Metabolic profiles of mental health trajectories in childhood and early adulthood

Research Opportunity
Honours
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Department
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Sharon Lewis sharon.lewis@mcri.edu.au 9936 6558 Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Katherine Lange katherine.lange@mcri.edu.au 9936 6282 Personal web page

Summary This project will investigate the association between mental health trajectories and blood metabolite profiles. This project utilises two large independent population-based cohorts of Australian children and adults - (1) the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) with the nested Child Health CheckPoint physical health and biospecimens module, and (2) the Clinical review of the Health in adults conceived with Assisted Reproductive Technologies (CHART) study.

Project Details

Mental illness confers up to 60% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death, with the majority of common mental illnesses predicted to begin prior to 14 years old. This highlights the need to identify mental health difficulties from early childhood, in order to most effectively apply preventative measures to the right people at the right time. We have preliminary evidence for an association between mental health and a number of blood metabolites in children, including unsaturated fatty acids, triglycerides and some amino acids. However, it is unclear if these metabolic profiles differ for short-term and long-term mental health difficulties. This project will investigate the association between mental health trajectories and blood metabolite profiles.     This project utilises two large independent population-based cohorts of Australian children and adults - (1) the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) with the nested Child Health CheckPoint physical health and biospecimens module, and (2) the Clinical review of the Health in adults conceived with Assisted Reproductive Technologies (CHART) study. Potential students will classify participants according to mental health trajectories, and then use regression models to investigate the association between these trajectory groups and blood metabolite concentrations in mid-childhood and young adults. The results could provide novel insights into objective biomarkers classifying mental health trajectories.     This project will suit a student with an interest in population-based health, developing statistical experience and Stata skills. Some prior experience in basic statistical techniques or analytical packages (such as Stata, R, MPlus or MATLAB) would be an advantage. The broader research team includes expertise in longitudinal and high-throughput metabolomic data analyses, statistical support, and access to Stata software and expertise to conduct the project. Given the large, high quality data available, findings are likely to be published in a quality journal.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Honours
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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