Lindsay A. Farrer, PhD

Professor, Medicine

Lindsay Farrer
617.638.5393
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)

Biography

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.

Other Positions

  • 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, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences
  • Member, Bioinformatics Graduate Program, Boston University

Education

  • Indiana University School of Medicine, PhD
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA

Publications

  • Published on 6/22/2018

    Anttila V, Bulik-Sullivan B, Finucane HK, Walters RK, Bras J, Duncan L, Escott-Price V, Falcone GJ, Gormley P, Malik R, Patsopoulos NA, Ripke S, Wei Z, Yu D, Lee PH, Turley P, Grenier-Boley B, Chouraki V, Kamatani Y, Berr C, Letenneur L, Hannequin D, Amouyel P, Boland A, Deleuze JF, Duron E, Vardarajan BN, Reitz C, Goate AM, Huentelman MJ, Kamboh MI, Larson EB, Rogaeva E, St George-Hyslop P, Hakonarson H, Kukull WA, Farrer LA, Barnes LL, Beach TG, Demirci FY, Head E, Hulette CM, Jicha GA, Kauwe JSK, Kaye JA, Leverenz JB, Levey AI, Lieberman AP, Pankratz VS, Poon WW, Quinn JF, Saykin AJ, Schneider LS, Smith AG, Sonnen JA, Stern RA, Van Deerlin VM, Van Eldik LJ, Harold D, Russo G, Rubinsztein DC, Bayer A, Tsolaki M, Proitsi P, Fox NC, Hampel H, Owen MJ, Mead S, Passmore P, Morgan K, Nöthen MM, Rossor M, Lupton MK, Hoffmann P, Kornhuber J, Lawlor B, McQuillin A, Al-Chalabi A, Bis JC, Ruiz A, Boada M, Seshadri S, Beiser A, Rice K, van der Lee SJ, De Jager PL, Geschwind DH, Riemenschneider M, Riedel-Heller S, Rotter JI, Ransmayr G, Hyman BT, Cruchaga C, Alegret M, Winsvold B, Palta P, Farh KH, Cuenca-Leon E, Furlotte N, Kurth T, Ligthart L, Terwindt GM, Freilinger T, Ran C, Gordon SD, Borck G, Adams HHH, Lehtimäki T, Wedenoja J, Buring JE, Schürks M, Hrafnsdottir M, Hottenga JJ, Penninx B, Artto V, Kaunisto M, Vepsäläinen S, Martin NG, Montgomery GW, Kurki MI, Hämäläinen E, Huang H, Huang J, Sandor C, Webber C, Muller-Myhsok B, Schreiber S, Salomaa V, Loehrer E, Göbel H, Macaya A, Pozo-Rosich P, Hansen T, Werge T, Kaprio J, Metspalu A, Kubisch C, Ferrari MD, Belin AC, van den Maagdenberg AMJM, Zwart JA, Boomsma D, Eriksson N, Olesen J, Chasman DI, Nyholt DR, Avbersek A, Baum L, Berkovic S, Bradfield J, Buono R, Catarino CB, Cossette P, De Jonghe P, Depondt C, Dlugos D, Ferraro TN, French J, Hjalgrim H, Jamnadas-Khoda J, Kälviäinen R, Kunz WS, Lerche H, Leu C, Lindhout D, Lo W, Lowenstein D, McCormack M, Møller RS, Molloy A, Ng PW, Oliver K, Privitera M, Radtke R, Ruppert AK, Sander T, Schachter S, Schankin C, Scheffer I, Schoch S, Sisodiya SM, Smith P, Sperling M, Striano P, Surges R, Thomas GN, Visscher F, Whelan CD, Zara F, Heinzen EL, Marson A, Becker F, Stroink H, Zimprich F, Gasser T, Gibbs R, Heutink P, Martinez M, Morris HR, Sharma M, Ryten M, Mok KY, Pulit S, Bevan S, Holliday E, Attia J, Battey T, Boncoraglio G, Thijs V, Chen WM, Mitchell B, Rothwell P, Sharma P, Sudlow C, Vicente A, Markus H, Kourkoulis C, Pera J, Raffeld M, Silliman S, Boraska Perica V, Thornton LM, Huckins LM, William Rayner N, Lewis CM, Gratacos M, Rybakowski F, Keski-Rahkonen A, Raevuori A, Hudson JI, Reichborn-Kjennerud T, Monteleone P, Karwautz A, Mannik K, Baker JH, O'Toole JK, Trace SE, Davis OSP, Helder SG, Ehrlich S, Herpertz-Dahlmann B, Danner UN, van Elburg AA, Clementi M, Forzan M, Docampo E, Lissowska J, Hauser J, Tortorella A, Maj M, Gonidakis F, Tziouvas K, Papezova H, Yilmaz Z, Wagner G, Cohen-Woods S, Herms S, Julià A, Rabionet R, Dick DM, Ripatti S, Andreassen OA, Espeseth T, Lundervold AJ, Steen VM, Pinto D, Scherer SW, Aschauer H, Schosser A, Alfredsson L, Padyukov L, Halmi KA, Mitchell J, Strober M, Bergen AW, Kaye W, Szatkiewicz JP, Cormand B, Ramos-Quiroga JA, Sánchez-Mora C, Ribasés M, Casas M, Hervas A, Arranz MJ, Haavik J, Zayats T, Johansson S, Williams N, Dempfle A, Rothenberger A, Kuntsi J, Oades RD, Banaschewski T, Franke B, Buitelaar JK, Arias Vasquez A, Doyle AE, Reif A, Lesch KP, Freitag C, Rivero O, Palmason H, Romanos M, Langley K, Rietschel M, Witt SH, Dalsgaard S, Børglum AD, Waldman I, Wilmot B, Molly N, Bau CHD, Crosbie J, Schachar R, Loo SK, McGough JJ, Grevet EH, Medland SE, Robinson E, Weiss LA, Bacchelli E, Bailey A, Bal V, Battaglia A, Betancur C, Bolton P, Cantor R, Celestino-Soper P, Dawson G, De Rubeis S, Duque F, Green A, Klauck SM, Leboyer M, Levitt P, Maestrini E, Mane S, De-Luca DM, Parr J, Regan R, Reichenberg A, Sandin S, Vorstman J, Wassink T, Wijsman E, Cook E, Santangelo S, Delorme R, et al. Analysis of shared heritability in common disorders of the brain. Science. 2018 06 22; 360(6395). PMID: 29930110.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 6/6/2018

    Montalvo-Ortiz JL, Zhou H, D'Andrea I, Maroteaux L, Lori A, Smith A, Ressler KJ, Nuñez YZ, Farrer LA, Zhao H, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J. Translational studies support a role for serotonin 2B receptor (HTR2B) gene in aggression-related cannabis response. Mol Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 06. PMID: 29875475.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/23/2018

    Lancour D, Naj A, Mayeux R, Haines JL, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD, Crovella M, Farrer LA, Kasif S. One for all and all for One: Improving replication of genetic studies through network diffusion. PLoS Genet. 2018 04; 14(4):e1007306. PMID: 29684019.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/19/2018

    Qamar S, Wang G, Randle SJ, Ruggeri FS, Varela JA, Lin JQ, Phillips EC, Miyashita A, Williams D, Ströhl F, Meadows W, Ferry R, Dardov VJ, Tartaglia GG, Farrer LA, Kaminski Schierle GS, Kaminski CF, Holt CE, Fraser PE, Schmitt-Ulms G, Klenerman D, Knowles T, Vendruscolo M, St George-Hyslop P. FUS Phase Separation Is Modulated by a Molecular Chaperone and Methylation of Arginine Cation-p Interactions. Cell. 2018 Apr 19; 173(3):720-734.e15. PMID: 29677515.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/13/2018

    Vardarajan BN, Barral S, Jaworski J, Beecham GW, Blue E, Tosto G, Reyes-Dumeyer D, Medrano M, Lantigua R, Naj A, Thornton T, DeStefano A, Martin E, Wang LS, Brown L, Bush W, van Duijn C, Goate A, Farrer L, Haines JL, Boerwinkle E, Schellenberg G, Wijsman E, Pericak-Vance MA, Mayeux R, Wang LS. Whole genome sequencing of Caribbean Hispanic families with late-onset Alzheimer's disease. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2018 Apr; 5(4):406-417. PMID: 29688227.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/7/2018

    Ikezu T, Chen C, DeLeo AM, Zeldich E, Fallin MD, Kanaan NM, Lunetta KL, Abraham CR, Logue MW, Farrer LA. Tau Phosphorylation is Impacted by Rare AKAP9 Mutations Associated with Alzheimer Disease in African Americans. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2018 Jun; 13(2):254-264. PMID: 29516269.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/27/2018

    Blue EE, Bis JC, Dorschner MO, Tsuang DW, Barral SM, Beecham G, Below JE, Bush WS, Butkiewicz M, Cruchaga C, DeStefano A, Farrer LA, Goate A, Haines J, Jaworski J, Jun G, Kunkle B, Kuzma A, Lee JJ, Lunetta KL, Ma Y, Martin E, Naj A, Nato AQ, Navas P, Nguyen H, Reitz C, Reyes D, Salerno W, Schellenberg GD, Seshadri S, Sohi H, Thornton TA, Valadares O, van Duijn C, Vardarajan BN, Wang LS, Boerwinkle E, Dupuis J, Pericak-Vance MA, Mayeux R, Wijsman EM. Genetic Variation in Genes Underlying Diverse Dementias May Explain a Small Proportion of Cases in the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2018; 45(1-2):1-17. PMID: 29486463.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/20/2018

    Chung J, Zhang X, Allen M, Wang X, Ma Y, Beecham G, Montine TJ, Younkin SG, Dickson DW, Golde TE, Price ND, Ertekin-Taner N, Lunetta KL, Mez J, Mayeux R, Haines JL, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg G, Jun GR, Farrer LA. Genome-wide pleiotropy analysis of neuropathological traits related to Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2018 Feb 20; 10(1):22. PMID: 29458411.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/11/2018

    Cheng Z, Zhou H, Sherva R, Farrer LA, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J. Genome-wide Association Study Identifies a Regulatory Variant of RGMA Associated With Opioid Dependence in European Americans. Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jan 11. PMID: 29478698.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 12/20/2017

    Chung J, Wang X, Maruyama T, Ma Y, Zhang X, Mez J, Sherva R, Takeyama H, Lunetta KL, Farrer LA, Jun GR. Genome-wide association study of Alzheimer's disease endophenotypes at prediagnosis stages. Alzheimers Dement. 2018 May; 14(5):623-633. PMID: 29274321.

    Read at: PubMed

View 422 more publications: View full profile at BUMC

View all profiles