Professor Nick Bray
Professor and Divisional Lead for Postgraduate Research, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences
My research investigates molecular mechanisms through which genetic variation confers risk to neuropsychiatric disorders.
Following a BSc in Psychology (London) and MSc in Neuroscience (London), I gained a PhD (exploring genes involved in brain development as candidates for schizophrenia susceptibility) under the supervision of Mike Owen in Cardiff. My post-doctoral research, undertaken in Cardiff with Mick O’Donovan, focused on gene expression as a potential mediator of genetic risk for psychiatric disorders. I was appointed as a Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, in 2006 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2012. I returned to Cardiff University in 2015, where I am now Professor and Divisional Lead for Postgraduate Research.
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I am experienced in teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate level and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, arise from the action of thousands of genetic variants in combination with environmental factors. The vast majority of genetic loci that are commonly involved in these disorders implicate non-coding regions of the genome and are therefore thought to affect gene regulation (gene expression and splicing). My group apply a variety of functional genomic technologies to human brain tissue and neural cells to investigate effects of genetic risk variants on gene regulation and their downstream molecular consequences. We are particularly interested in gestation as a potentially important period for later vulnerability to some of these disorders, and have recently produced the first genome-wide investigation of genetic effects on gene expression in the human prenatal brain (O’Brien et al, 2018).