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World-leading mental health research centre becomes Cardiff University Centre

29 November 2022

young woman in lab coat and blue gloves holding a pipette tray up to the light

Following a decade of funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics will now become a Cardiff University Centre.

The Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG), established in 2009, was the first MRC centre in Wales and is considered a centre of excellence for the UK. In this time, it has made significant advances in understanding some of the causes of psychiatric, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

Director of the Centre, Professor James Walters said: "The Centre has been at the forefront of landmark discoveries in neuropsychiatric genetics over the last decade, providing important insights into mental health conditions and dementia.

Professor Walters took up the CNGG directorship in late 2019 following a decade of discovery under Professor Sir Michael Owen.

Over the last two years, like much of the world, the Centre has adapted to working in challenging and unprecedented conditions to continue our research. I would like to thank our researchers and staff for their perseverance and creativity in dealing with the many challenges that have arisen.
Professor James Walters Director, Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics; Deputy Director/Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

Much of the Centre’s research has centred on identifying genetic risk factors for disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Centre scientists also pioneered studies of the genetic overlap between disorders which has important implications for the way we diagnose mental illness and have identified novel areas of biology as potential targets for new treatments.

The Centre has published more than 1,900 papers and has more than 70 active collaborations with researchers across the world.

Landmark discoveries


discovered rare genetic variants that increase the risk of ADHD


led an international study that uncovered 11 new susceptibility genes for Alzheimer’s disease


saw the identification of 108 new regions on the genome associated with schizophrenia


identified genetic modifiers in Huntington’s disease


discovered factors that enhance resilience in young people at high familial risk of depression


published the largest genomics study of schizophrenia identifying an additional 50 loci


discovered that rare deletions and duplications of DNA responsible for wide-ranging developmental difficulties in children

2020identified new genetic link to schizophrenia


discovered link between schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders

Professor Walters said: “The CNGG will continue to invest in the brilliant staff and resources in Cardiff to lead international genetic research and to use the knowledge gained from this research to improve the lives of those with mental health and neurological conditions."

Showcase of CNGG research

Watch the CNGG Research Showcase

From 1 December 2022, the Centre will be known as the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics. A launch and celebration to mark the transition is to be held in early 2023.

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