Immunogenetics of neurological disease

The overall goal of this project is to establish and refine the association of genetic polymorphism of the HLA and KIR loci with neurological disease. Currently, our large, multicenter project, undertaken in collaboration with Dr. Jorge Oksenberg (UCSF Neurology) and colleagues at Stanford University, aims to characterize the nature and extent of the association of KIR and HLA variation with multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, neuromyelitis optica, Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia, achieved via high-throughput, high-resolution HLA and KIR genotyping with next-generation sequencing methods and applied across a set of established and well-characterized cohorts of unprecedented size and diversity with respect to disease, phenotype and ethnicity. Central to immunity and critically important for human health, KIR molecules and their HLA ligands are encoded by complex genetic systems with extraordinarily high levels of sequence and structural variation and complex expression patterns. Application of modern sequencing methodologies coupled with state of the art bioinformatics and analytical approaches permits us to fully appreciate the impact of this variation across a wide range of neurological diseases.