Mendelian randomization (MR) studies use genetic variants as instrumental variables to test the causal effect of a (non-genetic) risk factor on an outcome of interest. Since it was first proposed in 2003, MR has been increasingly used to determine causal effects using observational data. It is used in a large amount of the applied research at the University of Queensland and we regularly contribute to developing new methodology in this area.

This course aims to provide an introduction to the conduct, assumptions, strengths and limitations of Mendelian randomization studies.

By the end of the course students should:

  • Understand the principles and assumptions of instrumental variable analyses
  • Understand the properties of genetic variants that make them suitable to be used as instrumental variables
  • Understand the strengths and limitations of Mendelian randomization for making causal inference in epidemiology
  • Understand that the two core parts of a Mendelian randomization analysis (the association of genetic variants with the risk factor of interest and the association of genetic variants with the outcome) can be obtained from independent study samples
  • Be able to complete one-sample and two-sample Mendelian randomization analyses
  • Understand the concepts behind sensitivity analyses to test for potential violation of the key assumptions of Mendelian randomization
  • Be able to perform MR Egger, MR weighted median and other sensitivity analyses



Email Professor David Evans to register


Mendelian randomization: Using genetics to infer causality – a beginners workshop

Wed 6 Nov 2019 9:00am5:00pm


Translational Research Institute, Woolloongabba
SPARQ-Ed training room


Professor David Evans