Using modern causal inference methods and general population data to investigate the role of inflammation in the aetiology of eating disorders (360G-Wellcome-209196_Z_17_Z)


Eating disorders are severe psychiatric conditions with typical onset in adolescence and a complex aetiology. Epidemiological studies have shown that inflammation is potentially implicated in the aetiology of several psychiatric conditions. However, although the hypothesis is plausible, robust epidemiological evidence that inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of eating disorders is largely missing. In this fellowship I will address this knowledge gap and test my hypothesis that inflammation – quantified in terms of exposure to infection, elevated markers of inflammation, and autoimmunity – constitutes an important risk factor in the pathogenesis of eating disorders via four complementary objectives; I will test whether: Prenatal and childhood infections are associated with onset of EDs; Serum markers of inflammation in childhood are associated with ED behaviours in adolescence; The association between inflammation and EDs is likely to be causal using Mendelian randomisation; Genetic risk for autoimmunity is associated with EDs. These studies will integrate the use of biological measurements and large general population samples with novel causal inference approaches for observational epidemiology. Understanding whether inflammation is causally relevant to the aetiology of eating disorders will advance our knowledge of these conditions, and may provide opportunities for new therapeutic and preventative interventions.

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Grant Details

Amount Awarded 250000
Applicant Surname Solmi
Approval Committee Basic Science Interview Committee
Award Date 2017-11-08T00:00:00+00:00
Financial Year 2017/18
Grant Programme: Title Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship
Internal ID 209196/Z/17/Z
Lead Applicant Dr Francesca Solmi
Partnership Value 250000
Planned Dates: End Date 2022-04-02T00:00:00+00:00
Planned Dates: Start Date 2018-04-02T00:00:00+00:00
Recipient Org: Country United Kingdom
Region Greater London
Sponsor(s) Prof Glyn Lewis