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Faculty Member

Frank Wendt PhD

Email Address(es)
Office Address
Room 472, Terrence Donnelly Health Science Complex 3359 Mississauga Rd, Mississauga, ON
Curriculum Vitae
Biostatistics Division
Assistant Professor
SGS Status
Associate Member
Appointment Status
Non budgtry Crss
Currently Accepting Doctoral Students?


psychiatry, ancestry diversity, genome-wide association studies, polygenicity, pleiotropy


B.S. The Pennsylvania State University (Forensic Science, Biochemistry Focus)

Ph.D. University of North Texas Health Science Center (Molecular Genetics)

Postdoctoral Fellow National Institute of Mental Health, Yale University School of Medicine (Psychiatry) and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Research Interests

Dr. Frank Wendt is a genetic epidemiologist affiliated with Anthropology, Biostatistics, and Forensic Science. He is the Principal Investigator of the Forensic and Complex Trait Genetics Laboratory at UTM and specializes in the development and application of statistical genetics methods for understanding the cause and consequence of pleiotropy across the human phenome. His group currently uses computational methods to understand the role of single nucleotide and tandem repetitive polymorphisms in shaping the correlative and causal landscape of psychopathologies, behavioral phenotypes, lifestyle factors, peripheral diagnoses, etc. In an applied genomics space, his team also develops methods to account for ancestry diversity in statistics commonly reported alongside biological evidentiary items in legal proceedings.

My group is currently recruiting graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. 

Key Publications

    • Genetic epidemiology:
      • Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Polimanti R. Phenome-wide association study of loci harboring de novo tandem repeat mutations in UK Biobank exomes. medRxiv doi:
      • Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Vahey J, Qin X, Koller D, Cabrera-Mendoza B, Harrington K, Haeny A, Nallakkandi R, Duong LM, Levey DF, De Angelis F, De Lillo A, Bigdeli T, Pyarajan S, VA Million Veteran Program, Gaziano JM, Gelernter J, Aslan M, Provenzale D, Helmer D, Hauser E, Polimanti R, on behalf of Department of Veteran Affairs Cooperative Study Program (#2006). Modeling the longitudinal changes of ancestry diversity in the Million Veteran Program. bioRxiv doi:
      • Wendt FR, Koller D, Pathak GA, Jacoby D, Miller EJ, Polimanti R. Biobank scale pharmacogenomics informs the genetic underpinnings of simvastatin use. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2021 PMID: 33837531.
    • Biological psychiatry:
      • Quintero Reis A, Newton BA, Kessler R, Polimanti R, Wendt FR. Functional and molecular characterization of suicidality factors using phenotypic and genome-wide data. In review.
      • Wendt FR, Garcia-Argibay M, Cabrera-Mendoza B, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Gelernter J, Stein MB, Nivard MG, Maihofer AX, Nievergelt C, Larsson H, Mattheisen M, Polimanti R, Meier S. The relationship of Attention-deficit/hyperactivity Disorder with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Mendelian Randomization and Population-Based Sibling Comparison Study. In press Biological Psychiatry.
      • Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Singh K, Stein MB, Koenen KC, Krystal JH, Gelernter J, Davis LK, Polimanti R. Sex-specific genetic and transcriptomic liability to neuroticism. In press Biological Psychiatry.
      • Wendt FR, Warrier V, Pathak GA, Koenen KC, Stein MB, Krystal JH, Pietrzak R, Gelernter R, Goldfarb EV, Baron-Cohen S, Polimanti R. Polygenic scores for empathy associate with posttraumatic stress severity in response to certain traumatic events. Neurobiol Stress. 2022. PMID: 35242894.
      • Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Deak JD, De Angelis F, Koller D, Cabrera-Mendoza B, Lebovitch DS, Levey DF, Stein MB, Kranzler HR, Koenen KC, Gelernter J, Huckins LM, Polimanti R. Using phenotype risk scores to enhance gene discovery for generalized anxiety disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Mol Psychiatry. 2022 PMID: 35181757.
      • Bountress KE*, Wendt FR*, Bustamante D, Agrawal A, Webb B, Gillespie N, Edenberg H, Sheerin C, Johnson E; Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Working Group, Polimanti R#, Amstadter A#. Potential causal effect of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on alcohol use disorder and alcohol consumption in individuals of European descent: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2021. PMID: 34120358. * = equal contribution; # = equal contribution.
      • Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Levey DF, Nuñez YZ, Overstreet C, Tyrrell C, Adhikari K, De Angelis F, Tylee DS, Goswami A, Krystal JH, Abdallah CG, Stein MB, Kranzler HR, Gelernter J, Polimanti R. Sex-stratified gene-by-environment genome-wide interaction study of trauma, posttraumatic-stress, and suicidality. Neurobiol Stress. PMID: 33665242.
      • Wendt FR, Pathak GA, Lencz T, Krystal JH, Gelernter J, Polimanti R. Multivariate genome-wide analysis of education, socioeconomic status and brain phenome. Nat Hum Behav. 2020 Dec 21. PMID: 33349686.
    • Forensic genomics:
      • Novroski NMM, Balasuriya A, Wendt FR. Putative forensic STR genotypes predicted from identity-informative SNPs across three ancestry groups. In review.
      • Novroski NMM, Moo-Choy A, Wendt FR. Allele frequencies and minor contributor match statistic convergence using simulated population replicates. Int J Legal Med. 2022  PMID: 35396663.
      • Wendt FR, Novroski NM. Identity informative SNP associations in the UK Biobank. Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2019 PMID: 31226582.
      • Wendt FR, King JL, Novroski NM, Churchill JD, Ng J, Oldt RF, McCulloh KL, Weise JA, Smith DG, Kanthaswamy S, Budowle B. Flanking region variation of ForenSeq™ DNA Signature Prep Kit STR and SNP loci in Yavapai Native Americans. Forensic Science International: Genetics. PMID: 28273507.
      • Wendt FR, Warshauer DH, Zeng X, Churchill JD, Novroski NM, Song B, King JL, LaRue BL, Budowle B. Massively parallel sequencing of 68 insertion/deletion markers identifies novel microhaplotypes for utility in human identity testing. Forensic Science International: Genetics. 2016 PMID: 27685342.
      • Wendt FR, Churchill JD, Novroski NMM, King JL, Ng J, Oldt RF, McCulloh KL, Weise JA, Smith DG, Kanthaswamy S, Budowle B. Genetic analysis of the Yavapai Native Americans from West-Central Arizona using the Illumina MiSeq FGx™ Forensic Genomics System. Forensic Science International: Genetics. 2016. PMID: 27243782.