24 November 2014

A Queensland Brain Institute group leader at The University of Queensland has received an Australian Academy of Science award recognising his research in human genetics.

Dr Jian Yang

A Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) group leader at The University of Queensland (UQ) has received an Australian Academy of Science award recognising his research in human genetics.

Dr Jian Yang was awarded the 2015 Ruth Stephens Gani Medal for his contributions to solving the “missing heritability” paradox through the development and application of novel statistical genetics methods that quantified the contribution to trait variation from common genetic polymorphisms.

QBI Founding Director, Professor Perry Bartlett, applauded Dr Yang’s success.

“This accolade is one of the Australian Academy of Science’s most prestigious awards, and is a tremendous recognition of the outstanding achievements of Dr Yang,” he said.

“It's a great honour to receive this award,” Dr Yang said.

“I have been privileged to have the opportunity to work with many exceptional researchers previously at QIMR and now at UQ,” he said.

Dr Yang’s research has shown that our difference in height and whether we are more or less susceptible to common diseases than others are due to the cumulative effect of many genes.

He has developed and distributed widely-used software tools so that other researchers can apply the same statistical genetic methods to their data.

“With the rapid development of biotechnologies, biological data have been growing exponentially, which is both challenge and opportunity for computational biologists,” Dr Yang said.

Dr Yang will remain focussed on developing statistical methods and performing novel analyses of multi-omics data to understand the genetic basis of human complex traits and diseases, particularly mental disorders.

His work is aimed at identifying novel genes, functional elements, or pathways that play key roles in complex diseases, and to translate research findings into clinical practices.

The Australian Academy of Science’s Ruth Stephens Gani Medal is named after Ruth Stephens Gani (1927-1997), and is awarded to early-to-mid-career researchers.

Media: Darius Koreis, +61 7 3346 6353, d.koreis@uq.edu.au; Dr Jian Yang, +61 7 3346 6393, jian.yang@uq.edu.au.