Professor Naomi Wray

Contact Information
Building: #79
Room: 432
Tel: +61 7 334 66374

Mailing Address

Queensland Brain Institute
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, 4072


Lab Members

Lab Home Page

Short biography

Research directions

Current collaborations

Selected Publications


Short Biography

Naomi Wray is co-director of the Centre of Neurogenetics and Statistical Genomics (CNSG) within the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) of the University of Queensland. She is a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellow. Her research focusses on development of quantitative genetics and genomics methodology with application to psychiatric and neurological disorders.

CNSG comprises a critical mass of more than 20 post-doctoral researchers plus research assistants and students, all supported by external grant funding. CNSG is structured into five research themes: Complex Trait Genomics, Systems Genomics, Psychiatric Genomics, Motor Neurone Disease Genomics and Genomics of Cognitive Ageing. CNSG also hosts the QBI Bioinformatics core that provides services to the in-house sequencing facility.

Naomi’s early training was in quantitative genetics with application in livestock. She holds a BSc in Animal Science from the University of Edinburgh (1984), an MS in Animal Breeding and Statistics from Cornell (1986) and a PhD in Quantitative Genetics from the University of Edinburgh (1989). She moved to Australia in 2005 to join the Queensland Institute of Medical Research where she established and led the Psychiatric Genetics Laboratory and joined QBI in 2011. She held Australian Research Council ARC Future Fellowship (2010-2013).

Research directions

My broad interest is to understand the genetic contribution to individual differences between people. My research programme focuses on methodology in statistical and quantitative genetics (particularly associated with prediction of genetic risk) and application of new methods to genetically informative data sets of psychiatric disorders. My portfolio of current and recent grants reflects this mix of theory and application in psychiatric genetics.

Join our new study on the genetics of major depression

Recent genetic studies have made important progress in our understanding of the genetic factors underlying schizophrenia. Our analyses of genome-wide genotypes currently available for major depressive disorder (MDD) suggest that similar inroads could be made, but that much larger samples are needed. The international community is gearing up to collect 100,000 cases with MDD and DNA for genome-wide genotyping. Together with Professor Nick Martin from the Queensland Institute for Medical Research, Professor Ian Hickie of the Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney and Professor Julio Licinio of the South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute we are establishing a collection of MDD cases in Australia. The online questionnaire takes about 45 minutes to complete and asks if you are willing to provide a sample of saliva. The questions relate to all aspects of depression like sleep/wake patterns and seasonality of mood. And for those who have taken anti-depressants we ask about efficacy of specific drugs and their side-effects. Evidence from other diseases clearly shows that genetic factors underpin differences between individuals in their response to drug treatment. Understanding these differences may contribute to personalizing treatment options in the long term. To join the online recruitment click here, we need as participants both those affected and those unaffected by depression.

Current collaborations

Selected Publications 

Wray NR, Goddard ME, Visscher PM (2007) Prediction of individual genetic risk to disease from genome-wide association studies. Genome Research 17: 1520-8

Purcell SM, Wray NR, Stone JL, Visscher PM, O’Donovan MC, Sullivan PF, Sklar P. International Schizophrenia Consortium (2009) Common polygenic variation contributes to risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Nature 460: 748-752

Wray NR, Visscher PM (2010) Narrowing the boundaries of the genetic architecture of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin 36: 14-23.

Wray NR, Yang J, Goddard ME, Visscher PM (2010) The genetic interpretation of area under the ROC curve in genomic profiling. PLoS Genetics e1000864

Wray NR, Purcell SM, Visscher PM (2011): Synthetic associations created by rare variants do not explain most GWAS results. PLoS biology 9(1):e1000579

Wray NR, Pergadia ML, .., Sullivan PF (2012): Genome-wide association study of major depressive disorder: new results, meta-analysis, and lessons learned. Molecular Psychiatry 17: 36-48

Lee S.H ,DeCandia T.R, Ripke S, … Wray NR (2012) Estimating the proportion of variation in susceptibility to schizophrenia captured by common SNPs. Nature Genetics 44: 247-50.

Lee SH, Yang J, Goddard ME, Visscher PM, Wray NR (2012) Estimation of pleiotropy between complex diseases using single-nucleotide polymorphism-derived genomic relationships and restricted maximum likelihood. Bioinformatics. 28:2540-2

Gratten J, Visscher PM, Mowry BJ, Wray NR (2013) Interpreting the role of de novo protein-coding mutations in neuropsychiatric disease. Nature Genetics 45:234-8

Wray NR, Yang J, Hayes BJ, Price AL, Goddard ME, Visscher PM (2013) Pitfalls of predicting complex traits from SNPs. Nature Reviews Genetics 14 507-15

Lee SH, Ripke S, Neale B,.> 300 authors…, Sullivan PF, Smoller JW, Kendler KS, Wray NR (2013) Genetic relationship between five psychiatric disorders estimated from genome-wide SNPs. Nature Genetics. In press.



    Group Members Based at Queensland Institute of Medical Research

      Natalie Mills
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, PhD student