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Dr. Na Cai

Principal Investigator Helmholtz Pioneer Campus

Research Area

My research interests lie in understanding the genetic and metabolic basis of neuropsychiatric diseases, with a particular focus on the heterogeneous etiology of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). I did my PhD on genetics of MDD at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in University of Oxford and the effects of the disease on levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Prior to coming to HPC I spent three and a half years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), where I worked on the impact of phenotyping on genetic studies of MDD and mtDNA effects on molecular markers of metabolism. With every project on these two seemingly parallel fronts, their overlap becomes a little more apparent. My goal is to see them converge to form a picture of how genetic variations leading to phenotyping variations in metabolism affects risk for neuropsychiatric diseases. This would lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms behind MDD and other neuropsychiatric diseases, and help identify ways to improve their diagnosis, treatment and monitoring.

Professional Background

since 2019

Principal Investigator Helmholtz Pioneer Campus, Helmholtz Zentrum München


EBI-Sanger Postdoctoral Fellow, Wellcome Sanger Insitute and European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)


DPhil in Clinical Medicine, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford

Honors and Awards

  • Raymond and Beverley Sackler By-Fellowship (postdoctoral), Churchill College, University of Cambridge
    2017 - 2019

  • EBI-Sanger Postdoctoral Fellowship (ESPOD), European Bioinformatics Institute, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
    2016 - 2019

  • A*STAR Graduate Scholarship (Overseas), Agency of Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
    2011 - 2015

  • Honorary Scholar, Cambridge Commonwealth Trust
    2008 - 2011

  • National Science Scholarship, Agency of Science, Technology and Research, Singapore
    2008 - 2011

Gold Star Awards Luxury Background
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Networks and Affiliations

Logo Technische Universität München

Technical University of Munich