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Biological factors associated with the onset of psychosis

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Abstract: Over the past 20 years, researchers and psychiatrists in the field of psychosis have moved from a conception of a chronic presentation to a more dynamic paradigm. Accordingly, schizophrenia is now conceptualized as a progressive illness that typically emerges during late adolescence and transitions between several stages: early vulnerability, at-risk mental state (also called ultra-high risk, abbreviated UHR ), first episode of psychosis, and chronic disease. Defining criteria to identify UHR individuals has permitted research in the early stages of schizophrenia. It has also been possible to conduct longitudinal studies to identify biomarkers and contribute to improve understanding of the peripheral biological changes accompanying conversion from prodromes to full-blown psychosis. Notably, only one quarter of UHR individuals convert to psychosis after 3 years of follow-up, but the reasons why they do are not yet understood. Our team is exploring their genomic background in order to predict their clinical outcome. We have also explored the longitudinal changes associated with the emergence of psychotic symptoms during the adolescence, especially their methylome, their transcriptome and their metabolome. Those findings could be useful to identify predictive biomarkers, to understand the pathophysiology triggering psychosis and ultimately to identify new stage-specific therapeutic strategies that could prevent or delay the onset of this severely disabling disorder.

Biography: Boris Chaumette, french laureate of the Ecole de l’INSERM, has defended his MD with a specialty in psychiatry and his PhD in neurobiology in 2016. After a post-doc at McGill University (Montreal-Canada), he has been recruited in September 2022 as Associate Professor at GHU Paris Psychiatrie & Neurosciences (Ste Anne Hospital) and Université Paris Cité. At the hospital, he is involved in the Department of Evaluation, Prevention and Therapeutic innovation and provides care for adolescents and young adults suffering from emerging psychotic disorders. He is leading the Center for Rare Psychiatric Disorders which performs clinical genetic assessments and manages patients with rare genetic conditions and psychiatric symptoms. His research activities at the Institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience of Paris (INSERM U1266 ) are dedicated to the genetics and epigenetics of psychiatric disorders, and aim to better understand the Gene X Environment interactions during the emergence of psychosis in adolescence. Boris Chaumette is the vice-chair of the European COST Action to Enhance Psychiatric Genetic Counselling, Testing, and Training in Europe (EnGagE network, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program). He co-manages the International Research Network Dev-O-Psy exploring the biological bases of early phases of psychosis. For more information on Dr Chaumette, please visit:

This talk is part of the Department of Psychiatry & CPFT Thursday Lunchtime Seminar Series series.

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