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Dr Judith R Harrison

Dr Judith R Harrison

Wellcome Trust GW4 Clinical Academic Training Fellow, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

School of Medicine

Email
harrisonjr1@cardiff.ac.uk
Campuses
2.40, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ

Judith is a higher trainee in Old Age Psychiatry. She studied Medicine at the University of Dundee and began psychiatry training on the Maudsley Hospital rotation. She was funded by the Cardiff MRC Clinical Academic Mentorship scheme and the Welsh Clinical Academic Training scheme before joining the Wellcome GW4-CAT.

As part of the GW4-CAT she is undertaking a PhD on genetics and magnetic resonance imaging in Alzheimer’s Disease. Her other interests include the assessment and management of neurodegenerative disorders, improving physical health outcomes for people with mental illness and public involvement in research (see Engagement).

She serves as a Handling Editor for the British Journal of Psychiatry (https://publons.com/researcher/1393977/judith-harrison/) and on the Early Career Advisory Panel of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP; https://www.ecnp.eu/early-career-scientists/ECAP).

She tweets in a personal capacity as @drjudeharrison.

Judith studied Medicine at the University of Dundee and completed Academic Foundation Training in South Thames (St George's Hospital, Tooting; Royal Surrey Hospital, Guildford). She began psychiatry training on the Maudsley Hospital rotation. She was funded by the Cardiff MRC Clinical Academic Mentorship scheme before obtaining a Welsh Clinical Academic Training PhD fellowship and a Wellcome Trust GW4 Clinical Academic Training Fellowship.

2019

2018

2017

2016

Teaching Roles

2016-present    Communication Skills Tutor                                           Cardiff University

2016-present    OSCE Examiner                                                            Cardiff University

2014–present    Academic Mentor                                                         Cardiff University

2015-18            Brain Disorders Summer School Teacher                     Cardiff University

As part of the GW4-CAT, Judith is undertaking a PhD on genetics and magnetic resonance imaging in Alzheimer’s Disease, entitled 'Exploring Biological Pathways in Alzheimer’s Disease Using Polygenic Scores, MRI and Blood Biomarkers'.

Studies have identified lots of small genetic changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They relate to disease processes like immunity, inflammation cholesterol metabolism.

I aim to:

– Examine small changes in groups of genes related to disease processes. I will do this by creating ‘genetic scores’ for different processes.

– Explore associations between the ‘genetic scores’ and changes on brain scans, blood tests for inflammatory markers and cholesterol, and memory function.

I will use information from large groups of people which has already been collected from other large studies: an in-house cohort, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, and UK Biobank.

These include different age groups, so I can potentially identify the earliest events in the disease.  My project will have the ability to detect differences because the total number of participants is so big. The findings of this study could help us to identify those who might benefit from particular treatments in clinical trials. This will help to focus efforts to find new therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

She has experience of supervising undergraduate medical students undertaking Student Selected Components (SSCs) and summer research projects. She also co-supervises Intercalated degree projects. 

Judith is project lead for 'NeuroSwipe', funded by the Wellcome Trust ISSF3 Public Engagement Proof-of-concept Award. NeuroSwipe is a citizen-science project based on my research which involves an exciting collaboration between CUBRIC, the National Software Academy and the charity Diverse Cymru. 

The project is aims to tackle to challenges: first, the limited reach of face-to-face public engagement activities; and second, the challenges of neuroimaging quality assurance in large population cohorts.

With the help of students at the National Software Academy, we have developed a web platform that allows people to get involved in quality control checking the output of structural neuroimaging analyses. Citizen scientists are asked to swipe right if they think an image is adequate and left if they think it's not.

We held a citizen science co-production workshop where we invited representatives from different community groups to help us test and develop the website to ensure it is accessible to as wide an audience as possible. Students from the National Software Academy have completed a revised version of the website which we will pilot more widely. 

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