Purcell Lab @ PNGU, CHGR, MGH


My work focuses on developing statistical and computational tools for the design of genetic studies, the detection of gene variants influencing complex human traits and the dissection of these effects in the larger context of other genetic and environmental factors. In particular, I currently work on whole exome resequencing and whole genome association studies of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and the development of tools for whole genome and exome genetic studies.

My first degrees were in experimental psychology, from the University of Oxford and University of London (UCL); my PhD was from the SGDP, Institute of Psychiatry, KCL. I am now based at the Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit (PNGU) which is part of the Center for Human Genetic Research (CHGR) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). I am also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and its Psychiatric Disease Initiative at the Stanley Center


My work has involved producing tools for the analysis of genetic data. Currently supported tools include a package for whole genome association analysis, PLINK, and the Genetic Power Calculator. New tools under development include PLINK/Seq, a tool for the analysis of data from NGS studies. For a full list of tools see this page.

Current lab members

Menachem Fromer (scientist)
Sarah Bergen (post-doc)
Phil Hyoun Lee (post-doc)
Douglas Ruderfer (bioinformatics specialist)

Previous members

Manuel Ferreira (post-doc)
Yan Meng (post-doc)
Colm O'Dushlaine (post-doc)
Kathe Todd-Brown (research assistant)
Lori Thomas (research assistant)

Selected recent publications (lead or senior author):

International Schizophrenia Consortium (2009) Common polygenic variation contributes to risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Nature
International Schizophrenia Consortium (2008) Rare chromosomal deletions and duplications increase risk of schizophrenia. Nature | PubMed
Ferreira MA, ..., Purcell SM, Sklar P, Craddock N (2008) Collaborative genome-wide association analysis supports a role for ANK3 and CACNA1C in bipolar disorder. Nature Genetics | PubMed
Sklar P, Smoller JW, Fan J, Ferreira MA, ..., Purcell SM (2008) Whole-genome association study of bipolar disorder. Mol Psych | PubMed
Purcell S et al (2007) PLINK: a tool set for whole-genome association and population-based linkage analyses. Am J Hum Genet | PubMed

Contact details

Shaun Purcell
Room 6.254 Simches Building, 185 Cambridge Street
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, 02114
E-mail: shaun AT pngu dot mgh dot harvard dot edu
Tel: +1 617 726 7642
Fax: +1 617 726 0830