We are thrilled to share a significant update for our work package (WP5), which is dedicated to omics characterization in deeply phenotyped longitudinal cohorts. Our teams led by Prof. Sylvane Desrivieres at King’s College London (KCL), and Prof. Markus Nöthen at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB) are now currently working on the quality control (QC) of genome-wide methylation and genotyping, as well as RNA-sequencing data.

As we move forward into this next stage, we would like to acknowledge the significant efforts of the teams at King’s College London and Life & Brain (L&B) in Bonn, Germany. Their hard work and dedication have played a crucial role in reaching this milestone. We express our gratitude to both teams for their contributions.

The initial phase involved the team at KCL sorting and shipping over 7,000 blood samples from London to L&B in Germany, collected as part of the IMAGEN, STRATIFY, and ESTRA cohorts. The complexity of handling these samples, which had to be kept at sub-zero temperatures throughout the entire process, required meticulous planning and organization. It took a period of more than a month to ensure an efficient shipment process and successful handling of samples under such specific conditions. The collaboration between KCL and L&B was instrumental in the smooth execution of this phase.

Following the successful transfer, the group at Life & Brain, led by Dr. Per Hoffmann, took on the responsibility of processing these samples with unparalleled dedication. A large team worked diligently to extract over 2,800 DNA and 4,500 RNA samples. After the extraction, each sample underwent quantification and at least one dilution, adding to the time-consuming nature of this task. Following these steps, SNP-genotypes as well as epigenetic and RNA sequencing data were obtained. The acquired data was subsequently shared between the working sites. This substantial effort required nearly a year of sustained effort, highlighting the commitment and expertise of the entire L&B team.

The collaborative efforts of the teams at KCL, UKB and L&B have laid a solid foundation for the project’s success. We are excited about the potential discoveries that lie ahead and are grateful for the collective expertise that continues to drive this project forward. Stay tuned for more updates as we delve deeper into the intricate world of psychiatric genetics and explore genomic and environmental determinants of mental health. As our journey continues, we are eager to share our findings with the scientific community.