Cato Romero

PhD student

Contact info

  • Address

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
    Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR)
    Department of Complex Trait Genetics
    W&N building, room B-628
    De Boelelaan 1085
    1081 HV Amsterdam
    The Netherlands

  • E-mail

  • Phone

Profile image of Cato Romero

Short CV

2021 – present PhD student CTG Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam & Amsterdam UMC
2020 – 2021 Research assistant CTG Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2019 – 2021 MSc Neuroscience (cum laude) Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
2017 – 2019 Student assistant EEG-Lab Norwegian University of Science and Technology
2015 – 2018 BSc Psychology Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Research interest

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) can unravel the genetic underpinnings of psychiatric disorders, in which the statistical association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and disease status are tested in an exploratory fashion across the entire genome. Post-GWAS analyses of psychiatric disorders can further be used to characterise aspects of their genetic liability. The research that I am a part of focuses on 3 such aspects, the shared, regional and unique genetic liability, in 13 disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, anorexia nervosa, alcohol dependency, anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, depression, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia and Tourette syndrome).

Disorder that share similar genetic signal are evident from their global genetic correlations. We use these genetic correlations to see how we can best categorise certain disorders that share a lot of their genetic liability (e.g., as neurodevelopment disorders or compulsive disorders). A drawback with the genetic correlation is that it averages across the genetic signal from the whole genome. Regional correlations that are in opposite directions will dilute the global correlation. To overcome this, we apply local genetic correlations to better understand what part of the genome is driving the global genetic correlation and whether disorders that appear genetically uncorrelated actually have strong associations in opposite directions. Lastly, we want to see if we can find some genetic signal in a disorder that is not shared with any other disorders. This makes up a disorder’s unique genetic signal and highlights the genetic factors that are different between disorders.