Assessing Bipolar Disorder through Affymetrix Genotyping of Patient-Derived Fibroblasts and iPS Cells

Mentors: Howie Rafal and Mike daSilva

Although it is believed that bipolar disorder is mainly caused by genetic factors, those factors are still poorly understood.  Irma and her mentors sought to observe genetic changes in cells isolated from bipolar patients from a family who has had the disorder through several generations.  Using genotyping arrays, Irma analyzed the DNA of both fibroblasts and iPS cells (induced pluripotent cells) from two unaffected parents, two affected sons, and one unaffected daughter in this family. 

Irma focused her analysis on key sites in the DNA that had been identified in previous Genome-Wide Association Studies, to see if any of these regions correlate with bipolar disorder in the family.  Irma discovered two regions of particular interest, at which the two affected sons had the same sequence of DNA at this region, but the unaffected daughter had a different sequence.  Further research could extend Irma’s findings that these regions may be part of the cause of bipolar disorder in this family.

Presentation >



Irma, a senior at Brockton High School, compared DNA samples from family members affected by bipolar disorder to samples from their unaffected relatives.


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