2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Computer Science
Mentor: Laramie Duncan (Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences)

“Investigating the Biology of Mental Illness through Genetics”

Mental health problems like depression are among the world’s most debilitating conditions. The precise role of hormones in depression has long been suspected, but small sample sizes have hindered research. Building on recent findings from the Duncan Lab about shared genetic factors for menopause symptoms and depression, Katy will conduct the largest ever study of menopause symptoms and mental health (sample size >1 million). In doing so, Katy will learn statistical analysis methods such as genome wide association study (GWAS) and Mendelian Randomization, as well as the skills needed for large computational projects. Katy’s work will help to clarify the underlying genetic factors related to menopause symptoms and depression.