Professor Peter Visscher obtained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Animal Science in 1985 from a Higher Agricultural College in the Netherlands.
Following work for the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, where he was a livestock genetics expert, he moved to Scotland to further his education. He attended the University of Edinburgh, completing a Masters degree in Animal Breeding (1988), followed by a PhD in Animal Genetics (1991).
Professor Visscher then made his first move to Australia, joining The Victorian Institute of Animal Science in Melbourne. Working with renowned quantitative geneticist Professor Mike Goddard FAA, he searched for heritable traits in Australian dairy cattle.
He subsequently returned to the University of Edinburgh, joining the Roslin Institute and working with Professor Chris Haley FRSE on marker-assisted selection and quantitative trait locus mapping methodology. In 1995 he was awarded a Faculty position at Edinburgh’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology, shifting his research from animal to human genetics, and developing a new gene-mapping method to validate susceptibility for bipolar disorder and other complex traits. In 2005 he returned to Australia, working on genome mapping at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. He was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2010.
In 2011 Professor Visscher joined UQ and QBI as a joint appointment at the Diamantina Institute. He is Chair of Quantitative Genetics at UQ, and an NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellow. He has helped establish the Brisbane Systems Genetics Study to understand genetic variation in gene expression and its correlation with individual differences in complex traits. His group at QBI works on the dissection of genetic variation underlying cognition and cognitive change and quantifying and deciphering the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders.
Professor Visscher is Co-Director (with Professor Naomi Wray) of the new Centre for Neurogenetics and Statistical Genomics (CNSG), based at QBI. This Centre aims to make new discoveries in the genetic basis of motor neuron disease, psychiatric disorders and in systems genomics, and will continue to develop new statistical methods and computational tools to answer important scientific questions in neurogenetics and genomics.