MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Veronique Vitart Research Group

From Gene to Function

Dr Veronique Vitart

Section: Disease Mechanisms

Research in a Nutshell 

My overall interest is in using genetics to gain insight into biology. A very successful approach I am contributing to is to decipher the genetic basis of natural variation in quantitative traits (QTs) associated with diseases and conditions, as QTs are more amenable to analysis than the disease as a whole. Although the contribution of the associated genetic variants into variation of the studied trait is generally small, the findings can illuminate or highlight novel biological pathways and functions. I focus my research on two very different types of exemplar traits:

  1. Morphologic : eye biometric traits pertaining to the development of myopia and hyperopia. The quantitative genetics approach is complemented by seeking disease risk variants, segregating within families or enriched in disease cohorts. In collaboration with researchers at Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, London and others, we performed a genome-wide association study that identifies genetic risk underlying primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD), and are extending this work using the UK Biobank resource.
  2. Metabolic : urate levels. A high level of serum urate is a primary causal factor in the development of gout, a common rheumatic disease, and is associated with the cluster of metabolic syndrome components (central obesity, hypertension, high triglycerides &  LDL-cholesterol levels, hyperglycaemia).

Eye research

Quantitative Trait Loci Research

Veronique Vitart group 4.2019


Veronique Vitart Group Leader

Thibaud Boutin

Data analyst
Camilla Drake Research assistant
Chloe Stanton Investigator scientist

Zuhair Mustafa

ECAT PhD student
Amy Findlay Investigator Scientist



  • Professor Wendy Bickmore, Dr Shipra Bhatia, Professor Ian Jackson
  • Dr Roly Megaw, clinical lecturer, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor David Charteris, Dr Danny Mitry and Dr Aman Chandra, Moorfield’s Eye  Hospital
  • Dr Forbes Mason, University of Manchester
  • Dr Andrew Pyott, Raigmore Hospital, Inverness

Partners and Funders

  • MRC
  • The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

  • National Eye Research Centre

Scientific Themes

genetics of eye diseases, genome-wide association study,linkage, editing, gene expression analysis

Technology Expertise

genetics, genome-wide association study, linkage, editing, gene expression quantitation, exome and whole genome sequences analysis