The Huang lab is a member of the Stanley Center Global and leads the Stanley Center Asia Initiatives. Therefore, we are particularly interested in psychiatric genetics research problems in the Asia populations and across global populations. Working with the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, the Huang lab led a study to compile over 22,000 schizophrenia cases and 35,000 controls of East Asia ancestry (Lam and Chen et al, Nature Genetics 2019). Using this largest to date psychiatric genetics cohort of East Asia ancestry, we identified 176 genetic loci (53 new) associated with schizophrenia. We also found that genetic variants that confer risk to schizophrenia have highly similar effects in those of East Asian and European ancestry, indicating for the first time that the genetic basis of schizophrenia and its biology are broadly shared across these world populations. A novel fine-mapping method enabled by the diversity in linkage disequilibrium across ancestries more precisely isolated schizophrenia causal alleles in 70% of genetic regions. We also found genetic risk prediction has reduced performance when used across populations, highlighting the importance of including all major ancestral groups with sufficient sample size to ensure the findings have maximum relevance for all populations.
Other psychiatric genetics studies in the Huang lab include understanding contributions from structural variations and copy number variations to schizophrenia in East Asia populations and studies to identify neurophysiology biomarkers for schizophrenia.