Seminar: Dissecting the Heterogeneity of Major Depression - London

External Event - 24th Apr 2019

13:30 - 16:30

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (Wolfson Lecture Theatre), 16 De Crespigny Park, Camberwell, London, SE5 8AB

Major Depression is a psychiatric disorder which is estimated to affect 300 million people worldwide. In 2017, depressive disorders ranked third on contribution to global burden of disease. Despite the substantial need for effective diagnoses and treatment, research focused on uncovering biomarkers remains limited.

One possible explanation for this is the vast heterogeneity that exists in the diagnosis of Major Depression. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) criteria, it is theoretically possible to achieve a diagnosis of Major Depression in 227 different ways, and the majority of these 'symptom profiles' do indeed present within the population.

Join the NIHR Maudsley BRC Biomarkers and Genomics theme as we discuss how dissecting symptom-level information, genetics and comorbidities can inform the substructures of Major Depression.


  • Eiko Fried - Assistant Professor, Leiden University. A psychologist, methodologist and avid twitter user. Eiko runs two thought provoking blogs that question the construct of major depression and the relationship of the disorder’s individual symptoms.
  • Na Cai - Research Fellow, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and European Bioinformatics Institute. Dr Na Cai is a statistical geneticist. She analyses the genetic contribution to major depressive disorder, using sequence and genotype data to understand the spectrum of depressive disorders.
  • Anamaria Brailean - Postdoctoral Researcher, King's College London
  • Saskia Hagenaars - MRC Research Fellow, King's College London
  • David Howard - Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, King's College London
  • Bradley Jermy - BRC PhD Student, King's College London


  • 13:30 - 13:35 - Cathryn Lewis - Welcome
  • 13:35 - 14:15 - Eiko Fried - "Depression is a problematic phenotype: The potential benefits of studying symptoms over syndromes"
  • 14:15 - 14:35 - Bradley Jermy - "Depression: Dimensional or categorical? A genetic comparison"
  • 14:35 - 14:55 - Anamaria Brailean - "Characteristics, comorbidities, and correlates of atypical depression: Evidence from the UK Biobank Mental Health Survey"
  • 14:55- 15:15 - Tea break
  • 15:15 - 15:35 - David Howard - "What do the 102 genetic variants identified for depression reveal about its heterogeneity?"
  • 15:35 - 15:55 - Saskia Hagenaars - "Genetic comorbidity between depression and cardio-metabolic disease: stratified by depression age at onset"
  • 15:55 - 16:30 - Na Cai - "Definitions of depression used in GWAS"

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