Bioresource, biomarkers and genomics

We collaborate with the the other Biomedical Research Centres on the NIHR Bioresource project. Bioresource collects biological samples such as blood and saliva for molecular analysis, which is linked to electronic medical records of service users who have given permission to be contacted about participation in BRC research.

Collecting and analysing samples and data in a standard way allows researchers to link and integrate information from different sources to look for variations in the molecular profiles of individuals with mental illness compared to healthy individuals.

Identifying variations in patterns of specific groups of molecules can be useful in many ways, including:

  • Helping to develop new diagnostic tests
  • Allowing clinicians to measure how patients respond to particular treatments and thereby tailor treatments to meet individual patient needs
  • Identifying molecular targets around which to design new drug treatments
  • Understanding the causes of different types of mental illnesses.

Theme Lead: Dr Gerome Breen

Our objectives

Sample collection: targeted collection of multiple biological samples from 2,000 to 3,000 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) patients per annum, from specific patient groups, in collaboration with other theme projects.

Genomic research: molecular diagnostics and 'next-gen' DNA sequencing in subjects at high risk of mental health disorders in order to identify mutations for use in diagnosis and determining prognosis.

Pharmacogenetics: to increase safety, tolerability and efficacy of medication through pharmacogenetic research relevant to therapeutic drug monitoring, adverse drug reactions and treatment resistance.

Biomarkers: proteomic, RNA and small-molecular biomarker analysis for specific theme-driven projects to develop biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis, disease progression and treatment response.

What we can offer collaborators

  1. Support for consenting and phlebotomy of patients and volunteers.
  2. Guarantees that decisions on what is done with samples are taken jointly and that open and friendly collaboration is our primary goal.
  3. Support for biological analyses (e.g. genotyping, expression and proteomics) can be applied for each year in our call for proposals.

Take a tour of our bioresource labs: