Lindsay Farrer
Profiles

Lindsay A. Farrer, PhD

Professor, Biostatistics - Boston University School of Public Health

Biography

Dr. Lindsay Farrer is a medical geneticist at Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health where he is the Boston University Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Chief of Biomedical Genetics, and a Professor of Medicine, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics. Dr. Farrer is a graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, received his Ph.D. from the Indiana University School of Medicine, and gained additional training in genetic epidemiology at Yale University. He holds adjunct faculty positions at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Bedford, Massachusetts. He is a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. Dr. Farrer teaches several courses in human genetics and addiction science at Boston University, directs the BU Transformative Training Program in Addiction Science (TTPAS) that features transdisciplinary training for students enrolled in PhD programs across the Medical and Charles River campuses, directs Boston University’s Molecular Genetics Core Facility which offers DNA genotyping and sequencing services to investigators at Boston University and elsewhere, and provides genetic counseling and testing to patients with a variety of inherited conditions.

Dr. Farrer’s research has lead to more than 450 publications on genetic risk factors for several familial neurodegenerative and other chronic diseases. In collaboration with other laboratories worldwide, his group has localized genes causing a variety of rare and common disorders, most notably Alzheimer disease (AD), substance use disorders (SUDs), age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Wilson disease, Machado-Joseph disease, Waardenburg syndrome, hypertension, sensorineural deafness, and osteoarthritis. His group identified a functional genetic variant in the complement factor H gene which accounts for more than 30% of the attributable risk for AMD, the leading cause of progressive vision loss and blindness in the elderly. In collaboration with other researchers, Dr. Farrer is conducting genome wide association studies (GWAS) and whole genome/exome sequencing studies for several disorders including AD, SUDs (cocaine, opiates, nicotine, alcohol and cannabis), and AMD. Dr. Farrer’s team is also developing methods for locating genes that influence the natural history of complex diseases and pharmacogenetic response.

Under Dr. Farrer’s leadership, the MIRAGE Project, a multi-center study of AD funded since 1991 by the National Institute on Aging, has made several important contributions to our understanding of the interactions between genetic and environmental factors for the disorder. This study has a particular emphasis on the genetics of AD in African Americans. MIRAGE was the first study to demonstrate that genetic factors have a major role in the development of AD and that APOE e4 is more weakly associated with disease in men and persons older than 75 years. Dr. Farrer co-directed the international effort which demonstrated that SORL1 is genetically and functionally associated with AD, thus implicating intracellular protein trafficking as integral pathway in AD. His laboratory conducted genome wide association studies (GWAS) for AD in several populations including African Americans and an inbred Israeli-Arab community, and identified rare AD causal mutations in the AKAP9 gene which are specific to African Americans. Dr. Farrer serves on the Executive Committee of the national Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium and co-directs the data analysis effort for this large NIH-funded project. He is also a Principal Investigator of the national Alzheimer Disease Sequencing Project and a study to identify AD risk and protective variants in Koreans.

Other Positions

  • Professor, Epidemiology - Boston University School of Public Health
  • Boston University Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Medicine - Boston University School of Medicine
  • Section Chief, Medicine - Boston University School of Medicine
  • Professor, Medicine - Boston University School of Medicine
  • Professor, Ophthalmology - Boston University School of Medicine
  • Professor, Neurology - Boston University School of Medicine
  • Investigator - Framingham Heart Study
  • Member, Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research - Boston University
  • Member, Genome Science Institute - Boston University
  • Member, Bioinformatics Graduate Program - Boston University
  • Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students) - Boston University School of Medicine, Graduate Medical Sciences

Education

  • 1985 - Indiana University School of Medicine, PhD Field of Study: Genetics & Genomics
  • 1981 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA Field of Study: Genetics & Genomics

Publications

  • Published on 11/17/2020

    Moazzam M, Yim T, Kumaresan V, Henderson DC, Farrer LA, Zhang H. Analysis of telomere length variation and Shelterin complex subunit gene expression changes in ethanol-exposed human embryonic stem cells. J Psychiatr Res. 2020 Nov 17. PMID: 33243459.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/3/2020

    Quach BC, Bray MJ, Gaddis NC, Liu M, Palviainen T, Minica CC, Zellers S, Sherva R, Aliev F, Nothnagel M, Young KA, Marks JA, Young H, Carnes MU, Guo Y, Waldrop A, Sey NYA, Landi MT, McNeil DW, Drichel D, Farrer LA, Markunas CA, Vink JM, Hottenga JJ, Iacono WG, Kranzler HR, Saccone NL, Neale MC, Madden P, Rietschel M, Marazita ML, McGue M, Won H, Winterer G, Grucza R, Dick DM, Gelernter J, Caporaso NE, Baker TB, Boomsma DI, Kaprio J, Hokanson JE, Vrieze S, Bierut LJ, Johnson EO, Hancock DB. Expanding the genetic architecture of nicotine dependence and its shared genetics with multiple traits. Nat Commun. 2020 11 03; 11(1):5562. PMID: 33144568.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/20/2020

    Johnson EC, Demontis D, Thorgeirsson TE, Walters RK, Polimanti R, Hatoum AS, Sanchez-Roige S, Paul SE, Wendt FR, Clarke TK, Lai D, Reginsson GW, Zhou H, He J, Baranger DAA, Gudbjartsson DF, Wedow R, Adkins DE, Adkins AE, Alexander J, Bacanu SA, Bigdeli TB, Boden J, Brown SA, Bucholz KK, Bybjerg-Grauholm J, Corley RP, Degenhardt L, Dick DM, Domingue BW, Fox L, Goate AM, Gordon SD, Hack LM, Hancock DB, Hartz SM, Hickie IB, Hougaard DM, Krauter K, Lind PA, McClintick JN, McQueen MB, Meyers JL, Montgomery GW, Mors O, Mortensen PB, Nordentoft M, Pearson JF, Peterson RE, Reynolds MD, Rice JP, Runarsdottir V, Saccone NL, Sherva R, Silberg JL, Tarter RE, Tyrfingsson T, Wall TL, Webb BT, Werge T, Wetherill L, Wright MJ, Zellers S, Adams MJ, Bierut LJ, Boardman JD, Copeland WE, Farrer LA, Foroud TM, Gillespie NA, Grucza RA, Harris KM, Heath AC, Hesselbrock V, Hewitt JK, Hopfer CJ, Horwood J, Iacono WG, Johnson EO, Kendler KS, Kennedy MA, Kranzler HR, Madden PAF, Maes HH, Maher BS, Martin NG, McGue M, McIntosh AM, Medland SE, Nelson EC, Porjesz B, Riley BP, Stallings MC, Vanyukov MM, Vrieze S, Davis LK, Bogdan R, Gelernter J, Edenberg HJ, Stefansson K, Børglum AD, Agrawal A. A large-scale genome-wide association study meta-analysis of cannabis use disorder. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020 12; 7(12):1032-1045. PMID: 33096046.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/19/2020

    Kunkle BW, Schmidt M, Klein HU, Naj AC, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Larson EB, Evans DA, De Jager PL, Crane PK, Buxbaum JD, Ertekin-Taner N, Barnes LL, Fallin MD, Manly JJ, Go RCP, Obisesan TO, Kamboh MI, Bennett DA, Hall KS, Goate AM, Foroud TM, Martin ER, Wang LS, Byrd GS, Farrer LA, Haines JL, Schellenberg GD, Mayeux R, Pericak-Vance MA, Reitz C, Graff-Radford NR, Martinez I, Ayodele T, Logue MW, Cantwell LB, Jean-Francois M, Kuzma AB, Adams LD, Vance JM, Cuccaro ML, Chung J, Mez J, Lunetta KL, Jun GR, Lopez OL, Hendrie HC, Reiman EM, Kowall NW, Leverenz JB, Small SA, Levey AI, Golde TE, Saykin AJ, Starks TD, Albert MS, Hyman BT, Petersen RC, Sano M, Wisniewski T, Vassar R, Kaye JA, Henderson VW, DeCarli C, LaFerla FM, Brewer JB, Miller BL, Swerdlow RH, Van Eldik LJ, Paulson HL, Trojanowski JQ, Chui HC, Rosenberg RN, Craft S, Grabowski TJ, Asthana S, Morris JC, Strittmatter SM, Kukull WA. Novel Alzheimer Disease Risk Loci and Pathways in African American Individuals Using the African Genome Resources Panel: A Meta-analysis. JAMA Neurol. 2020 10 19. PMID: 33074286.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/2/2020

    Lancour D, Dupuis J, Mayeux R, Haines JL, Pericak-Vance MA, Schellenberg GC, Crovella M, Farrer LA, Kasif S. Analysis of brain region-specific co-expression networks reveals clustering of established and novel genes associated with Alzheimer disease. Alzheimers Res Ther. 2020 09 02; 12(1):103. PMID: 32878640.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2020

    Dumitrescu L, Mahoney ER, Mukherjee S, Lee ML, Bush WS, Engelman CD, Lu Q, Fardo DW, Trittschuh EH, Mez J, Kaczorowski C, Hernandez Saucedo H, Widaman KF, Buckley R, Properzi M, Mormino E, Yang HS, Harrison T, Hedden T, Nho K, Andrews SJ, Tommet D, Hadad N, Sanders RE, Ruderfer DM, Gifford KA, Moore AM, Cambronero F, Zhong X, Raghavan NS, Vardarajan B, Pericak-Vance MA, Farrer LA, Wang LS, Cruchaga C, Schellenberg G, Cox NJ, Haines JL, Dirk Keene C, Saykin AJ, Larson EB, Sperling RA, Mayeux R, Bennett DA, Schneider JA, Crane PK, Jefferson AL, Hohman TJ. Genetic variants and functional pathways associated with resilience to Alzheimer's disease. Brain. 2020 08 01; 143(8):2561-2575. PMID: 32844198.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 8/1/2020

    Bis JC, Jian X, Kunkle BW, Chen Y, Hamilton-Nelson KL, Bush WS, Salerno WJ, Lancour D, Ma Y, Renton AE, Marcora E, Farrell JJ, Zhao Y, Qu L, Ahmad S, Amin N, Amouyel P, Beecham GW, Below JE, Campion D, Cantwell L, Charbonnier C, Chung J, Crane PK, Cruchaga C, Cupples LA, Dartigues JF, Debette S, Deleuze JF, Fulton L, Gabriel SB, Genin E, Gibbs RA, Goate A, Grenier-Boley B, Gupta N, Haines JL, Havulinna AS, Helisalmi S, Hiltunen M, Howrigan DP, Ikram MA, Kaprio J, Konrad J, Kuzma A, Lander ES, Lathrop M, Lehtimäki T, Lin H, Mattila K, Mayeux R, Muzny DM, Nasser W, Neale B, Nho K, Nicolas G, Patel D, Pericak-Vance MA, Perola M, Psaty BM, Quenez O, Rajabli F, Redon R, Reitz C, Remes AM, Salomaa V, Sarnowski C, Schmidt H, Schmidt M, Schmidt R, Soininen H, Thornton TA, Tosto G, Tzourio C, van der Lee SJ, van Duijn CM, Valladares O, Vardarajan B, Wang LS, Wang W, Wijsman E, Wilson RK, Witten D, Worley KC, Zhang X, Bellenguez C, Lambert JC, Kurki MI, Palotie A, Daly M, Boerwinkle E, Lunetta KL, Destefano AL, Dupuis J, Martin ER, Schellenberg GD, Seshadri S, Naj AC, Fornage M, Farrer LA. Correction: Whole exome sequencing study identifies novel rare and common Alzheimer's-Associated variants involved in immune response and transcriptional regulation. Mol Psychiatry. 2020 Aug; 25(8):1901-1903. PMID: 31636380.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 7/1/2020

    Fan CC, Banks SJ, Thompson WK, Chen CH, McEvoy LK, Tan CH, Kukull W, Bennett DA, Farrer LA, Mayeux R, Schellenberg GD, Andreassen OA, Desikan R, Dale AM. Sex-dependent autosomal effects on clinical progression of Alzheimer's disease. Brain. 2020 07 01; 143(7):2272-2280. PMID: 32591829.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 6/23/2020

    Sherva R, Gross A, Mukherjee S, Koesterer R, Amouyel P, Bellenguez C, Dufouil C, Bennett DA, Chibnik L, Cruchaga C, Del-Aguila J, Farrer LA, Mayeux R, Munsie L, Winslow A, Newhouse S, Saykin AJ, Kauwe JSK, Crane PK, Green RC. Genome-wide association study of rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer's disease patients identifies novel genes and pathways. Alzheimers Dement. 2020 08; 16(8):1134-1145. PMID: 32573913.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 6/4/2020

    Lin H, Wang F, Rosato AJ, Farrer LA, Henderson DC, Zhang H. Prefrontal cortex eQTLs/mQTLs enriched in genetic variants associated with alcohol use disorder and other diseases. Epigenomics. 2020 05; 12(9):789-800. PMID: 32496132.

    Read At: PubMed

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