Bipolar Disorders (BIP)

Workgroup Chairs:

Ole Andreassen and Eli Stahl

BIP Data Access Portal


The Bipolar Disorder workgroup includes investigators from more than 200 institutions in 22 countries.

Our members are clinical and basic science researchers with a wide range of expertise from psychiatry to psychology, human genetics, biostatistics, bioinformatics, cellular modelling and drug discovery.

Our most recent study has explored common genetic variations (called single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) in over 29,000 individuals with bipolar disorder and 160,000 controls. We found 30 positions in the DNA sequence that increase the risk of developing the disorder. Our analyses pointed to genes relevant to the nervous, immune and metabolic systems. They implicated genes for ion channels, which help convert chemical and mechanical clues into electrical signals, neurotransmitter transporters and synaptic elements.

We also found differences in the genetic make-up between individuals with bipolar disorder and history of severe manic episodes (often called bipolar I disorder) and those without history of such severe episodes (bipolar II disorder). In our genetic analyses, bipolar I disorder was more strongly correlated with schizophrenia whereas bipolar II disorder was more strongly correlated with major depression.

Our group has also contributed to cross-disorder analyses that explored the genetic overlap with other major psychiatric disorders (PMID: 23933821PMID: 23453885), including the identification of biological pathways shared by schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder (PMID: 26007216). Together with the Schizophrenia workgroup, we have identified genetic regions that differentiate between the two disorders and examined the effect of schizophrenia genetic risk on the presentation of bipolar disorder and vice versa (PMID: 29906448).


We are currently looking to increase the number of studies with genotype and clinical information on individuals with bipolar disorder, including those from overlooked ancestry groups. By linking genetic and clinical data, we hope to identify different sub-groups of individuals with bipolar disorder with different genetic signatures. Our analyses may provide useful information to develop new, more effective and tailored treatments and improve the management of bipolar disorder or of the risk of developing it.

We have monthly conference calls to discuss the management of the group and regular email contact on a list serve. For our open source commitment and data sharing policy, please read

If you think you are able to contribute to our workgroup, please contact the chair, Ole Andreassen, at




Australian researchers have commenced a nation-wide call for 5,000 Australians aged 18 and above, who have been treated for #bipolar disorder, to volunteer for the brand new Australian #geneticsofbipolar stody. https//

Select Publications

Link to Publications

Genome-wide association study identifies 30 genetic regions influencing risk of Bipolar Disorder


Coming Soon! (updated 5/1/2016)