BIONIC: Biobank Netherlands Internet Collaboration: proof of principle for major depressive disorder (WC2014-053)


Starting date: 01/07/2014

BIObanks Netherlands Internet Collaboration (BIONIC) is an observational cohort study that aims to provide a platform to harmonize rapid phenotypic measures in Dutch biobank cohorts, and to link these phenotypic measures to existing biobank data. The first phenotype that will be addressed in BIONIC is depression. Hence, the second aim is to identify SNPs associated with depression in Dutch biobank cohorts. 

Recruitment of participants
The phenotyping of major depressive disorder (MDD) will be conducted in existing study cohorts with GWA data from the Netherlands that are united in BBMRI-NL. BBMRI-NL is the Dutch project for biobank collaboration.

The participating biobanks of BBMRI-NL invite their participants with a letter (either postal or by e-mail) to complete the online depression instrument. The online questionnaire will be made available for several devices (e.g. computer, smartphone and tablet) to increase participation rates.

Eligibility criteria
BBMRI-NL studies are eligible for participation in BIONIC if they have participants aged ≥18 year, with GWA data (shortly) available.

Assessment of MDD
The MDD assessment consists of an online questionnaire that is based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview short-form (CIDI-sf) for MDD. This instrument will first be tested in a pilot study. If the pilot study shows that MDD assessment is feasible and valid, this instruments will be used in the main study.

GWA analysis
BIONIC relies on cohorts that have already collected genome wide association data for their participants. GoNL imputation (BBMRI-NL Rainbow project 1; will be used to carry out GWA in those of European Ancestry, which will be followed by meta-analyses. Standardized protocols for quality control, imputation and association analyses will be developed. Logistic regression will be used to test the association of lifetime MDD (vs. no lifetime MDD) with imputed SNP data under an additive model. Covariates include study characteristics and principal components reflecting ancestry. After the discovery phase, we will try to replicate the identified SNPs  in the replication cohorts of the international PGC-MDD consortium.

Online phenotypic assessment platform
Besides the MDD phenotyping for subsequent GWA analysis, another important goal of this project is the implementation of the online phenotypic assessment platform to facilitate and promote future phenotypic data collection in existing cohorts. A best practice guideline will be released on this platform. We will draw up an inventory of topics for future phenotypic assessment and interested biobanks. We expect that setting up a national infrastructure for new phenotype assessments in existing biobanks will promote harmonized phenotype assessment, making identification of new genetic markers more likely.