Flint group members

Cai Na

Cai Na

DPhil student in Clinical Medicine


Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Roosevelt Dr.
Oxford, OX3 7BN


Research summary

1. Molecular markers of stress

My research mainly focuses on the detection and characterization of molecular markers of 'perceived stress' in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and telomeric DNA using large-scale, whole-genome next generation sequencing data in both humans and mice. In particular I am interested in how changes in mtDNA and telomere length may provide a link between stress, metabolism and behaviour.

2. Genetics of Major Depression

I am part of the China, Oxford and VCU Experimental Research on Genetic Epidemiology (CONVERGE Consortium) study of Major Depression and working on calling genetic variants from low-coverage (1x) whole-genome next-generation sequencing data of the subjects and performing genome-wide association analysis on the imputed dosages at common variant sites with disease status and subtypes using a mixed-model that controls for genetic relatedness and population structure.

3. Genetics of complex traits

I also worked on the calling of variants from ultra low-coverage (0.1x) whole-genome next-generation sequencing data of 2073 commercially available outbred mice from Charles Rivers Laboratory which had gone through a systematic phenotyping pipeline for biochemical, physiological and behavioural traits, many of which are considered 'complex' due to their genetic architecture and substantial variance that cannot be attributed to genetic factors. I am currently analysing the genetic correlation between these complex traits and how that relates to their phenotypic correlations and shared quantitative trait loci (QTLs) mapped in genetic association analyses.