Education Day

Education Day is an entire day devoted to scientific sessions for early career professionals. The goal of the Education Day is to allow the next generation of researchers to learn from leaders in the field of psychiatric genetics. Education Day is Thursday, October 11, 2018. The Education Day Program is included in the World Congress registration fee. Additionally, students may purchase an “Education Day Only” pass during registration as needed.

2018 WCPG Education Day

08:00-09:45 hrs           Education Day Session 1 

‘Ordered a pharmacogenetics test or referred a pharmacogenetics case, now what?’

Chair: Dr. Heather Zierhut

09:45-10:15 hrs           Break (30mins)

10:15-13:00 hrs           Education Day Session 2 

Career advice talk & ‘Three Minute Thesis Competition’

Chair: Professor Sir Michael Owen

13:00-14:00 hrs           Lunch Break (60 mins)

14:00-15:45 hrs           Education Day Session 3

‘Emerging Technologies in Translational Psychiatry’

Chairs: Professor Jeremy Hall, Dr. Mandy Johnstone, Dr. Bhuvaneish Thangaraj Selvaraj


Session 1 Abstract: 

Title: Ordered a pharmacogenetics test or referred a pharmacogenetics case, now what?


Case 1

Case 2

Case 3

Background and Purpose:

With over 250 laboratories providing pharmacogenomics testing options and debate over inclusion of these genes on reportable secondary testing panels, pharmacogenomic testing is becoming standard of care.  Whether practicing in a psychiatry clinic, working for a laboratory providing this testing, or counseling patients on this information, increasingly psychiatric providers are involved in interpretation and utilization of pharmacogenetics test results. While most referrals and results can be handled by pharmacists or primary care providers, referral to other healthcare providers is necessary and appropriate in some cases.  In this workshop, we will address issues of scope (i.e. what are the scopes of practice for common patient care situations), what genes / disease associations are on these panels and may require genetic counseling, (results of a systematic review will be presented) and examples of cases in which genetic counselors can play an important role in follow-up of pharmacogenetic results.

The goal of this workshop is to demonstrate how providers from a variety of sub-specialties can address common pharmacogenetics cases as they arise in their practice.  To accomplish this goal, we aim to: 1) review patient care situations that could benefit from PGx testing and 2) identify genes on pharmacogenetics panels that are associated with hereditary diseases beyond the psychiatric indication for testing; 3) discuss PGx testing and interpretation; and 4) provide common examples of PGx cases. Then, attendees will break up into small groups to review case examples and participate in a role-playing activity based on the example cases. After the small group work, a panel of different providers will participate in a Q&A session to address any outstanding questions or concerns.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Recognize patient care situations that could benefit from PGx testing
  2. Identify disease associations that are secondary findings of PGx panels
  3. Review common examples of PGx cases that arise in psychiatry clinical care.


Heather Zierhut, PhD, MS: Dr. Zierhut is the Associate Program Director at the University of Minnesota genetic counseling program and experienced educator. Her research focuses on the integration of genetics into primary care and public health with a particular interest in pharmacogenetics and familial hypercholesterolemia. She has worked on numerous national collaborations on these topics and is the lead author on the first systematic literature review for disease associations on PGx panels.  She has been recognized for her contributions to the field by the National Society of Genetic Counselors as the 2009 Outstanding Volunteer and 2017 Strategy Leader.


Chad Bousman, MPH, PhD: Dr. Bousman is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Medical Genetics, Psychiatry, and Physiology & Pharmacology at the University of Calgary. He leads the Psychiatric Pharmacogenetics Laboratory, which conducts research aimed at discovery, development, and evaluation of genomic-based tools with the utility to guide clinical decision-making and improve mental health outcomes. His primary focus is on optimizing the selection and dosing as well as mitigating the risk of adverse reactions associated with drug therapies used to treat depression and schizophrenia. He is an active member of the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium and is co-leading the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, Consensus Statement on Pharmacogenetic Testing.

Session 2:

Title: Trainee Presentations  & Career Talks

Learning Objectives:

  1. Opportunity for early career researchers to present talks selected from a call for abstracts. Committee will select a maximum of 20 talks to take the format of oral presentation series.
  2. Rules of oral presentation: A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any description). No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted. No additional props (e.g. laser pointers, costumes, laboratory equipment or musical instruments) are permitted. Presentations are limited to 1 minute and 1 slide.
  3. Prizes will be available for the best presentation and a runner up.
  4. Followed by an inspirational career advice talk from world-leading psychiatric geneticist (Professor Michael Owen).

Session 3:

Title: ‘Emerging Technologies in Translational Psychiatry’

Chairs: Professor Jeremy Hall & Dr Mandy Johnstone

Background and Purpose:

As a result of recent findings from the large scale sequencing efforts such as those from the Psychiatric Genetics Consortium (PGC), the next stage of scientific endeavour involves translational bench to bedside research to determine the mechanism of action of these mutations in the brain leading to mental illness.

The goal of this workshop is to discuss the emerging technologies being used in molecular and translational psychiatry . This 1 hour and 45 minute session will be broken down to three sessions discussing emerging technologies in: 1) Next generation sequencing (NGS) 2) human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technologies for disease modelling and drug discovery (including cerebral organoid cultures) and 3) Use of CRISPR-Cas9 technologies to further study mutations in neuropsychiatric disease modelling. A panel of different providers will participate in a Q&A session to address any outstanding questions or concerns.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the practice and principles of next generation sequencing technologies including an overview of recent large scale sequencing efforts e.g. PGC, UK10K etc. This includes the very latest sequencing technologies currently being developed with discussion from R&D representative from ThermoFischer USA (Session proposed to be delivered by: Mark Federici, Associate Director, Thermo Fischer Scientific USA).
  2. Discuss examples of how iPSC disease modelling has recently been used to further our understanding of the underlying molecular basis of psychiatric disorders by modelling disease relevant mutations in a dish and their use in drug screening and discovery (Session proposed to be delivered by Dr Mandy Johnstone, University of Edinburgh).
  3. Learn about CRISPR-Cas9 technologies to correct disease associate mutations in stem cell models with recent published example to rescue a disease-relevant mutations (Session proposed to be delivered by Dr Bhuvaneish Thangaraj Selvaraj, CRISPR-Cas9 technologies development, University of Edinburgh)

Educational Workshop Chairs:

Professor Hall’s overarching interest is in the role of genetic and environmental risk factors in the development of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia, autism and related personality disorders. His work employs a translational approach to study how genetic and environmental factors enhance risk for mental illness. He is particularly interested in how identified genetic risk factors affect learning processes in the brain; abnormalities in which underlie the key symptoms seen in a range of mental health problems. Professor Hall is Director & research Theme Lead at the Neurosciences & Mental health Research Institute, University of Cardiff. Dr Johnstone’s is a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow & Consultant Psychiatrist. Her research is focused on how schizophrenia risk is conferred at a cellular level through comparative studies of neural tissue derived from individuals with and without disease-associated mutations. Her goal is to better understand the molecular pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and other neurodevelopmental disorders, using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) as in vitro models.