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Previous studies

aowen"An fMRI study of frontal lobe function in attention" led by Dr Adrian Owen at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to disassociate various mental processes, such as strategy formation and cognitive flexibility in an attempt to improve our understanding of conditions such as Parkinsons and Obsessive–compulsive disorder. This study involved performing a number of simple tasks whilst undergoing fMRI scanning and some behavioural testing outside the scanner. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here and you can see more information about MRI scanning here.
“An investigation of the functional consequences of the independent rs2205960 and rs10798269 polymorphisms of human TNFSF4: Genetic susceptibility variants found globally in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)” led by Professor Tim Vyse at King's College London. Existing studies have highlighted genetic variants that are common in patients with SLE, but are also found at a lower frequency in healthy individuals. The purpose of this study is to understand how these genetic variants influence the function of white blood cells. Volunteers will be asked to provide a single blood sample.
"Assessment of accuracy and sensitivity of genotyping technologies for determining red blood cell groups" led by Dr Nicholas Watkins at the University of Cambridge and NHS Blood and Transplant. This study aims to compare genotyping technologies with traditional serological methods for determining donor and patient blood groups. In addition to a technological comparison, the study also includes a cost-benefit analysis of the two approaches. The outcome of this study will inform the future implementation of blood group genotyping in the UK Blood Services.
miles parkes"Cambridge Crohn's and colitis gene study" led by Dr Miles Parkes, Consultant Gastroenterologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital. This project aimed to identify the genes that are associated with increased risk of Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis by studying DNA and RNA both from individuals with these severe forms of bowel inflammation and from people without these diseases ('controls'). Volunteers were asked to provide a small blood sample to help with this research. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.
"Cardiosome Project: genes and mechanisms in cardiovascular disease" led by Dr Willem Ouwehand at the University of Cambridge Department of Haematology. The aim of the Cardiosome project is to identify the genes and mechanisms that contribute to the risk of heart attacks. Heart attacks are the leading cause of death in Western societies. The study involves donating one or several blood samples. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.
"Developmental origins of risk of type 2 diabetes: Tolerance of fasting and IGF-I levels" led by Professor David Dunger at the University of Cambridge Department of Paediatrics. Professor Dunger and his team are investigating whether levels of IGF-I (a metabolism hormone) in the blood are linked to differences in insulin secretion and an individual’s risk of type 2 diabetes. The study involves a period of fasting during an overnight stay at the Clinical Research Facility at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.
"Dopaminergic modulation of human social decision making" led by Dr Eisenegger and Dr Müller, Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry. The main purpose of this study is to gain further understanding of the brain mechanisms involved in decision making in a social context. The study aims to examine how the dopaminergic system influences decisions in healthy male volunteers. Participants will attend a single session at the Herchel Smith Building, which is in vicinity to Addenbrooke's Hospital, where they will either receive a dose of a medication that affects dopamine or an inactive 'placebo' capsule.
pnathan"Effects of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) gene polymorphism on brain imaging and behavioural biomarkers of plasticity" led by Prof Pradeep Nathan of the Brain Mapping Unit, Department of Psychiatry and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pharmaceuticals based at the GSK Clinical Unit Cambridge at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The study aims to examine the effect of the Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) polymorphism on brain imaging, brain stimulation, electrophysiological and behavioural biomarkers of learning and plasticity in an attempt to identify biomakers that could be applied to future clinical studies of plasticity modifying drugs with a BDNF related mechanism of action. Approximately 60 subjects will undergo assessment using functional and structural brain imaging (magnetic resonance imaging), brain stimulation (transcranial magnetic stimulation), electrophysiological (Event Related Potentials), and behavioural biomarkers of learning and plasticity. The information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"Food choices study" led by Professor Theresa Marteau at the Behaviour and Health Research Unit. This study aims to improve our understanding of the factors that influence food choices and preferences in a normal range of adults. Volunteers will undertake a single computer based task lasting 20 to 30 minutes. This can be completed from their own computer. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.

 

"Functional characterisation of primary biliary cirrhosis associated SNPs: identification of genes associated with disease" led by Dr Richard Sandford at the University of Cambridge Department of Medical Genetics. Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a chronic autoimmune disease that slowly but progressively destroys the bile ducts in the liver. This study aims to identify the genes that are associated with the development of PBC. Volunteers who participate will be asked to provide a single small blood sample.

 

“Identification of biomarkers of the IFN signature” led by Professor John Todd, JDRF/Wellcome Trust Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory. Our aim is to study IFIH1, responsible for sensing virus threats and generating interferon alpha, a powerful signalling molecule, in response to the infection, and how it contributes to type 1 diabetes. To do so, we will study Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), another autoimmune condition, where the same gene takes a major role, and where patients are known to have elevated levels of interferon alpha in circulation. We will measure the effects of interferon in gene expression and how this correlates with white blood cellular features.

"Genes and mechanisms in clonal blood disorders" led by Professor Anthony Green at the University of Cambridge Department of Haematology. This study is investigating the way natural variation in genes affects the formation of blood cells, in order to better understand diseases of the blood system. Volunteers will be asked to provide a blood sample. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

 

"Genetic factors affecting the neural coding of emotional signals in humans" led by Dr Andy Calder at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. This study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to provide a more fine-grained analysis of the particular areas of the brain that are associated with specific individual emotions in an attempt to improve our understanding of the way in which our brains process emotional information. This study involved performing a number of simple tasks, including looking at pictures of facial expressions or emotional scenes, listening to sounds, or reading emotional sentences whilst undergoing fMRI scanning and some behavioural testing outside the scanner. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here and you can see more information about MRI scanning here.

"Genome-wide association study of genomic stability" led by Dr Jeffrey Barrett at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Increased miconuclei frequency in peripheral blood (a marker of DNA instability) has been demonstrated to predict cancer risk (Bonassi et al, Carcinogenesis, 2006). Little is known, however, about how individual variation in DNA sequence relates to this trait. With the additional involvement of Dr David Adams, Dr Barrett's team will analyze red blood cells from planned volunteer blood donations to measure the level of DNA instability. These measurements will then be compared to matched DNA sequence variations at a million places in the human genome to look for correlations between the genetic variation and DNA instability.

“Investigation of the functional role of the IL23R gene variant in psoriasis pathogenesis” led by Professor Frank Nestle, Mary Dunhill Chair of Cutaneous Medicine and Immunotherapy at King’s College London. Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease affecting 2% of the population in the UK. In this study Prof Nestle and his team aimed to determine the effect of a genetic variant in a protein called IL-23R that is known to be important in psoriasis. This study involved donating a single small blood sample and answering to a short questionnaire. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.

"Neuronal mechanisms underlying the role of serotonin and its genetic polymorphism on compulsive behaviours" led by Professor Trevor Robbins at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychology & The Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute. The study is investigating the role of serotonin neurotransmission in the emergence and maintenance of compulsive and habitual behaviours. Volunteers will visit the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility where they will undertake a range of activities. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

“Online Food Shopping Study” led by Professor Theresa Marteau at the Behaviour and Health Research Unit. This study aims to improve our understanding of the factors that influence food purchasing. Volunteers who participate in this study will visit a ‘virtual online supermarket’ and complete a variety of shopping tasks.

 

"Phenotypes linked to common weight gain/diabetes genetic variants" led by Drs Savage, Farooqi, O'Rahilly, Wareham and Finucane at the University of Cambridge. The aim of this study was to improve our understanding of how genetic variants alter body weight regulation and diabetes risk. The study involved a 3-day visit to the Clinical Research Facility at Addenbrooke's Hospital. Specifically it involved measuring food intake and how much energy the body uses, under carefully controlled conditions, in order to try to identify more effective ways of preventing weight gain and reducing the incidence of diabetes. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.

smith ken

"Study of ANCA associated vasculitis genetic variations" led by Professor Ken Smith in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. Anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) - associated vasculitides (AAV) are a group of autoimmune disorders characterised by systemic small vessel vasculitis. This study aims to better understand how specific genetic variations may contribute to AAV. Volunteers will be asked to provide a small blood sample.

"Targeted Recall of UK10K Cohort/Cambridge BioResource – Genetic and Immune Studies" led by Professor Tim Vyse at King's College London. Existing studies have highlighted genetic variants that are common in patients with SLE, but are also found at a lower frequency in healthy individuals. The purpose of this study is to understand how these genetic variants influence the function of white blood cells. Volunteers will be asked to provide a single blood sample. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"The gut microbiota and NOD2 genotype in Crohn’s disease: a pilot study for the UKIBD Microbiota Consortium" led by Dr Charlie W Lees at Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. The aim of the study is to gain a better understanding of the composition of the gut microbiota in patients harbouring specific genetic Crohn's Disease (CD) risk variants. It is proposed that over time these genetic variations change the gut microbiota and this change of species could trigger the inflammation seen in CD. This study will use state of the art sequencing technology to define the influence of genetic variation on the host gut microbiota in those with, and without, CD. Volunteers who participate will be asked to donate a stool sample for analysis. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"The relationship between pancreatic beta-cell function and lipid turnover" led by Professor David Dunger at the University of Cambridge Department of Paediatrics. The purpose of this study is to find out whether genetic variation in the amount of insulin we release into blood could influence fat metabolism. Volunteers may be invited to spend a night at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility to undergo a range of measurements including MRI and DXA scans. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"Time course and determinants of arterial stiffening" led by Dr Kevin O'Shaughnessy in the Department of Medicine at Addenbrooke's Hospital. As we get older our arteries stiffen. This can lead to an increase in blood pressure and greater risk of strokes and heart attacks. Dr O'Shaughnessy and his team aim to measure how quickly arteries stiffen over time and to establish the reasons why they stiffen. Volunteers will be asked to visit the Vascular Research Clinic at Addenbrooke's Hospital to undergo a number of measurements and provide a small blood sample. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

“A Pharmacogenetic study of the influence of the Mu opioid receptor polymorphism (OPRM1) on the antagonist efficacy of GSK1521498 and Naltrexone on physiological and behavioural markers of brain function” led by Professor Edward Bullmore and Professor Pradeep Nathan from the Department of Psychiatry and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pharmaceuticals based at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The study aims to examine the role of the Mu opioid receptor (MOR) polymorphism (A118G SNP) on the pharmacodynamic effects of MOR antagonists GSK1521498 and Naltrexone. The study will be the first to assess the pharmacological significance of human MOR genetic variation by a designed experiment, using a balanced, prospectively stratified sample and advanced neurophysiological and behavioural biomarkers. The results will be important to a general understanding of the therapeutic potential of a fairly common genetic variant of the MOR target. These data will also more specifically and directly inform future development planning for GSK1521498, particularly if the polymorphism was shown to magnify the efficacy of GSK1521498 or demonstrate greater efficacy in comparison to Naltrexone. Demonstration of a pharmaco-genetic effect could also support prospective stratification of patients in later clinical trials for eating behaviour, alcohol or drug dependence. The information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"Tumour necrosis factor in human disease" led by Dr John Bradley at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The aim of this study is to investigate the role of a molecule, called tumour necrosis factor (TNF), in the development and progression of human disease. Volunteers will be asked to provide a single blood sample.

"Investigating the Effects of Atomoxetine on Brain and Behaviour" led by Dr Karen Ersche at the University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry. This study is investigating whether brain function and self-control abilities can be improved under the influence of the medication Atomoxetine. Volunteer participation will involve three visits during which participants will be given either the study medication or a placebo. Volunteers will also provide samples and undergo an MRI scan and various tasks. The information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"Autoimmune phenotypes associated with HLA class I susceptibility alleles in Type 1 diabetes (T1D)" led by Professor Mark Peakman at King's College London School of Medicine. The research team are studying the autoimmune disease Type 1 diabetes, and in particular the role of the immune system in causing the inflammation that is part and parcel of this condition. We know that several genetic variations can contribute to disease, but we do not know how. This study is designed to discover how a particular set of genes contribute to inflammation and Type 1 diabetes.

"Approaches to earlier detection and prevention in lung disease" led by Professor Sir Bruce Ponder at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute. This project aims to establish whether genetic differences between individuals may influence their airway response to cigarette smoke and hence their risk of lung cancer. The study will involve looking at blood samples from smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers to determine how different individuals respond to the damage caused by cigarette smoke.

Cholesterol efflux pathways in monocytes and the genetic risk of atherosclerosis” led by Professor Bennett, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Coronary disease is a progressive condition that results in the narrowing of vessels supplying blood to the heart and can lead to heart attacks. This project will study the role of genes that regulate certain functions in blood cells which may lead to coronary disease and has the potential to identify novel mechanisms in this disease process.

"A genetic study of Individual Differences” led by Professor Simon Baron-Cohen at the University of Cambridge Autism Research Centre. This study is investigating individual differences in thinking styles. This includes profiling people's interests and preferences. This study is testing links between genes and individual differences in thinking styles, such as personality, empathy and problem solving ability. Volunteers that take part in this study complete online questionnaires and exercises. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

 "A study of the long-term safety and mechanism of action of alemtuzumab (Campath-1H)" led by Dr Stephen Sawcer and Dr Alasdair Coles in the University of Cambridge Department of Clinical Neurosciences based at Addenbrooke's Hospital. A previous international study has identified genes potentially involved in multiple sclerosis. This study aims to investigate a number of these genes, confirming their role, defining the mechanisms involved and potentially identifying new treatment targets. Volunteers will be asked to give up a blood sample. The full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.

"Genes and mechanisms in type 1 diabetes" led by Professor John Todd at the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research. The purpose of this study is to determine the functions of the genes that cause type 1 diabetes, and better understand its basic causes. This study involves donating a single small blood sample at a time and location convenient to you. You can view the full information sheet sent to volunteers here.

"Immunophenotyping schizophrenia: a pilot study" led by Emilio Fernandez-Egea at the Herchel Smith building for Brain and Mind Sciences. Earlier studies have found that healing processes (like inflammation or immunity) are different in schizophrenia. The research team aim to study these processes in people suffering with psychosis and in the general population. They will be using novel technology to analyse cells and blood components. This study will be carried out in subjects diagnosed with persistent schizophrenia compared to matched healthy controls from the Cambridge BioResource.

"Toward a social-genetic model of well-being and prosociality" led by Dr Aleksandr Kogan in the University of Cambridge Department of Psychology. The study team are interested primarily in the Oxytocin Receptor (OXTR) gene. Oxytocin has been linked to social functioning in animals and humans and has been dubbed the “love hormone”. Participation in the study will be conducted entirely online, taking roughly 1.5 hours.

"PlAteletS in HeAlthy" individuals (PASHA) led by Professor Willem H. Ouwehand at the NHS Blood and Transplant. The overall goal of the PASHA study is to obtain a better understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms, which underlie the observed associations between common GWAS variants and the processes of megakaryopoiesis and platelet formation. In addition we would like to determine whether the GWAS SNVs also exert an effect on the prothrombotic function of platelets. Volunteers that take part in this study give a blood sample and the full information sheet sent to volunteers can be viewed here.