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 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.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 9/25/2018

    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 Sep 25. PMID: 30252935.

    Read at: PubMed
  • 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.

    Read at: PubMed
  • 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.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/19/2018

    Minica CC, Verweij KJH, van der Most PJ, Mbarek H, Bernard M, van Eijk KR, Lind PA, Liu MZ, Maciejewski DF, Palviainen T, Sánchez-Mora C, Sherva R, Taylor M, Walters RK, Abdellaoui A, Bigdeli TB, Branje SJT, Brown SA, Casas M, Corley RP, Davey-Smith G, Davies GE, Ehli EA, Farrer L, Fedko IO, Garcia-Martínez I, Gordon SD, Hartman CA, Heath AC, Hickie IB, Hickman M, Hopfer CJ, Hottenga JJ, Kahn RS, Kaprio J, Korhonen T, Kranzler HR, Krauter K, van Lier PAC, Madden PAF, Medland SE, Neale MC, Meeus WHJ, Montgomery GW, Nolte IM, Oldehinkel AJ, Pausova Z, Ramos-Quiroga JA, Richarte V, Rose RJ, Shin J, Stallings MC, Wall TL, Ware JJ, Wright MJ, Zhao H, Koot HM, Paus T, Hewitt JK, Ribasés M, Loukola A, Boks MP, Snieder H, Munafò MR, Gelernter J, Boomsma DI, Martin NG, Gillespie NA, Vink JM, Derks EM. Genome-wide association meta-analysis of age at first cannabis use. Addiction. 2018 Nov; 113(11):2073-2086. PMID: 30003630.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/14/2018

    Bis JC, Jian X, Kunkle BW, Chen Y, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Bush WS, Salerno WJ, Lancour D, Ma Y, Renton AE, Marcora E, Farrell JJ, Zhao Y, Qu L, Ahmad S, Amin N, Amouyel P, Beecham GW, Below JE, Campion D, Charbonnier C, Chung J, Crane PK, Cruchaga C, Cupples LA, Dartigues JF, Debette S, Deleuze JF, Fulton L, Gabriel SB, Genin E, Gibbs RA, Goate A, Grenier-Boley B, Gupta N, Haines JL, Havulinna AS, Helisalmi S, Hiltunen M, Howrigan DP, Ikram MA, Kaprio J, Konrad J, Kuzma A, Lander ES, Lathrop M, Lehtimäki T, Lin H, Mattila K, Mayeux R, Muzny DM, Nasser W, Neale B, Nho K, Nicolas G, Patel D, Pericak-Vance MA, Perola M, Psaty BM, Quenez O, Rajabli F, Redon R, Reitz C, Remes AM, Salomaa V, Sarnowski C, Schmidt H, Schmidt M, Schmidt R, Soininen H, Thornton TA, Tosto G, Tzourio C, van der Lee SJ, van Duijn CM, Vardarajan B, Wang W, Wijsman E, Wilson RK, Witten D, Worley KC, Zhang X, Bellenguez C, Lambert JC, Kurki MI, Palotie A, Daly M, Boerwinkle E, Lunetta KL, Destefano AL, Dupuis J, Martin ER, Schellenberg GD, Seshadri S, Naj AC, Fornage M, Farrer LA. Whole exome sequencing study identifies novel rare and common Alzheimer's-Associated variants involved in immune response and transcriptional regulation. Mol Psychiatry. 2018 Aug 14. PMID: 30108311.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/9/2018

    Gusareva ES, Twizere JC, Sleegers K, Dourlen P, Abisambra JF, Meier S, Cloyd R, Weiss B, Dermaut B, Bessonov K, van der Lee SJ, Carrasquillo MM, Katsumata Y, Cherkaoui M, Asselbergh B, Ikram MA, Mayeux R, Farrer LA, Haines JL, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GD, Sims R, Williams J, Amouyel P, van Duijn CM, Ertekin-Taner N, Van Broeckhoven C, Dequiedt F, Fardo DW, Lambert JC, Van Steen K. Male-specific epistasis between WWC1 and TLN2 genes is associated with Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2018 Aug 09. PMID: 30201328.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/1/2018

    Zhang H, Zhou H, Lencz T, Farrer LA, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J. Genome-wide association study of cognitive flexibility assessed by the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 2018 Jul; 177(5):511-519. PMID: 30134085.

    Read at: PubMed
  • 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.

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  • 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.

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