Brent Richards


Profile picture of Brent RIchards


Brent Richards, M.D., M.Sc.

Professor, Departments of Medicine (Endocrinology), Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Pavillon H-413, Jewish General Hospital
3755 Côte Ste-Catherine Road, Suite H-413 Montréal, Québec H3T 1E2

Tel: 514-340-8222 ext. 4362

brent.richards [at]


Biographical Sketch

Professor Richards has trained in genetics, medicine, endocrinology, epidemiology and biostatistics. He currently practices endocrinology and runs a research program at McGill University. His research program is focused on the identification of the genetic determinants of common diseases and the translation of these findings to improved clinical care. Professor Richards was a CIHR Clinical Investigator and currently is an FRSQ Clinician Scientist Merite. He has had the opportunity to participate in, and sometimes lead, large-scale human genetic studies published in Nature, JAMA Nature Genetics and The Lancet. His work has been recognized through election as a Member of the Royal Society of Canada, College of New Scholars, the American Society of Clinical Investigation, and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation Grant.


genome-wide association study, genetic determinants, endocrinology, Mendelian randomization -omics, polygenic risk scores

Research or Clinical Activities

Our vision is to use human genetics to improve clinical care. We do so by first undertaking genetic association studies. Then we use this information for three purposes:

  1. To identify and validate drug targets with our industrial partners.
  2. To identify individuals at risk of disease using polygenic risk scores, developed from machine-learning methods.
  3. To test the causal role of risk factors in disease through Mendelian randomization.

Recently we have helped to build Canada’s largest COVID-19 biobank, which contains genetic, proteomic, lifestyle and COVID-19 outcomes on hospitalized COVID-19 positive patients and their controls.

Selected Recent Publications

Zhou S, Butler-Laporte G, Nakanishi T, Morrison DR, co-authors, Richards JB.(2021) A Neanderthal OAS1 Isoform Protects European Ancestry Individuals Against COVID-19 Susceptibility and Severity. Nature Medicine [IF: 36.13]. doi: 10.1038/s41591-021-01281-1. This paper received lay press coverage from The Economist, CTV News, Reuters and Le Devoir

J A Morris,* J P Kemp,* co-authors DM Evans,* JB Richards*. An Atlas of Human and Murine Genetic Influences on Osteoporosis. Nature Genetics. [IF: 27.13]. 2019 Feb;51(2):258-266. doi: 10.1038/s41588-018-0302-x. Epub 2018 Dec 31. This paper was covered by La Presse, The Canadian Press, Le Devoir, Radio Canada and the Daily Mail in the UK. It also received News and Views

N Timpson, C Greenwood, N Soranzo, DJ Lawson, JB Richards. Genetic architecture: The shape of genetic contribution to human traits and disease. (2018). Nature Reviews Genetics [IF: 40.3]. 19(2):110-124. doi: 10.1038/nrg.2017.101.

HF Zheng*, V Forgetta*, YH Hsu*, K Estrada*, A Rosello-Diez*, PJ Leo*, CL Dahia*, KH Park-Min*, JH Tobias*, C Kooperberg*, co-authors, RD Jackson, DW Rowe, CA Loomis, DM Evans, CL Ackert-Bicknell, AL Joyner, EL Duncan, DP Kiel, F Rivadeneira, JB Richards for the GEFOS and UK10K Consortia. Whole-genome sequencing identifies EN1 as a determinant of bone density and fracture. Nature [IF: 42]. 2015 Sep 14. doi: 10.1038/nature14878. This article received press coverage from The Guardian and was amongst the top 10% of Nature articles receiving coverage in traditional and social media,

LE Mokry, S Ross, OS Ahmad, V Forgetta, G Davey-Smith, A Leong, CMT Greenwood, G Thanassoulis, JB Richards. Vitamin D and risk of Multiple Sclerosis: a Mendelian Randomization Study. PLOS Medicine [IF: 14.4] 2015. DOI:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001866. This study received lay press coverage from ABC, CTV, CBC and Global News, the Guardian, the Telegraph, Yahoo and other news sources. This paper was highlighted in a review of multiple sclerosis causes in Nature. Importantly for knowledge translation, this study received news pieces from the CMAJ and MedScape, which are targeted to the general medical community and Neurology Today, which is targeted to neurologists. This paper was also selected as a Human Genetics Editor Pick from PLOS One. This paper led, in part, to new clinical guidelines from the MS Society of Canada, endorsed by the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centres and the Canadian Network of Multiple Sclerosis Clinics to ensure that people at risk of MS ensure that they are vitamin D sufficient. This paper was among the top 10% most cited PLOS Medicine papers published in 2015.

Publications (Google Scholar) – Richards JB


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