Dr. Lindsay Farrer is a medical geneticist at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health where he is Chief of Biomedical Genetics and a Professor of Medicine, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Genetics & Genomics, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics. Dr. Farrer is a graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, received his Ph.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and gained additional training in genetic epidemiology at Yale University. He holds adjunct faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts. He is a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. Dr. Farrer teaches several courses in human genetics and genetic epidemiology at Boston University, directs Boston University’s Molecular Genetics Core Facility which offers DNA genotyping and sequencing services to investigators at the Boston Medical Center, and provides genetic counseling and testing to patients with a variety of inherited conditions.
Dr. Farrer’s research has lead to more than 300 publications on genetic risk factors for several familial neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases. In collaboration with other laboratories worldwide, his group has localized genes causing a variety of rare and common disorders including Alzheimer disease (AD), Wilson disease, Machado-Joseph disease, Waardenburg syndrome, hypertension, sensorineural deafness, and osteoarthritis. His group identified a functional genetic variant in the complement factor H gene which accounts for more than 30% of the attributable risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of progressive vision loss and blindness in the elderly. In collaboration with other researchers, Dr. Farrer is conducting genome wide association studies (GWAS) for several disorders including AD, substance dependence (cocaine, opiates, nicotine and alcohol), AMD and vasculitis. Dr. Farrer’s team is also developing methods for locating genes that influence the natural history of complex diseases and pharmacogenetic response.
Under Dr. Farrer’s leadership, the MIRAGE Project, a multi-center study of AD funded since 1991 by the National Institute on Aging, has made several important contributions to our understanding of the interactions between genetic and environmental factors for the disorder. This study has a particular emphasis on the genetics of AD in African Americans. Thus far, detailed family histories, risk factor data, and DNA specimens from more than 2,500 AD families have been collected as a part of this program. MIRAGE was the first study to demonstrate that genetic factors have a major role in the development of AD and that APOE e4 is more weakly associated with disease in men and persons older than 75 years. Dr. Farrer co-directed the international effort which demonstrated that SORL1 is genetically and functionally associated with AD, thus implicating intracellular protein trafficking as integral pathway in AD. His laboratory conducted genome wide association studies (GWAS) for AD in several populations including African Americans and an inbred Israeli-Arab community. Dr. Farrer serves on the Executive Committee of the national Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium and co-directs the data analysis effort for this large NIH-funded project. He and his colleagues recently discovered four new Alzheimer genes in the largest GWAS of AD to date.
- Section Chief, Biomedical Genetics, Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
- Boston University Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Biomedical Genetics, Medicine, Boston University School of Medicine
- Professor, Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine
- Professor, Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine
- Professor, Biostatistics, Boston University School of Public Health
- Professor, Epidemiology, Boston University School of Public Health
- Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students), Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences
- Member, Bioinformatics Graduate Program, Boston University
- Indiana University School of Medicine, PhD
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA
- Published on 1/3/2019
Zhang X, Zhu C, Beecham G, Vardarajan BN, Ma Y, Lancour D, Farrell JJ, Chung J, Mayeux R, Haines JL, Schellenberg GD, Pericak-Vance MA, Lunetta KL, Farrer LA. A rare missense variant of CASP7 is associated with familial late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Dement. 2019 Jan 03. PMID: 30503768.
- Published on 12/5/2018
Rajabli F, Feliciano BE, Celis K, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Whitehead PL, Adams LD, Bussies PL, Manrique CP, Rodriguez A, Rodriguez V, Starks T, Byfield GE, Sierra Lopez CB, McCauley JL, Acosta H, Chinea A, Kunkle BW, Reitz C, Farrer LA, Schellenberg GD, Vardarajan BN, Vance JM, Cuccaro ML, Martin ER, Haines JL, Byrd GS, Beecham GW, Pericak-Vance MA. Ancestral origin of ApoE e4 Alzheimer disease risk in Puerto Rican and African American populations. PLoS Genet. 2018 Dec; 14(12):e1007791. PMID: 30517106.
- Published on 11/26/2018
Walters RK, Polimanti R, Johnson EC, McClintick JN, Adams MJ, Adkins AE, Aliev F, Bacanu SA, Batzler A, Bertelsen S, Biernacka JM, Bigdeli TB, Chen LS, Clarke TK, Chou YL, Degenhardt F, Docherty AR, Edwards AC, Fontanillas P, Foo JC, Fox L, Frank J, Giegling I, Gordon S, Hack LM, Hartmann AM, Hartz SM, Heilmann-Heimbach S, Herms S, Hodgkinson C, Hoffmann P, Jan Hottenga J, Kennedy MA, Alanne-Kinnunen M, Konte B, Lahti J, Lahti-Pulkkinen M, Lai D, Ligthart L, Loukola A, Maher BS, Mbarek H, McIntosh AM, McQueen MB, Meyers JL, Milaneschi Y, Palviainen T, Pearson JF, Peterson RE, Ripatti S, Ryu E, Saccone NL, Salvatore JE, Sanchez-Roige S, Schwandt M, Sherva R, Streit F, Strohmaier J, Thomas N, Wang JC, Webb BT, Wedow R, Wetherill L, Wills AG, Boardman JD, Chen D, Choi DS, Copeland WE, Culverhouse RC, Dahmen N, Degenhardt L, Domingue BW, Elson SL, Frye MA, Gäbel W, Hayward C, Ising M, Keyes M, Kiefer F, Kramer J, Kuperman S, Lucae S, Lynskey MT, Maier W, Mann K, Männistö S, Müller-Myhsok B, Murray AD, Nurnberger JI, Palotie A, Preuss U, Räikkönen K, Reynolds MD, Ridinger M, Scherbaum N, Schuckit MA, Soyka M, Treutlein J, Witt S, Wodarz N, Zill P, Adkins DE, Boden JM, Boomsma DI, Bierut LJ, Brown SA, Bucholz KK, Cichon S, Costello EJ, de Wit H, Diazgranados N, Dick DM, Eriksson JG, Farrer LA, Foroud TM, Gillespie NA, Goate AM, Goldman D, Grucza RA, Hancock DB, Harris KM, Heath AC, Hesselbrock V, Hewitt JK, Hopfer CJ, Horwood J, Iacono W, Johnson EO, Kaprio JA, Karpyak VM, Kendler KS, Kranzler HR, Krauter K, Lichtenstein P, Lind PA, McGue M, MacKillop J, Madden PAF, Maes HH, Magnusson P, Martin NG, Medland SE, Montgomery GW, Nelson EC, Nöthen MM, Palmer AA, Pedersen NL, Penninx BWJH, Porjesz B, Rice JP, Rietschel M, Riley BP, Rose R, Rujescu D, Shen PH, Silberg J, Stallings MC, Tarter RE, Vanyukov MM, Vrieze S, Wall TL, Whitfield JB, Zhao H, Neale BM, Gelernter J, Edenberg HJ, Agrawal A. Transancestral GWAS of alcohol dependence reveals common genetic underpinnings with psychiatric disorders. Nat Neurosci. 2018 Dec; 21(12):1656-1669. PMID: 30482948.
- Published on 11/21/2018
Beecham GW, Vardarajan B, Blue E, Bush W, Jaworski J, Barral S, DeStefano A, Hamilton-Nelson K, Kunkle B, Martin ER, Naj A, Rajabli F, Reitz C, Thornton T, van Duijn C, Goate A, Seshadri S, Farrer LA, Boerwinkle E, Schellenberg G, Haines JL, Wijsman E, Mayeux R, Pericak-Vance MA. Rare genetic variation implicated in non-Hispanic white families with Alzheimer disease. Neurol Genet. 2018 Dec; 4(6):e286. PMID: 30569016.
- Published on 11/9/2018
Broce IJ, Tan CH, Fan CC, Jansen I, Savage JE, Witoelar A, Wen N, Hess CP, Dillon WP, Glastonbury CM, Glymour M, Yokoyama JS, Elahi FM, Rabinovici GD, Miller BL, Mormino EC, Sperling RA, Bennett DA, McEvoy LK, Brewer JB, Feldman HH, Hyman BT, Pericak-Vance M, Haines JL, Farrer LA, Mayeux R, Schellenberg GD, Yaffe K, Sugrue LP, Dale AM, Posthuma D, Andreassen OA, Karch CM, Desikan RS. Dissecting the genetic relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and Alzheimer's disease. Acta Neuropathol. 2018 Nov 09. PMID: 30413934.
- Published on 11/4/2018
Cherry JD, Mez J, Crary JF, Tripodis Y, Alvarez VE, Mahar I, Huber BR, Alosco ML, Nicks R, Abdolmohammadi B, Kiernan PT, Evers L, Svirsky S, Babcock K, Gardner HM, Meng G, Nowinski CJ, Martin BM, Dwyer B, Kowall NW, Cantu RC, Goldstein LE, Katz DI, Stern RA, Farrer LA, McKee AC, Stein TD. Variation in TMEM106B in chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2018 Nov 04; 6(1):115. PMID: 30390709.
- Published on 10/25/2018
Smith AH, Ovesen PL, Skeldal S, Yeo S, Jensen KP, Olsen D, Diazgranados N, Zhao H, Farrer LA, Goldman D, Glerup S, Kranzler HR, Nykjaer A, Gelernter J. Risk Locus Identification Ties Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms to SORCS2. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2018 Dec; 42(12):2337-2348. PMID: 30252935.
- Published on 10/4/2018
Zhou H, Cheng Z, Bass N, Krystal JH, Farrer LA, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J. Genome-wide association study identifies glutamate ionotropic receptor GRIA4 as a risk gene for comorbid nicotine dependence and major depression. Transl Psychiatry. 2018 Oct 04; 8(1):208. PMID: 30287806.
- Published on 9/17/2018
Cox JW, Patel D, Chung J, Zhu C, Lent S, Fisher V, Pitsillides A, Farrer L, Zhang X. An efficient analytic approach in genome-wide identification of methylation quantitative trait loci response to fenofibrate treatment. BMC Proc. 2018; 12(Suppl 9):44. PMID: 30275893.
- Published on 8/27/2018
Logue MW, Lancour D, Farrell J, Simkina I, Fallin MD, Lunetta KL, Farrer LA. Targeted Sequencing of Alzheimer Disease Genes in African Americans Implicates Novel Risk Variants. Front Neurosci. 2018; 12:592. PMID: 30210277.
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