The PsychGen centre has six main research themes
Identification, course and consequences
In this theme, we carry out empirical work designed to investigate important features of how neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions are diagnosed, how they progress over time, and what consequences they have across the lifespan. For many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, early identification affords greater opportunity for the implementation of support strategies or interventions. Describing the most common trajectories that these conditions take across development and the potential outcomes that follow can help individuals and their families, as well as clinicians, to mitigate challenges and maintain a high quality of life.
Co-occurrence, multimorbidity and transdiagnostic features
Many common neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions co-occur with one another, and also with other health conditions. In this theme, we research how and why different conditions overlap, investigating for diagnostic similarity, shared genetic components, and reciprocal causal relationships
Risk, resilience and optimal outcomes
Individuals with neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions can experience a full range of life outcomes. In research for this theme, we investigate the factors associated with differential functioning among individuals with these conditions, seeking knowledge about the mechanisms that promote resilience and mitigate risk.
Many neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions have a familial component. Because family members typically live together and share genetics, it can be difficult to disentangle the processes by which liability for these conditions is passed on. In this research theme, we apply state-of-the-art methodologies to data from familes to try to understand what role specific environments and exposures have in the emergence of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions, once shared genetic liabilities are accounted for.
Public Health Context and Social Epidemiology
We will examine the larger societal picture that shapes the landscape of neurodevelopment and mental health. Here, the focus is not just on the individual, but on the environment they're situated in: socio-economic conditions, prevailing health policies, cultural influences, and societal attitudes towards mental health.
Medications, Interventions, and Services
Here we focus on genetic epidemiology research that can inform the development or repurposing of interventions to prevent or reduce mental health problems, poor life quality and disability. For example, by identifying and validating genetic variants that serve as proxies for drug targets, we can gain insight into mechanism-based efficacy and adverse effects of drugs.