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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.

Our team

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