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 Marianne van den Bree

Marianne van den Bree

Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2068 8433
2.16, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ


Professor van den Bree's research examines the developmental pathways of mental health. Her work focuses on the genetic and environmental factors that increase or decrease risk of the development of mental health problems in children and adolescents and the characterization of the underlying process.

She is interested in the manifestations associated with small chromosomal deletions and duplications. In addition to Velo-Cardio-Facial Syndrome (VCFS), which is also known as 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome (22q11.2DS), her research also focuses on deletions and duplications in a number of other chromosomal regions.

Other research interests are the development of substance misuse in young people and factors contributing to, or exacerbating, risk of homelessness.

She also leads the effort to establish the impact on wider society of research conducted within her Institute of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences at Cardiff University.





























ExperienCes of people witH cOpy number variants (ECHO Study)

Copy Number Variants (CNVs) are micro-deletions or -duplications of DNA sequence, which can be accompanied by physical, developmental, intellectual, behavioural and psychological problems. There is insufficient information on the manifestations of different CNVs to guide patients, their families, and health and other professionals. Furthermore, the changes occurring throughout childhood and into adolescence and adulthood remain poorly understood for individuals with chromosomal disorders.

The ECHO study ( aims to characterise the nature and prevalence of manifestations associated with CNVs in a number of different chromosomal regions ( In addition to 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS), the ECHO study also focuses on a number of other chromosomal regions, including 1q, 3q, 9q, 15q and 16p.

The ECHO study is part of The International Consortium on Brain and Behavior in 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome and Professor van den Bree leads one of the five Coordinating Sites of this Consortium (

We also conduct studies to increase understanding of the service use experiences of families with a child with a chromosomal disorder.

Support: Bailey Thomas Charitable Trust, the Waterloo Foundation, HEFCW, Wellcome Trust, NIMH and MRF.

Intellectual Disability and Mental Health: Assessing Genomic Impact on Neurodevelopment (IMAGINE Study)

The IMAGINE-ID study ( involves a collaboration between Cardiff and Cambridge University and University College London. Prof van den Bree is of one of the four Lead Researchers of the IMAGINE-ID study, which aims to increase understanding of the links between intellectual disability and chromosomal disorder, with the ultimate aim to improve insight into the manifestations of chromosomal disorders in order to inform prognosis and management.

Support: MRC and MRF.

Maximising Impact of research in NeuroDevelopmental DisorderS (MINDDS)

The MINDDS project ( is bringing together a pan-European network of clinical scientists, preclinical researchers and patient representatives to advance studies of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorder caused by CNV and to ultimately improve care for these patients. Prof van den Bree is co-PI and lead one of the five Working Groups.

Support: EU COST Association 

The Development of Substance Misuse in Adolescents

Studies based on twin and population-based samples have focused on the questions why young people start using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, as well as which factors contribute to the development of heavy use and problem use over time.

Support: Wellcome Trust, ERAB, Mental Health Research Network Cymru, Children& Young People’s Research Network (CYPRN) for Wales.

Study of Experiences of Young Homeless People (SEYHOPE)

There is a dearth of longitudinal studies in which homeless people are followed over time. Conducting multiple interviews with young homeless people is improving our insights into their backgrounds, the problems they face and the changes that take place in their lives over time. Information is evaluated against service use and needs with the aim to foster more effective interventions.

Support: ESCR, Welsh Assembly Government. Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Llamau.