al. (2012) showed that full halo coronal mass ejections (CMEs) coming from the limb can disturb the terrestrial environment. Although this result seems to rise some controversies with the well established theories, the fact is that the study encourages the scientific community to perform careful multidisciplinary analysis along the Sun-to-Earth chain to fully understand which are the solar triggers of terrestrial disturbances. This paper aims to clarify some of the polemical issues arisen by that paper.
We assessed the heritability of head circumference, an approximation of brain size, in twin-sib families of different ages. Data from the youngest participants were collected a few weeks after birth and from the oldest participants around age 50 years. In nearly all age groups the largest part of the variation in head circumference was explained by genetic differences. Heritability estimates were 90% in young infants (4 to 5 months), 85–88% in early childhood, 83–87% in adolescence, 75% in young and mid adulthood. In infants younger than 3 months, heritability was very low or absent. Quantitative sex differences in heritability were observed in 15- and 18-year-olds, but there was no evidence for qualitative sex differences, that is, the same genes were expressed in both males and females. Longitudinal analysis of the data between 5, 7, and 18 years of age showed high genetic stability (.78 > RG > .98). These results indicate that head circumference is a highly heritable biometric trait and a valid target for future GWA studies.
Amultidisciplinary collaborative study examining cognition in a large sample of twins is outlined. A common experimental protocol and design is used in The Netherlands, Australia and Japan to measure cognitive ability using traditional IQ measures (i.e., psychometric IQ), processing speed (e.g., reaction time [RT] and inspection time [IT]), and working memory (e.g., spatial span, delayed response [DR] performance). The main aim is to investigate the genetic covariation among these cognitive phenotypes in order to use the correlated biological markers in future linkage and association analyses to detect quantitativetrait loci (QTLs). We outline the study and methodology, and report results from our preliminary analyses that examines the heritability of processing speed and working memory indices, and their phenotypic correlation with IQ. Heritability of Full Scale IQ was 87% in the Netherlands, 83% in Australia, and 71% in Japan. Heritability estimates for processing speed and working memory indices ranged from 33–64%. Associations of IQ with RT and IT (−0.28 to −0.36) replicated previous findings with those of higher cognitive ability showing faster speed of processing. Similarly, significant correlations were indicated between IQ and the spatial span working memory task (storage [0.31], executive processing [0.37]) and the DR working memory task (0.25), with those of higher cognitive ability showing better memory performance. These analyses establish the heritability of the processing speed and working memory measures to be used in our collaborative twin study of cognition, and support the findings that individual differences in processing speed and working memory may underlie individual differences in psychometric IQ.
Genetic and environmental sources of covariation among cognitive measures of verbal IQ, performance IQ (PIQ), academic achievement, 2-choice reaction time (CRT), inspection time (IT) and the 6 Openness facets of the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R) were examined. The number of twin and twin–sibling pairs ranged from 432 (182 MZ, 350 DZ/sibling) to 1023 (273 MZ, 750 DZ/sibling) for cognitive measures, and between 432 (90 MZ, 342 DZ/sibling) — 437 (91 MZ, 346 DZ/sibling) for Openness facets. Structural equation modeling best supported a model with a 3-factor additive genetic structure. A genetic general factor subsumed the 5 cognitive measures and 5 of the 6 Openness facets (Actions did not load significantly). A second additive genetic factor incorporated the 6 Openness facets, and a third additive genetic factor incorporated the 5 cognitive measures. Specific additive and dominance genetic effects were also evident, as were shared common and shared unique environmental influences, and specific unique environmental effects. The Openness facets of Ideas and Values evidenced the strongest phenotypic correlations with cognitive indices, particularly verbal measures. The genetic correlations among Openness facets and cognitive measures ranged from −.06 to .79. Results were interpreted as suggesting that Openness is related to general cognitive ability (g) through a genetic mechanism and that gengenders a minor but discernable disposition towards Openness for the majority of facets.
Twin studies of diabetes mellitus can help elucidate genetic and environmental factors in etiology and can provide valuable biological samples for testing functional hypotheses, for example using expression and methylation studies of discordant pairs. We searched the volunteer Australian Twin Registry (19,387 pairs) for twins with diabetes using disease checklists from nine different surveys conducted from 1980–2000. After follow-up questionnaires to the twins and their doctors to confirm diagnoses, we eventually identified 46 pairs where one or both had type 1 diabetes (T1D), 113 pairs with type 2 diabetes (T2D), 41 female pairs with gestational diabetes (GD), 5 pairs with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and one pair with MODY. Heritabilities of T1D, T2D and GD were all high, but our samples did not have the power to detect effects of shared environment unless they were very large. Weight differences between affected and unaffected cotwins from monozygotic (MZ) discordant pairs were large for T2D and GD, but much larger again for discordant dizygotic (DZ) pairs. The bivariate genetic analysis (under the multifactorial threshold model) estimated the genetic correlation between body mass index (BMI) and T2D to be 0.46, and the environmental correlation at only 0.06.
Birthweight has implications for physical and mental health in later life. Using data from Caucasian twins collected in Australia, the Netherlands and the United States, and from East Asian twins collected in Japan and South Korea, we compared the total phenotypic, genetic and environmental variances of birthweight between Caucasians and East Asians. Model-fitting analyses yielded four major findings. First, for both males and females, the total phenotypic variances of birthweight were about 45% larger in Caucasians than in East Asians. The larger phenotypic variances were mainly attributable to a greater shared environmental variance of birth- weight in Caucasians (ranging from 62% to 67% of variance) than Asians (48% to 53%). Second, the genetic variance of birthweight was equal in Caucasians and East Asians for both males and females, explaining a maximum of 17% of variance. Third, small variations in total phenotypic variances of birthweight within Caucasians and within East Asians were mainly due to differences in nonshared environmental variances. We speculate that maternal effects (both genetic and environmental) explain the large shared environmental variance in birthweight and may account for the differences in phenotypic variance in birthweight between Caucasians and East Asians. Recent molecular findings and specific environmental factors that are subsumed by maternal effects are discussed.