Brent Richards


Brent Richards


Brent Richards, M.D., M.Sc.

Professor, Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
CIHR Clinician Investigator
FRSQ Clinician Scientist
3755 Côte Ste-Catherine Road, Suite H-413 Montréal, Québec H3T 1E2

Tel: 514-340-8222 ext. 4362

brent.richards [at]


Biographical Sketch

Dr. 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, age-related diseases and the translation of these findings to improved clinical care. Dr. Richards was a CIHR Clinical Investigator and currently is an FRSQ Clinician Scientist. He has had the opportunity to participate in, and sometimes lead, genome-wide association studies recently published in Nature, Nature Genetics, The Lancet and PLoS Genetics. Brent has co-chaired the cohorts arm of the UK10K consortium where ~3,800 population-based participants were whole genome-sequenced and these data have been publicly available, along with 50 phenotypes.


Osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease,  autoimmune disease, genome-wide association study, genetic determinants

Research or Clinical Activities

The focus of our current research program is two-fold. The first is to identify the genetic determinants of common endocrine-related disease and the second is to translate this information into improved clinical care. Research conducted in the Richards Lab uses genomic technologies to identify novel biologic pathways that cause common disease. Many drugs currently exist that target these pathways and these drugs could represent new therapeutic options for disease. Our goal is to generate novel and personalized therapeutic options by repositioning existing, less expensive drugs to new indications. Recent studies involve a genome-wide scan to understand the efficacy of certain pharmaceuticals and the link between coronary artery disease and type 2 diabetes. We are also conducting a study looking at a potential causal role for somatic mutations in autoimmune disease.

Selected Recent Publications

JP Kemp*, JA Morris*, C Medina-Gomez*, V Forgetta, NM Warrington, SE Youlten, J Zheng, CL Gregson, E Grundberg, K Trajanoska, JG Logan, AS Pollard, PC Sparks, EJ Ghirardello, R Allen, VD Leitch, NC Butterfield, DSK Komla-Ebri, A-T Adoum, KF Curry, JK White, F Kussy, KM Greenlaw, C Xu, NC Harvey, C Cooper, DJ Adams, CMT Greenwood, MT Maurano, S Kaptoge, F Rivadeneira, JH Tobias, PI Croucher, CL Ackert-Bicknell, JHD Bassett, GR Williams, JB Richards†, DM Evans†. Genome-wide Association Study of Heel Bone Mineral Density Identifies 153 Novel Loci and Implicates Functional Involvement of GPC6 in Osteoporosis. Nature Genetics [IF: 28.0]. 2017 Sep 4. Epub ahead of print. I was a co-corresponding author.

HF Zheng*, V Forgetta*, YH Hsu*, K Estrada*, A Rosello-Diez*, PJ Leo*, CL Dahia*, KH Park-Min*, JH Tobias*, C Kooperberg*, A Kleinman, U Styrkarsdottir, CT Liu, C Uggla, DS Evans, CM Nielson, K Walter, U Pettersson-Kymmer, S McCarthy, J Eriksson, T Kwan, M Jhamai, K Trajanoska, Y Memari, J Min, J Huang, P Danecek, B Wilmot, R Li, WC Chou, LE Mokry, 113 co-authors (all listed below), 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 Aug 25. 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 andMedScape, 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 a drafting of new clinical guidelines from the MS Society of Canada on the use of vitamin D to prevent multiple sclerosis.

JB Richards, X Yuan, F Geller, D Waterworth, V Bataille, D Glass, K Song, G Waeber, P Vollenweider, KK Aben, LA Kiemeney, B Walters, N Soranzo, U Thorsteinsdottir, A Kong, T Rafnar, P Deloukas, P Sulem, H Stefansson, K Stefansson, TD Spector, Vincent Mooser. Male-pattern baldness susceptibility locus at 20p11 Nature Genetics [IF: 33.1] October 2008; doi:10.1038/ng.255

JB Richards,* F Rivadeneira,* M Inouye,* TM Pastinen,  N Soranzo, SG Wilson, M Falchi, R Gwilliam, KR Ahmadi, P Arp, P Whittaker, T Andrew, M Jhamai, V Kumanduri, M Moorhouse, JB van Meurs, A Hofman, HAP Pols, D Hart, G Zhai, AM Valdes, BS Kato, BH Mullin, F Zhang, P Deloukas,  AG Uitterlinden, TD Spector. Bone mineral density, osteoporosis, and osteoporotic fractures: a genome-wide association study.The Lancet [IF: 33.8]. 2008 May 3;371(9623):1505-12. This paper received lay press coverage from the Guardian, Telegraph, Reuters, US World News and Report and several dozen other news organizations.

Publications (Google Scholar) – Richards JB


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