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UC Irvine psychiatric researcher Theo van Erp is involved in global brain data analysis effort funded by NIH

A UC Irvine psychiatric researcher is playing a key role in a global initiative to analyze data acquired from the human brain.

Theo van Erp, assistant professor of psychiatry & human behavior, is co-chair of the schizophrenia working group for the Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics Through Meta-Analysis project.

On Oct. 9, ENIGMA received an $11 million Big Data to Knowledge grant from the National Institutes of Health. Started in 2009, ENIGMA unites brain researchers in 33 countries to discover factors that affect the brain. Its objective is to pool the vast amounts of brain scan data – too large for one scientist to analyze alone – and screen them to identify genes or medication that influence neurodegenerative and severe mental illnesses.

The ENIGMA schizophrenia working group will analyze brain structure and connectivity data, along with DNA, from more than 4,500 individuals collected by 19 schizophrenia research groups worldwide. Van Erp will receive $200,000 over four years to help lead this team science analysis effort.