About the Biobank

The Individualized Medicine Biobank for Bipolar Disorder serves as a resource for the bipolar research community. This biobank is currently open to collaborations.

Researchers established a large-scale biobank of Bipolar Type I and II disorder, collecting both biologic samples and clinical data from over 2,000 individuals with this illness. This is a multi-site endeavor, with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, serving as the primary project site.

Other recruitment sites include Lindner Center of HOPE (Cincinnati, Ohio), the University of Minnesota, Clínica Alemana in Chile, Universidad de los Andes in Chile, and Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Mexico, and Mayo Clinic campuses.

In addition, the biobank is collaborating with the Mayo Health System, including Austin Medical Center and MCHS Eau Claire. The Individualized Medicine Biobank for Bipolar Disorder has a community advisory board to help guide us.

By establishing the infrastructure of this data-rich biobank, researchers have been able to facilitate studies on disease risk and pharmacogenomics utilizing state-of-the-art research technology. The identification of genetic risk factors associated with disease onset can potentially lead to early interventional treatment in at-risk patients.

This is particularly important in bipolar disorder, as the onset of any treatment is often delayed by more than a decade, and those individuals with the earliest illness onset generally have the longest delays to first treatment and poor outcomes.

Additionally, identification of pharmacogenomic predictors of treatment response could provide greater selectivity to treatment recommendations, as well as help prevent serious adverse events such as antidepressant induced mania.

The Bipolar Disorder Biobank is supported by generous gifts from private benefactors.

About the investigators

Mark A. Frye, M.D., received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed his psychiatric training at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Dr. Frye completed a subsequent research fellowship in the Biological Psychiatry Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Maryland. While at NIMH, his area of research was focused on the neurobiology of depression and bipolar disorder.

Formerly the director of the UCLA Bipolar Disorder Research Program (1998-2006), Dr. Frye is now the director of the Integrated Mood Clinic and Research Program and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Mayo Clinic. His clinical interests are in bipolar disorder, depression, and alcoholism with a research focus on genomics, brain imaging, and neuroendocrinology of mood disorders and alcoholism.

Joanna M. Biernacka, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Cambridge, UK.

Dr. Biernacka's research focus is in the area of the genetics of complex diseases, in particular bipolar disorder and other psychiatric illnesses such as alcohol use disorders.

As the statistical geneticist in the Bipolar Disorder Biobank program, Dr. Biernacka leads the design and analysis of genomic studies as well as studies of other biomarkers. She also works on the development of novel statistical methods for the analysis of genetic data.