Dr. Anne Bassett

Canada Research Chair in Schizophrenia Genetics and Genomic Disorders, University of Toronto and Director of Clinical Genetic Research Program, CAMH

"Until we’ve mapped out the genetic underpinnings of mental illness, we won't be able to fully understand and appreciate the effects of other contributing factors”

Schizophrenia is a serious and complex brain disease affecting one in 100 people. Its development can be compared to a “symphony” of many genetic changes and chemical interactions playing out over time.

What if we could write down the different “melodic lines”, or biological mechanisms of schizophrenia? Can we then develop tools such as earlier diagnosis and prevention strategies to identify the disease before it fully forms in the brain?

Answering the fundamental questions surrounding mental illness is the overarching goal of Dr. Anne Bassett’s research at CAMH. Through sophisticated genetic studies of patient populations, Anne and her team are investigating the many biological factors of schizophrenia and the negative impact the disease itself has on a person’s brain.

Her pioneering study on a subtype of schizophrenia called 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome confirmed that about 25% of adults with this mutation will go on to develop schizophrenia. Presently, Anne is looking at a newly discovered type of genetic change called “copy number variations”, which occur in the brains of people with schizophrenia.

“Our vision is that one day genetic discoveries in schizophrenia will lead to targeted treatments of particular forms of mental illness, much how they now have targeted treatments for particular forms of cancer", explains Dr. Bassett.

Learn more about our vision for research.


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