Dr Will Davies is a Senior Lecturer within the MRC CNGG and explores how male and female brains differ.
My group and I are interested in how, and why, male and females differ in terms of their brain development, function and behaviour, and why the two genders are differentially affected by brain-related conditions.
It has been said that it’s difficult to find any single factor that’s more predictive of psychiatric illness than gender; we are particularly interested in why males are more likely to be diagnosed with developmental conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders, and why some females develop postpartum psychosis after giving birth.
A lot of our work looks at genes on the sex chromosomes (X and Y), and we perform experiments in both animal models (mice and rats) and humans (healthy individuals and individuals affected by brain conditions).
I am passionate about conveying some of the complex data and concepts emerging from our laboratories, and their potential therapeutic utility. I believe that it is vital that the public are informed in a simple and accessible manner so that they, who indirectly fund much of work, are kept up to date with the latest developments and can potentially inform future research.
Undertaking public engagement work provides the opportunity to work with a broad range of individuals, each with interesting and unique perspectives on mental illness. I have been a STEM Ambassador since early-2010, and have run a number of sessions at schools and careers fairs across South Wales on Life as a Scientist and Careers in Science.
In association with the charity Understanding Animal Research I am particularly keen on educating children about how, and why, animals are used in research and the benefits and costs associated with such work. I have promoted my work, and that of the MRC Centre, with a local MP as part of the Royal Society MP-Scientist Pairing Scheme, and am currently liaising closely with a variety of skin charities, for example, Ichthyosis Support Group, regarding our recent finding that individuals with one particular skin condition are at significantly increased risk of being affected by developmental and mood disorders.
If you want to speak to Will about his work, please get in touch.