UCL Division of Biosciences


UGI Seminar Series - Dr Alicia Martin, Broad Institute

15 July 2020, 4:00 pm–5:00 pm

Dr Alicia Martin

Title: 'Polygenic risk scores for the world: current applications, limitations, and promise'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Lucy van Dorp



Genetics provides two major opportunities for understanding human disease—as a transformative line of etiological inquiry and as a biomarker for heritable diseases. I will discuss the fundamental concepts for calculating and interpreting polygenic risk scores. In addition, I will examine current limitations and common misunderstandings, examples of existing and ongoing research applications, major obstacles to clinical applications, and future directions needed to overcome these obstacles, with special attention to the impact of vast Eurocentric genetic study biases on the utility of these scores. Lastly, I will provide guidelines for evaluating the utility and rigor of genetic prediction studies.

About the Speaker

Dr Alicia Martin

Instructor in Investigation at Broad Institute

I am an Instructor in Investigation at the Analytic & Translational Genetics Unit in Massachusetts General Hospital as well as the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute. As a population and statistical geneticist, my research investigates how human history shapes global genetic and phenotypic diversity, and the role these forces play in predisposing people to various complex disease risks and evolutionarily important traits. I am also particularly interested in statistical approaches and increasingly diverse studies to reduce health disparities induced by vast Eurocentric genetic study biases.

More about Dr Alicia Martin