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Dr Xavier Caseras

Dr Xavier Caseras

Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2068 8437
2.21, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Available for postgraduate supervision


My main research interest is in vulnerability and resilience to mental disorders. Why some people become mentally unwell, whereas others, exposed to similar circumstances, appear resilient? Genetic predisposition can play an important role in answering this question. Recent research has identified multiple common and rare genetic variants that predict the risk to develop specific psychiatric conditions. We assume that genetic variants associated with liability to mental disorders, should have an impact on the brain. After all, we know that psychopathology is associated with changes in brain’s anatomy and function; therefore, carrying genetic variants that predispose to developing mental disorders is likely to shape the architecture and connectivity of the in a different manner than variants that protect against developing those same disorders. My research focuses precisely on trying to unveil which changes happen in the brain as a consequence of carrying those common and rare genetic variants. This knowledge is important in the identification of disease markers and the development of effective treatment interventions.



I graduated in Psychology and subsequently obtained a PhD at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. I then enrolled and completed an International MSc in Neurosciences by the Universities of Maastricht and Florence, while training as a Clinical Psychologist.

For a few years I combined my clinical work at the Institute Dexeus Clinic in Barcelona with a part-time associated lectureship at the School of Medicine in the Autonomous University of Barcelona. In 2003 I was awarded a grant to train in experimental psychology in the University of Southampton, which followed with a 2-year postdoc research position at the Institute of Psychiatry/Kings College London to train in brain imaging methods. After a short comeback to my hometown (Barcelona), I was appointed at Cardiff University.

In Cardiff I have mainly focused in my academic/research role, but I still maintain a small clinical dedication (1 session a week) through and honorary contract with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
























I am the lead for the BSc Intercalated in Psychology and Medicine. Other than overseeing the delivery of our intercalated route, I do also supervise research projects within the course and deliver lectures on different topics, from practicals on how to prepare a manuscript submission, to theoretical lectrures on anxiety and mood disorders.

I do also regularly supervise PhD and MSc students, and undergraduate and graduate students on placement or short rotations.

In my research I use different Magnetic Resonance Imaging modalities and techniques to explore the impact of genetic risk variants on brain anatomy and function. From anatomical metrics derived from T1 and diffusion weighted imaging, to connectivity indices based on BOLD or perfusion signals. In this respect, my research benefits from collaborations with the extraordinary imaging experts and facilities at Cardiff University (CUBRIC).

I also benefit from accessing large available cohorts of participants from whom imaging and genetic data has been acquired. This provides me with the power of large numbers of participants to detect small effects. However, the use of unique scanning facilities at CUBRIC also allows me insights into brain metrics not available to most centres and therefore not included within the data from those large cohorts.


Past projects

Research links