Translational Neurobiology of Psychosis
- +44 (0)1865 223730 (fax +44 (0)1865 251076)
Founded in 1991 (as the Molecular Neuropathology group)
Over 200 publications and 10,000 citations
We are interested in the molecular and neural basis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and how the risk genes for these disorders operate. We use a range of platforms, methods, and collaborations, to carry out this work.
Many genes which affect risk of developing psychosis (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) have been identified, as well as several environmental factors. However, much less is known about how, why, and when, these factors increase risk. Our basic hypothesis is that they operate to affect brain development, plasticity, and function, and our work is designed to investigate this. We have a particular interest in how risk genes impact on glutamate signalling, and upon the psychosis risk genes which also represent potential treatment targets. Genes being studied in the group and with our collaborators include D-amino acid oxidase, group II metabotropic glutamate receptors, ZNF804A, and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT).
The group formerly worked mainly on post mortem brains to conduct molecular and neuropathological studies of subjects with psychosis. Although we continue to do this, we increasingly use in vivo and in vitro models, and a range of experimental approaches, including methods to measure and modify gene expression, electrophysiology, microdialysis, behaviour, and magnetoencephalography (MEG). Forthcoming work will include RNASeq, iPS cells, and a focus on circadian and immunological aspects of early psychosis.
Our work is funded by the MRC, Wellcome Trust, BBSRC, and others.
- Group II metabotropic glutamate receptors: the interface of cognition, arousal, and psychosis.
- Molecular and MEG studies of the schizophrenia risk gene ZNF804A.
- Interactions between D-aminoacid oxidase (DAAO) and the dopamine system.
- Anti-neuronal antibodies in first-episode psychosis.
- Circadian aspects of psychosis, as part of the Oxford Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi).
- D-amino acids, NMDA receptors, and dietary interventions (PI: Dr Phil Burnet).
- The roles of catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) in cognition and psychosis. (PI: Dr Liz
Tunbridge; see Neural Correlates of Gene Function group).
Prof David Bannerman (Experimental Psychology)
Prof Russell Foster (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences)
Dr Karri Lamsa (Pharmacology)
Dr Belinda Lennox (Psychiatry, Cambridge)
Dr Elizabeth Tunbridge, Royal Society University Research Fellow, head of Neural Correlates of Gene Function research group, and PI on studies of COMT
Prof Kia Nobre and Dr Sven Braeutigam (Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity)
Prof Trevor Sharp (Pharmacology)
Prof Angela Vincent (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences)
Drs Daniel Weinberger, Joel Kleinman, and Tom Hyde (Lieber Institute for Brain Development, Johns Hopkins Campus, Baltimore)