UCalgary Biostatistics Seminar: Brad McNeney

  • Date: 09/18/2023
  • Time: 10:00
Brad McNeney, Simon Fraser University

University of Calgary


Inference of gene-environment interaction from heterogeneous case-parent trios


In genetic epidemiology, log-linear models of population risk may be used to study the effect of genotypes and exposures on the relative risk of a disease. Such models may also include gene-environment interaction terms that allow the genotypes to modify the effect of the exposure, or equivalently, the exposure to modify the effect of genotypes on the relative risk. When a measured test locus is in linkage disequilibrium with an unmeasured causal locus, exposure-related genetic structure in the population can lead to spurious gene-environment interaction; that is, to apparent gene-environment interaction at the test locus in the absence of true gene-environment interaction at the causal locus. Exposure-related genetic structure occurs when the distributions of exposures and of haplotypes at the test and causal locus both differ across population strata. A case-parent trio design can protect inference of genetic main effects from confounding bias due to genetic structure in the population. Unfortunately, when the genetic structure is exposure-related, the protection against confounding bias for the genetic main effect does not extend to the gene-environment interaction term. We show that current methods to reduce the bias in estimated gene-environment interactions from case-parent trio data can only account for simple population structure involving two strata. To fill this gap, we propose to directly accommodate multiple population strata by adjusting for genetic principal components. We evaluate our approach through simulation and illustrate it on data from a study of genetic modifiers of cleft palate.


Speaker biography: Dr. Brad McNeney is an Associate Professor of Statistics at Simon Fraser University. He has a PhD in Biostatistics from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at North Carolina State University. His research interests are in statistical methods in genetic epidemiology, with a focus on bias-reduced inference of genetic association parameters.

Other Information: 

Time: 10am Pacific

Location: Foothills Campus - G384