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The ENIGMA Consortium is an international effort by leaders worldwide. The Network brings together researchers in imaging genomics, neurology and psychiatry, to understand brain structure and function, based on MRI, DTI, fMRI, genetic data and many patient populations.

The best return on our research investments will come from combining our data to achieve the large samples necessary to detect the modest gene effect sizes that we now know are the rule rather the exception for complex traits.

The ENIGMA Network has several goals:

  • to create a network of like-minded individuals, interested in pushing forward the field of imaging genetics
  • to ensure promising findings are replicated via member collaborations, in order to satisfy the mandates of most journals
  • to share ideas, algorithms, data, and information on promising findings or methods
  • to facilitate training, including workshops and conferences on key methods and emerging directions in imaging genetics.

 

Data sharing with other members of the ENIGMA Network is optional and by no means a requirement of joining the network.

 

Our follow up letter and initial letter of inquiry are included below.

 


 

INITIAL LETTER OF INQUIRY

Dear Colleagues,
At the recent psychiatric genetics meeting in San Diego it became apparent that there are now a number of groups around the world conducting brain imaging studies of normal individuals and also obtaining (or planning to obtain) genomewide association scan data. The finished datasets represent enormous investment in both phenotyping and genotyping, and every group will want to get its own paper out to justify their investment. Unfortunately, however, the power calculations do not change just because the phenotype is more expensive and it is likely that individual studies will not be large enough to find significant SNP effects; and even if they do it will be necessary to replicate them on independent samples. Just as it has proved necessary to form GWAS consortia for other diseases and continuous phenotypes, it seems likely that the best return on our research investments will come from combining our data to achieve the large N’s necessary to detect the modest gene effect sizes that we now know are the rule rather the exception for complex traits.
This email is therefore to gauge your interest in joining a network of researchers interested in brain MRI/GWAS studies. The initial goal can be quite informal – to make a database available to all, of who has what, to enable replication studies, and some joint analyses. A longer term goal might be to form a more formalised GWAS consortium that will need coordination to standardize phenotypes, imputation of SNP sets etc.
As a first step can you please just reply to this email to indicate interest, hostility, or otherwise. If there is sufficient interest we will send around a spreadsheet to get a record of who has what phenotypes and genotypes. If there are other consortia with the same aim already in existence, or nascent, please let us know. Likewise, if there are people not on the To list above who might be interested, please forward this to them or let us know their names.
Thanks and warm regards,
Paul Thompson
Imaging Genetics Center, USC
Nick Martin
Genetic Epidemiology Unit,
Queensland Institute of Medical Research

FOLLOW UP LETTER TO INTERESTED PARTIES

Dear Colleagues,
Thank you all for your emails. We are delighted by the universally positive response to our suggestion to form a network of researchers [contemplating] undertaking GWAS studies of brain imaging phenotypes. As a first step we have set up a password-protected website where you may record the details of your study so that others in the network can see who is doing what and form alliances and mutually interesting projects accordingly. In the longer term we might consider forming ad hoc consortia for meta-analysis of different MRI phenotypes. Every network needs a catchy acronym, so we came up with ENIGMA – Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics by Meta-Analysis.
So, 2 questions:
If you would like to be updated by email on our ENIGMA network mailing list, and if you would like to post messages or announcements to the list, please just send back very brief project information in the 2 documents attached (People, and Projects). We assembled this from everyone’s enthusiastic replies, but please edit your information to make it accurate and email it back to us. If we missed you, please just add your information. Please include a URL so we can link to your website (personal homepage, project homepage, or both). Then people can go directly to your website to learn about your GWAS imaging projects.
Please let us know if you would consent to having this information behind a password protected page on the internet, and we will send out passwords to those who have expressed an interest in being on the mailing list.
Again, we note that this is just a mailing list/forum – it by no means forces you to collaborate with each other or share your data. We are just trying to create a forum whereby scientists can replicate their imaging genetics findings in separate cohorts, if they want to. The more they know about who to contact, the more likely it is to work.
Thanks and warm regards,
Paul Thompson
Imaging Genetics Center, USC
Nick Martin
Genetic Epidemiology Unit,
Queensland Institute of Medical Research

 


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