Neural Correlates of Gene Function
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Founded in 2009
Multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to research
Our research aims to understand how individual genes contribute to the complex brain functions that are impaired in people with psychiatric disorders. By understanding these links we hope to improve treatments for these disorders.
Our research aims to understand how individual genes, in combination with other genetic and environmental factors, influence complex brain functions. We take information from clinical populations and use a multidisciplinary approach to try and understand the underlying biological mechanisms, with the aim of developing better treatments for psychiatric disorders as a result. We are dedicated to using the most appropriate technical approaches to test our hypotheses. Therefore, our research is highly collaborative.
To date, we have focussed primarily on the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene. We’ve shown that COMT is critical for regulating dopamine, which is a key neurotransmitter in several psychiatric disorders. Most recently, we demonstrated that a drug which reduces COMT’s activity improves cognitive function in healthy volunteers with a particular variant of the COMT gene. We are now extending these findings to see if this drug might be beneficial for treating patients with certain psychiatric disorders, who can suffer from impairment in cognition. More recently we have expanded our focus to encompass genetic loci emerging from genome-wide association studies of psychiatric disorders, with the voltage-gated calcium channel genes forming a major current area of investigation.
Our research is funded by the Royal Society, the BBSRC, the Wellcome Trust and the MRC. We welcome contact from potential collaborators, students and the media.
Studentship projects available for October 2017 entry
Supervisors: Liz Tunbridge and Paul Harrison
Supervisors: Liz Tunbridge and Mark Walton (Department of Experimental Psychology)
- Prof David Bannerman (Department of Experimental Psychology)
- Dr Sven Braeutigam (Department of Psychiatry)
- Prof Paul Harrison (Department of Psychiatry)
- Dr Ed Mann (Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics)
- Prof Ole Paulsen (University of Cambridge)
- Prof Trevor Sharp (Department of Pharmacology)
- Dr Mark Walton (Department of Experimental Psychology)
News and announcements
- Congratulations to Kristian Jensen on winning the poster prize at the FENS Brain Conference 2016
- Congratulations to Liz Tunbridge for being awarded the BAP Senior Psychopharmacology Prize 2016
- Liz Tunbridge awarded an inaugural Vice Chancellor's Award for Public Engagement with Research
- Congratulations to Liz and Anna, with Mark Walton (Experimental Psychology), on their successful BBSRC Grant application to extend their research on COMT's impact on reward learning and its relationship with phasic dopamine release.
- We welcome contact from potential collaborators or students. Please use the contact details at the top of this page to get in touch.
- We are currently available for media comment. Please use the contact details at the top of this page to get in touch.