IMpACT, short for ‘International Multi-centre persistent ADHD CollaboraTion’, is a consortium of clinical and basic researchers from several European countries (The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Norway, The United Kingdom, Sweden), from the United States of America and from Brazil.
The mission of IMpACT is to perform and promote high quality research in adult ADHD. This research is aimed at identifying novel genetic variants for adult ADHD and at understanding the mechanisms underlying the effect of these genetic variants on disease risk. IMpACT members share data on their samples as well as biological material, which has resulted in the formation of the largest database for adult ADHD research, including information on over 4000 cases and more than 7000 controls.
IMpACT was formed in 2007 from members of the international ADHD Molecular Genetics Network (lead by Prof. Stephen V. Faraone) through an initiative of Prof. Barbara Franke, who has been leading the consortium since then. Senior and junior members of IMpACT meet at least once a year for a dedicated IMpACT meeting. IMpACT members are dedicated to improve research on adult ADHD in general, but also are prepared to go out of their way to help each other perform research in the best possible manner. This sets our collaboration apart from many other professional consortia.
IMpACT’s first collaborative studies were based on meta-analyses of existing genotyping data for individual candidate genes for ADHD. Through these approaches we found out that the gene for the dopamine transporter DAT1 has different risk alleles for childhood and adult ADHD. We also found out that several of the candidate genes for ADHD in children, like BDNF and DRD4, do not significantly increase the risk for the persistent form of ADHD. For the serotonin transporter encoding gene 5-HTT (or SERT), we could neither prove nor exclude a role in adult ADHD. This work has since been extended to include collaborative genotyping studies of new candidate genes, with new, genome-wide approaches (genome-wide association studies, exome chip analysis and exome sequencing) currently underway. In addition, using diverse approaches including bioinformatics, in vitro studies of proteins, cell culture models, in vivo research in animal models, we aim at mapping the pathways from gene of interest to disease.