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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.

Lab members running a brain-themed cocktail bar at the Science Museum's Lates event © © Kristian Reveles Jensen
Lab members running a brain-themed cocktail bar at the Science Museum's Lates event

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.

Historically, we have studied 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, and that inhibiting COMT improves cognitive function. New COMT inhibitors are now being tested to see if they improve cognitive function in people with schizophrenia, who experience impairments 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 and KALRN genes forming a major current area of investigation.

Our research has been funded by the Royal Society, the BBSRC, Wellcome, the MRC and industrial partners. We welcome contact from potential collaborators, students and the media.

Our team

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