"Study of Major Depression in Chinese women"

1. Background

This is a major new study on the genetics of major depression in a population of women in China

The five-year project is funded by a £1.4 million grant from the Wellcome Trust.

The project is a CONVERGE collaboration, between the University of Oxford, Hua Shan Hospital at Fudan University, China, and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), USA.

(CONVERGE: China Oxford and VCU Experimental Research on Genetic Epidemiology).

See : VCU PRess Release (July 2008), Nature news (August 2011) 

The project follows on from a successful pilot project funded by the mental health research charity, NARSAD


Project Directors, Dalian project meeting, March 2010


Project Directors, Hangzhou project meeting, May 2009


Project Directors & interviewers, Shanghai project meeting, August 2008

2. Project 

Major depression is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality, as well as substantial economic costs.

We know that major depression has a genetic component. This project aims to identify specific genes that make some people more susceptible than others. There are two main stages to this project:

The project is based in Shanghai (China), at Hua Shan Hospital, Fudan University.

59 Collaborating hospitals have been identified in provinces across China.

Pictures from on-site visits

The collaborating hospitals will be responsible to recruit to the study a total of 6,000 women who have been affected by recurrent, major depression. They will also recruit a total of 6,000 age-matched controls - i.e. women who have never suffered from major depression. All 12,000 women recruited for the study will be interviewed using a detailed questionnaire developed specifically for the project.

In each participating hospital, psychiatrists have received training on interview protocol and associated quality control procedures. This was organised by trainers at the Department of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University (USA).
The questionnaire (or 'phenotype' data) will then be entered into a project database.


Project interviewers, Dalian training course, March 2010


Project interviewers, Hangzhou training course, May 2009

In the second stage of the project, DNA will be extracted from saliva samples collected from all interviewed women. Genotyping will then be carried out to establish the genetic profiles of both the women affected by depression ('cases') and those who have never suffered from depression ('controls'). For this work, we are collaborating with the Beijing

Finally, a case-control study will be conducted to identify differences in the genetic profiles of these two groups of women. This will involve comparing the phenotype and genotype data collected throughout the course of the project. The final data from the project will be made freely available to other researchers. 

3. People

Link to project people

4. Funders

The project is funded by The Wellcome Trust It follows on from a pilot project that was entirely funded by NARSAD 

5. Internal section

Link to the internal section of this site (password-protected) - for project collaborators only:

Internal section - LCCs

Internal section - PIs

6. Publication list 

7. Contact us

For further information on the project, please contact Jessie (Yihan) Li: