PhD project by Anders Ulrik Eliasen

Name: Anders Ulrik Eliasen
Project title: A Bayesian Approach to Genome-Wide Association Studies of Childhood Asthma
Group: BMEM
Supervisors: Anders Gorm Pedersen, Klaus Bønnelykke, Hans Bisgaard, Morten Arendt Rasmussen and Tarun Veer Singh Ahluwalia

Project description:
Asthma is a common inflammatory disease of the airways, involving bronchial hyper-responsiveness and reoccurring symptoms of airflow obstruction. The heredity of asthma is estimated to be between 70% and 90%, indicating that genetic factors play a major role in disease development. Despite the high heredity of asthma, only a limited number of associated genes have been verified in genome-wide association studies, and these only explain a small proportion of the disease variance observed between individuals, a phenomenon delineated as "missing heritability". It is likely, that a significant proportion of the missing heritability is caused by the combined effect of several interacting genetic variants. Solving the problem of missing heritability, therefore, requires the development and application of new statistical methods, able to detect patterns of interactions across the genome using biological knowledge concerning the nature of biomolecular networks.

We propose to develop and implement Bayesian statistical methods to perform genome-wide association studies of childhood asthma. Bayesian statistics offer a fundamentally different approach to statistical analysis, compared to frequentist statistics, where prior knowledge is integrated. In genetic association studies, the incorporation of prior knowledge facilitates the simultaneous analyses of multiple SNPs and interacting effects. The aim is to explore both hypothesis-free approaches as well as methods based on an understanding of the investigated biological systems including knowledge of biological pathways or protein-protein interaction data. A unique strength of the study is access to one of the most powerful genetic datasets on childhood asthma


Anders Ulrik Eliasen
DTU Sundhedsteknologi


Anders Gorm Pedersen
Gruppeleder, Professor
DTU Sundhedsteknologi