School of Psychology News & events

Research Summary

Owen, M, Hall, J, Linden, D, Harwood, A, Crunelli, V, Li, M, Wilkinson, L, Jones, DK, Aggleton, J (2013 - 2018) DEFINE - Defining Endophenotypes from integrated neurosciences.  Wellcome Trust.  £5,234,319.

Summary

Recent findings in genetics have advanced our understanding of psychiatric disorders in two important ways. First they have indicated that disorders like schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism and intellectual disability share genetic risk factors and are therefore likely to result from similar underlying brain abnormalities. Second, they point to an important role in these disorders for abnormalities in synapses, the structures through which brain cells communicate with each other. We will work across these diagnostic groups to understand how genetic risk factors impact on brain function and behaviour. By studying cells, animals and patients all carrying the same genetic risk factors we will be able to link abnormalities in brain function and behaviour seen in patients to abnormalities in cells and brain circuits. This will pave the way for the development of a new classification of mental disorders based on biology and to the development of novel approaches for the treatment of these disabling conditions.