ANGI-Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative

Anorexia nervosa UNC research



The Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI) is the largest and most rigorous genetic investigation of eating disorders ever conducted. Researchers in the United States, Sweden, Australia, and Denmark will collect clinical information and blood samples from over 8,000 individuals with anorexia nervosa and individuals without an eating disorder.

ANGI represents a global effort to detect genetic variation that contributes to this potentially life-threatening illness. The goal of the research study is to transform our knowledge about the causes of eating disorders to work toward greater understanding and ultimately a cure.

If you have suffered from anorexia nervosa at any point in your life, you can help us achieve this goal. Your contribution would include a brief 30-minute interview and a blood sample. If you have never had anorexia nervosa, but still want to contribute, we invite your participation as well.

Only with your participation can we achieve our goal of eliminating this devastating illness.

Participants receive a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

To see if ANGI would be a good fit for you, please complete the survey found here.  

For more information, please call 919-966-3065 or email


Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative: An Update

At the beginning of the Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI), we were initially only able to invite women and girls who had suffered from anorexia at any point in their lives to be part of this research study. We, the researchers, weren’t happy with this, nor were some members of the community. I received many comments from men who had had anorexia and from mothers of boys with anorexia who very much wanted to participate. Some were even a little humorous, like “When are you going to do MANGI?” But all were very well conceived and in line with what we as researchers hoped to do—namely include males. I found myself telling far to many people to bear with us, that we had to start somewhere, and I promised that we would get to the point of collecting samples and clinical information from men and boys too.

So we prepared our case as to why including men and boys in this research study is important and we had a strong argument. First, men and boys are underrepresented in research on anorexia nervosa and we didn’t want to contribute to that trend. Second, some data suggest that family psychiatric history is even stronger in males with anorexia, which could possibly suggest that a greater genetic loading might be necessary for expression of the disorder in males. If that were the case, then involving males might make detection of genetic variants that contribute to the disorder easier, provided the genetic influences on the disorder are the same in males and females, and there is no reason to believe that they are not. Third, males are actively asking if they can participate, meaning that just like their female counterparts, they are keen to contribute to our research to decode this illness.

Apparently our argument was convincing! I am overjoyed to announce that we are now cleared to open our invitation to participate in ANGI to men and boys who have suffered from anorexia nervosa at any time in their life!

Participation in this research study is straightforward and includes completing a questionnaire and providing a blood sample. Each country has step-by-step instructions to make your experience as streamlined as possible. I am so pleased to be able to invite all of you, males and females to help us unlock the biology of anorexia nervosa with the ultimate aim of reducing suffering and hopefully, someday, eradicating this devastating illness.

So if you or someone you know has suffered from anorexia at any point and you are it the United States, please give us a call at 919-966-3065 or email us at

If you happen to be in Australia visit or freecall 1 800 257 179 or email

If you are in the UK, we encourage you to visit Charlotte’s Helix or call 0207 8485381 or Freephone 0800 9951999

The ANGI Team and I wanted to express a big THANK YOU to everyone who has been involved in our study thus far, whether it be through participating in the study or passing on the word. We could not do it without all of you! We are deeply grateful for your interest and participation. Please continue to browse our blog, website, and Facebook page for further updates on the status of ANGI!

ANGI update July 2013