Professor Naomi Wray

Contact Information
Building: IMB Building #80
Tel: +61 7 334 66374

Mailing Address

Institute for Molecular Bioscience
The University of Queensland
Brisbane, 4072


Lab Home Page

Short biography

Research directions

Current collaborations

Selected Publications


Short Biography

Professor Naomi Wray holds joint appointments at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) and the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) within The University of Queensland. She is a National Health and Medical Research Council Principal Research Fellow and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. She is a Board Member of the International Society for Psychiatric Genetics, and is Associate Editor for the journals JAMA Psychiatry and Genetics. Her research focusses on development of quantitative genetics and genomics methodology with application to psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Naomi Wray, Prof Peter Visscher and A/Prof Jian Yang together comprise the Executive Team of the Complex Trait Genomics Group (CTGG) funded as an NHMRC Program Grant 2017-2021. The CTGG comprises a critical mass of more than 30 post-doctoral researchers plus research assistants and students, all supported by external grant funding. CTGG is structured into five research themes: Statistical Genomics, Systems Genomics, Psychiatric Genomics, MND Genomics and Genomics of Cognitive Ageing.

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.