Our Division of Psychiatry is internationally recognised as a world-class clinical research and teaching centre.
We focus on the mechanisms underlying the development of major psychiatric disorders, including autism, bipolar disorder, depression, dementia and schizophrenia.
Expertise and studies
We have a particular expertise in longitudinal, clinical and biological studies of large cohorts of people at high risk of psychotic disorders drawn from across Scotland. Our studies include:
In psychiatric genetics, we take part in international genome wide association studies and focus on analyses of candidate genes including DISC-1, NDE-1 and DLG-2.
We also have a major focus on the functional genetics of psychiatric illness and have investigated the effects of variation in genes, such as DISC-1, on brain structure and function, as well as their programming during development in stem cell models.
We have demonstrated, for the first time, that structural and functional MRI changes precede the onset of psychosis and could be used as a diagnostic aid.
We have also demonstrated that imaging can be used to separate autism from learning disability in people of matched IQ.
We have made substantial progress in the discovery of genes, including DISC-1, associated with psychosis and have played a leading role in understanding how genetic variation alters brain structure and function and risk for mental illness.
The principal methods used are state-of-the-art structural and functional imaging techniques and genetic studies. We are also involved in a number of clinical trials of novel therapeutic interventions.
Major conditions of interest
Our major interests (that straddle the disciplines of Neurology and Psychiatry) include:
We are also closely involved in two philanthropically funded Specialist Centres of Excellence:
Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
The Division of Psychiatry is a part of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS) in the Edinburgh Medical School. CCBS integrates laboratory and clinical research to study the causes, consequences and treatment of major brain disorders.
Postgraduate students are mentored and supported by at least two supervisors and receive long-term guidance from their thesis committee.
We offer a transferable skills programme and project-specific courses, including opportunities to become involved in science communication and public engagement. In addition, the Division provides clinical case demonstrations and specialist seminars.
We offer well-characterised cohorts of patients and expertise in a wide variety of techniques to study biological aspects of psychiatric disorders.