Ida Elken Sønderby is a senior researcher in the area of copy number variants and brain imaging at Oslo University Hospital and at the Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research, associated with the University of Oslo. She obtained her PhD in Plant Molecular Biology at the University of Copenhagen, after which she worked with human sequencing and associations studies in psychiatric genetics in Norway.
During a three months Marie Curie industrial stay at deCODE Genetics in Iceland to identify genetic risk factors for ADHD, she developed a particular interest in copy number variant (CNVs) carriers.
Together with Ole Andreassen, she started up the ENIGMA-CNV working group in 2015, which she still co-chairs. ENIGMA-CNV carries out mega-analysis and links structural MRI data with copy number variants (CNVs) in the human genome. In parallel, she studies longitudinal outcome for CNV carriers in Norway.
CNVs in the human genome may contribute to both phenotypic variation and disease susceptibility through effects on brain morphology. Although many CNVs are highly penetrant, their low frequency makes it challenging to obtain sufficient sample sizes.
Ida Elken Sønderby will discuss her work within the ENIGMA-CNV working group, which pooled together data on CNVs and brain structure from ~40,000 individuals mainly from the general population. She examined how recurrent CNVs previously associated with autism, schizophrenia and intellectual disability affect brain structure. Additionally, she investigated the relation of these CNVs to measures of cognitive performance in up to half a million people in the UK Biobank.
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