Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Veronique Vitart

Senior Scientist

Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

Qualifications

MSc Plant breeding and Quantitative Genetics, University of Paris-Sud, France,1988

PhD Plant Molecular Genetics , university of Paris-sud, France,1992

MSc Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis, University of Edinburgh, UK, 2002

Biography

Ecole Normale Superieure of StCloud-Fontenay, FRANCE 1985

Magistere of Biology-Biochemistry, University of Paris-Sud, FRANCE 1985-1988

PhD, University of Paris-sud, 1992

Post-doctoral fellow, Bourse Lavoisier from the French Foreign Office,The Salk Institute,La Jolla California,USA 1992-1994

Research associate, UCLA, Los Angeles,California and at the Scripps research Institute, La Jolla California,USA 1995-1999

Senior Scientist MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh, UK, 2000-on

MRC Special training Fellowship in Bioinformatics,2001

 

Current Research Interests

Genetics of medically-relevant quantitative traits to gain insight into the molecular mechanisms shaping their natural variation and their contribution to diseases.

Research Interests

Our main approach is to decipher the genetic basis of natural variation in quantitative traits associated with diseases and conditions as they are more amenable to analysis. We study cross-sectional cohorts of diverse populations from Croatia and Scotland, where traits from medical examinations, questionnaires and biochemical measures were collected.  Plasma and serum have been stored allowing additional measures to be performed. Our main analysis tool, single trait, single marker genome-wide association study(GWAS), has resulted in associating many common genetic variants to a , small,  contribution into variation of the studied traits, and this mostly within large consortia pulling together resources. Our core research is still revolving much around this, with numerous traits measured (including glycomics) or planned, e.g  proteomics. The contribution of the associated genetics variants is generally small but may illuminate or highlight novel biological pathways and functions.

Building-up research  interests are in performing functional following–up of GWAS hits, pathways analyses of sub-threshold hits, multi-traits analyses and finding evidence for gene by environment interactions, a likely primary contributor of inter-individual variation.

I focus primarily on two very different types of exemplar traits :

1)   morphologic : eye biometrical traits pertaining to the development of myopia and hyperopia. The quantitative approach is also complemented by a study of  families with severe myopia or  hypermetropia  from the island of Lewis/Harris in Scotland and by case-control studies of retinal detachment, a blinding condition for which high myopia is a risk factor.

 

2) metabolic : urate level. High level of serum urate is a primary causal factor  in the development of gout , a common rheumatic disease, and is associated with the cluster of metabolic syndrome components (central obesity, hypertension ,high triglycerides and  LDL-cholesterol levels ,hyper glycemia)

My research in a nutshell

Our main approach is to decipher the genetic basis of natural variation in
quantitative traits (QTs) associated with diseases and conditions, as QTs
are more amenable to analysis than the disease as a whole. We study
cross-sectional cohorts of diverse populations recruited from Croatia and
Scotland, in which a range of traits were collected from medical
examinations, questionnaires and biochemical assays.  Plasma, serum and
urine have been stored from each cohort participant, allowing additional
lab-based measures to be derived, and new hypotheses to be tested. Our main
analysis tool, single trait, single marker genome-wide association study
(GWAS), has resulted in the successful association of many common genetic
variants, of relevance to a wide range of complex diseases.  This work now
mostly takes place within large consortia, pulling together resources
nationally and internationally. Our core research continues to revolve
around this approach, with numerous traits measured (including glycomics) or
planned (e.g.  proteomics) in thousands or tens of thousands of
participants. Although the contribution of the associated genetic variants
into variation of the studied trait is generally small, the findings can
illuminate or highlight novel biological pathways and functions.

The focus of the Vitart group is primarily on two very different types of
exemplar traits :
1)   morphologic : eye biometrical traits pertaining to the development of
myopia and hyperopia.
The quantitative genetics approach is also complemented by a study of
families with severe myopia or hypermetropia from the island of Lewis/Harris
in Scotland and by case-control studies of retinal detachment, a blinding
condition for which high myopia is a risk factor.
2)  metabolic : urate levels. A high level of serum urate is a primary causal
factor in the development of gout, a common rheumatic disease, and is
associated with the cluster of metabolic syndrome components (central
obesity, hypertension, high triglycerides &  LDL-cholesterol levels,
hyperglycaemia).
Ongoing and future research interests are in performing functional follow-up
of GWAS "hits", pathway analyses of sub-threshold hits, multi-traits
analyses and searching for evidence for gene-by-environment interactions, a
likely primary contributor of inter-individual variation.

Teaching

Responsible for a few courses at the Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis MSc programme of the University of Edinburgh http://qgen.bio.ed.ac.uk/

Highlighted research outputs

View all (139) »

Research activities & awards

  1. Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment GWAS

    Activity: External academic engagementInvited talk

  2. Urate-obesity relationship: a genetic perspective

    Activity: External academic engagementInvited talk

  3. Retinal Detachment Genetics

    Activity: External academic engagementInvited talk

View all (3) »

ID: 2949691