Professor Dale Nyholt

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Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences

Ph.D Health Sciences (Griffith University)

I am a Human Geneticist expert in the statistical analysis of common complex traits. My expertise spans statistical genetic and genomic analysis, epidemiology, bioinformatics and biostatistics.

My Statistical and Genomic Epidemiology Laboratory (SGEL) studies the role of genetics in the development and mechanism of human traits, with particular emphasis on migraine, with the specific goal of identifying genetic risk factors, understanding their biological consequences, and detecting common genetic links with other disorders, including depression, endometriosis, and epilepsy.

The identification of such causal genetic factors and how they interact with environment exposures will provide a deeper understanding of the aetiology of migraine and our ability to prevent and treat attacks, and facilitate the discovery of novel pathways and thus identify new targets for drug therapy.

SGEL also develops novel statistical bioinformatics programs used by researchers worldwide.

** Prospective PhD students ** Please check out some of our current project and research opportunities. For more information about enrolling, please visit the QUT student Gateway.

All three of my recent QUT PhD students have obtained external (one international) postdoctoral positions!

Detailed Research Excellence

I am a world leader in genetic epidemiology. I have a career total of >200 publications. Since 2012, I have published 92 papers. I have managed, designed, and/or performed analyses and supplied interpretation for all my papers.

My career Google Scholar citations are >33,000; generating a h-index of 78. Over 85% of my papers are ranked in the top 25% (Q1) of their category by the SCImago Journal Rank indicator; over 55% are ranked in the top 5%. My publications clearly demonstrate my capacity to both lead and be part of teams that produce high impact research.

I have a career total of AU$21M in competitive funding as Chief Investigator (CI); holding 16 (64%) of my 25 grants as CIA. The primary funding bodies include the ARC, European Union, NHMRC, and NIH.

I have been a Peer Review Panel member for NHMRC in 4 Grant Rounds. I have also been an NHMRC External Assessor in 14 Grant Rounds and an External Assessor for the Italian Telethon Foundation (2014), UK MRC (2014 and 2016), and Wellcome Trust (2010), US-Israel Binational Science Fdn. (2017-18), and Welsh Govt. Sêr Cymru II (2017-18) international funding bodies.

Detailed Discipline Expertise

I am a Human Geneticist expert in statistical analysis. My expertise spans statistical genetic/genomic analysis, epidemiology, bioinformatics and biostatistics. I research the role of genetic and environmental factors in disease. I also develop novel bioinformatics programs used by researchers worldwide.

In the past 10 years, I have supervised a total of 25 PhD students (9 as Primary, 6 as Co- and 10 as Mentor), 1 MSc student (as Primary), and 7 postdocs (4 as Primary and 3 as Mentor) within mathematical, biological and psychiatric departments; and I currently supervise 12 PhD students (6 as Primary, 2 as Co- and 4 as Mentor), 1 MPhil (as Primary) and mentor 2 postdocs. I have been a PhD Thesis Examiner for Australian and International universities.

My past and ongoing national and international collaborations are extensive and I have a proven track record of leadership and performing high quality impactful research.

In the past 10 years, I have reviewed over 100 manuscripts for the following 23 internationally-recognised scientific journals: Genes, Cephalalgia, Human Reproduction, American Journal of Human Genetics, Twin Research and Human Genetics, Nature Communications, Molecular Psychiatry, European Journal of Human Genetics, Bioinformatics, Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, The Lancet Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Headache, PLoS Genetics, Headache Research and Treatment, Molecular Human Reproduction, Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Human Genetics, Genetic Epidemiology, Biological Psychiatry, and Human Molecular Genetics.

Detailed Professional and Academic Standing

I am the only statistical geneticist and Australian PI on the large €6M EU project ‘Mechanisms and Treatment of Migraine and its Chronification’ (Acronym: EUROHEADPAIN), for which I directed the keystone ‘Genetic biomarkers and molecular pathways for migraine’ work package.

Since 2012 I have received: 11 conference presentation invitations (8 international; 3 keynote/plenary); 7 (2 international) conference presentation invitations selected from abstract; and 5 (2 international) invitations as Session Chair at conferences.

From May 2015 to May 2016, I was awarded a prestigious Visiting Professors Programme award by The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, to “enable outstanding foreign researchers to spend up to 3 months working in the Netherlands”.

In the past 2 years, I was invited to write reviews for premier neurological journals Cephalalgia, Curr Opin Neurol, and Nat Rev Neurol.

I have served on the Editorial Board of the International Q1 peer-reviewed journal Genes since 2010.

I am on and actively participate in numerous QUT Committees.

Detailed Interpersonal and Team Skills and Experience

As a leader of large national and international research programs, I have significant experience managing people and projects, and always to planned deadlines. I am a leading Principal Investigator (PI) in the International Headache Genetics (IHGC) and International Endometriosis (IEC), and Twinning Genetics (TGC) Consortiums.

All these roles require demonstration of my strong forward planning and advocacy skills.

Between Jan 2017 and Dec 2018, I was appointed the Molecular Medicine Program (MMP) Leader within QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation—responsible for developing and improving medical research. In Jan 2019, I was appointed the Director of Research (DoR) in QUT’s School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS). As DoR (20% time commitment), I lead the development and improvement of research opportunities and performance of the approximate 180 Academics and Researchers, 50 Adjunct Professors and 40 Visiting Fellows within SBMS.

My ability and willingness to lead was also demonstrated by my position as Chair of the QIMR Berghofer Information Technology Committee (2008-2011). My organised, collaborative and mentoring reputation is reflected in Conference Committee Membership invitations for two large national conferences and my membership of the QIMR Berghofer Mentoring Committee from 2010 until my move to QUT in Feb 2015.

Additional information

Type
International Collaboration
Reference year
2019
Details
I have, and continue to, conceive and lead large multidisciplinary collaborations; with a particular focus on migraine and co-occurring disorders. I am a founding Principal Investigator (PI) in the International Headache Genetics Consortium (IHGC) [which I currently Chair], International EndoGene Consortium (IEC), and Twinning Genetics Consortium (TGC). I am also an active member of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and major depressive disorder (MDD) Workgroup (PGC-MDD). I was the only Australian PI and statistical geneticist on the 6 million euro EU FP7 project (2014-2017) 'Mechanisms and Treatment of Migraine and its Chronification' (Acronym: EUROHEADPAIN), for which I directed the keystone 'Genetic biomarkers and molecular pathways for migraine' work package.
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2018
Details
Clarivate Analytics 2018 Highly Cited Researcher. This distinction places me amongst the world's 6,000 most highly cited researchers in the past decade. I appear in the new cross-field category which acknowledges that my publications are in multiple subject areas and are highly cited (top 1%) across a range of disciplines.
Type
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
2019
Details
Editorial Board Member for the journal 'Genes' since 16 Mar 2010.
Type
Funding Award
Reference year
2017
Details
I have a career total of AU$21M in competitive funding as Chief Investigator (CI); holding 16 (64%) of my 25 grants as CIA. The primary funding bodies include the NHMRC, European Union (EU), and NIH.
Type
Keynote Speaker/Expert Panel Member/Invited Speaker for a Conference
Reference year
2018
Details
Since 2014, I have received legitimate (non-predatory) Conference Invitations for 10 int¿l (3 keynote) and 3 nat¿l presentations, 5 (2 int¿l) Session Chairs, and 1 nat'l Committee. I have also given 6 (2 int¿l) presentations selected from abstract and published 8 invited reviews. Most recently, I am an invited speaker (all expenses paid) at the biennial Int'l Headache Congress (Sep 2019 Dublin, Ireland).
Type
Membership of Review Panels on Prestigious Grant Applications
Reference year
2017
Details
Since 2007 I have been an NHMRC Project Grant External Assessor 11 times and Peer Review Panel member 4 times.
Type
Reviewer for an Academic Journal
Reference year
2017
Details
In the past 10 years I have reviewed over 100 manuscripts for the following internationally-recognised scientific journals: Genes, Cephalalgia, Human Reproduction, American Journal of Human Genetics, Twin Research and Human Genetics, Nature Communications, Molecular Psychiatry, European Journal of Human Genetics, Bioinformatics, Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, The Lancet Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Headache, PLoS Genetics, Headache Research and Treatment, Molecular Human Reproduction, Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, Neuropsychiatric Genetics, Human Genetics, Genetic Epidemiology, Biological Psychiatry, and Human Molecular Genetics.
Type
Membership of Review Panels on Prestigious Grant Applications
Reference year
2016
Details
I have been a project grant assessor for the Italian Telethon Foundation (2014), UK MRC (2014, 2016), and Wellcome Trust (2010) international funding bodies. I was also a Wellcome Trust Fellowship Assessor in 2011.
Type
Recipient of a Nationally Competitive Research Fellowship
Reference year
2015
Details
Recipient of an NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship (Level B). Starting 1 Jan 2010, Ending 31 Dec 2015. NB, Honorary status between 1 Feb 2010 and 31 Jan 2014.
Type
Recipient of a Nationally Competitive Research Fellowship
Reference year
2014
Details
Recipient of ARC Future Fellowship (Level 1). Starting 1 Feb 2010, Ending 31 Jan 2014.
Title
Genetic biomarkers and molecular pathways for migraine
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
1075175
Start year
2014
Keywords
Migraine; Neurogenetics; Neurological Disorders; Genetic Risk Factors; Pain Mechanisms
Title
Elucidating the Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Migraine and Endometriosis via Genetic Dissection
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
613674
Start year
2010
Keywords
Migraine; Endometriosis; Genetic Epidemiology; Genetic Disease; Genetic Predisposition
Title
Identification of novel common genetic risk factors for endometriosis
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
1050208
Start year
2013
Keywords
Endometriosis; Genetic Risk Factors; Genetic Mapping; Fertility; Reproductive Health; Reproductive Disorders
Title
Development and Application of Novel Bioinformatics Approaches to Identify Pathogenetic Mechanisms Underlying Migraine
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
1091816
Start year
2015
Keywords
Brain Disorders; Bioinformatics; Migraine; Systems Biology; Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP)
Title
Clinical Trials - Genetic Variants underlying X-linked familial migraine
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
1058808
Start year
2014
Keywords
Migraine; Molecular Genetics; Genetic Analysis; Genetic Linkage; Genetic Susceptibility
  • Common disorders co-occurring with endometriosis
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Lyn Griffiths
  • Identifying and understanding the molecular mechanisms of migraine via functional interpretation of genome-wide association study (GWAS) data
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Divya Mehta
  • The relationship between migraine and blood glucose variation
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Divya Mehta
  • Identifying and characterising serum metabolites associated with migraine risk
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Professor Lyn Griffiths
  • Integration of multi-omics data in cancer
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Divya Mehta
  • The Relationship Between Migraine and Thyroid Dysfunction
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Divya Mehta
  • Utility of Machine Learning to identify novel conditional and joint genetic effects on disease risk
    MPhil, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Divya Mehta
  • Exploring the genetics of human cognition and related traits
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Adjunct Professor Nicholas Martin
  • Exploring the genetics of skin cancers
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Adjunct Associate Professor Stuart Macgregor, Adjunct Associate Professor Matthew Law