Our approach

We have developed a highly novel and unique ‘molecular landscape building approach’ that is hypothesis free. We apply gene-enrichment  and protein-protein interaction tools,  and literature analyses to the top-list findings from several types of genetic studies. These studies include genome-wide association studies (GWAS), candidate gene association studies, (genome-wide) sequencing studies, copy-number variation (CNV) studies, gene expression studies, and studies on (genetic) animal models. Thus far, we have successfully applied our approach to the neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders dyslexia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), motor coordination problems, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) (1-5), schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have also applied the same approach to a number of other complex non-neurological disorders, such as congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) and cleft lip/palate (CLP). The built landscapes represent the underlying core biological process(es) for a given disorder and, importantly, they are clearly more comprehensive than the currently available, hypothesis-driven landscapes (e.g. a substantially higher number of components are present in our detailed landscapes).

Publications cited

1. Geert Poelmans. Genes and protein networks for neurodevelopmental disorders. PhD thesis, defended and awarded cum laude at the Radboud University Nijmegen on 1 November 2011.
2. Poelmans, G., Buitelaar, J.K., Pauls, D.L., Franke, B. A theoretical molecular network for dyslexia: integrating available genetic findings. Mol. Psychiatry 16, 365-382 (2011).
3. Poelmans, G., Pauls, D.L., Buitelaar, J.K., Franke, B. Integrated genome-wide association study findings: identification of a neurodevelopmental network for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Am. J. Psychiatry 168, 365-377 (2011).
4. Fliers, E.A. , Vasquez, A.A. , Poelmans, G. et al. Genome-wide association study of motor coordination problems in ADHD identifies genes for brain and muscle function.  World J. Biol. Psychiatry 13, 211-222 (2012).
5. Poelmans, G., Franke, B., Pauls, D.L., Glennon, J.C., Buitelaar, J.K. AKAPs integrate genetic findings for autism spectrum disorders Translational Psychiatry 3, e270; doi:10.1038/tp.2013.48 (2013).