Many of the commonest neuropsychiatric disorders have their origins in early brain development. Risk for these disorders is influenced by both genetics and the environment in which the brain develops.
We now understand that brain development has an important role not only in classical disorders of childhood such as autism and ADHD, but also in illnesses with later onset such as schizophrenia and mood disorders.
Brain development is a complex process that takes place over many years and is increasingly recognised to extend well into the second decade of life.
In the Research Institute we are interested in how genetic and environmental factors acting on brain development alter risk for mental illness and we study this process in a variety of ways including using cellular assays, model systems and clinical, cognitive and imaging studies. These are applied to patient and developmental groups including carriers of rarer high penetrance genetic risk factors.