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Investigating how schizophrenia risk genes impact brain function and cognition

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Yasmin Fouani-Eckstein.

Please note this talk will be online and in person, if you would like the Zoom link please email the organiser.There is a capacity of 50 people in the Psychology Lecture Theatre so attendees will be allowed entry on a first come first serve basis. There is a possibility that you will be refused entry once we have reached capacity.

Bio I initially studied Biology at Oxford University before studying Medicine in Edinburgh and Cambridge – the latter as part of the MB/PhD Programme. I completed my PhD in the Department of Experimental Psychology supervised by Professor Barry Everitt. I am currently Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in Cardiff and Director of the Cardiff University Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute. My overarching interest is in the role of genetic and environmental risk factors in the development of neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. In my work I employ a translational approach to study how genetic and environmental factors enhance risk for mental illness. I am particularly interested in how identified genetic risk factors affect learning processes in the brain; abnormalities in which underlie the key symptoms seen in a range of mental health problems. In addition to my research work I also undertake clinical work as a neuropsychiatrist.

Abstract Recent years have seen major progress in the elucidation of genetic risk factors for psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia. A major challenge now is to understand how these genetic variants impact brain function, leading to enhanced risk. In this talk I will briefly review recent findings in relation to genetic risk for schizophrenia before considering approaches to understand their biological and psychological impact. I will illustrate the talk with examples from our own work including investigations of how genetic variation in voltage gated calcium channels impacts associative learning processes of likely relevance to schizophrenia and psychosis.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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