The Coordinating Centre: the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre, Institute of Psychiatry King's College London is a Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre whose aim is to study the interplay between nature and nurture in the development of common psychiatric disorders and problems. Depressive disorder is one of the Centre's major interests and several studies are in progress including two large scale multi centre linkage and association studies for which the SGDP Centre is the lead site.



Investigators


Professor Peter McGuffin

Peter McGuffin is Professor of Psychiatric Genetics and Director of the MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. He is a graduate in medicine of Leeds University and holds specialist qualifications in internal medicine and in psychiatry as well as a PhD in genetics from the University of London He has a longstanding research interest in the genetics of normal and abnormal behviour, with a particular emphasis on schizophrenia and affective disorders. He runs an affective disorder clinic at the Maudsley Hospital London with Professor Anne Farmer. Professor McGuffin is the Scientific Coordinator of GENDEP



Dr Katherine J Aitchison

Katherine Aitchison has over 10 years of experience in research in psychiatric pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics, and has a PhD in pharmacogenetics. Research conducted includes studies of pharmacogenetic determinants of response to tricyclic antidepressants, for which she designed the study, and performed the sample collection including medical ratings, as well as conducted the majority of the genotyping. Other pharmacogenomics work includes studies of CYP1A2 including functional characterisation of novel variants and a knock-out mouse study, and studies of adverse effects of typical antipsychotics including neuroendocrine effects. Dr Aitchison is the Deputy Scientific Coordinator of GENDEP



Professor Ian Craig

Ian Craig is head of the Molecular Genetics Section of the SGDP Centre with responsibilities for the co-ordination of molecular genetic approaches within a range of collaborative projects. He has developed with others techniques for highly efficient DNA extraction from mouth swabs and from blood and for zygosity testing such samples with a multiplex of 12 micro-satellite repeats. He has also been involved in developing DNA pooling technology for analysis of both SSRs and SNPs. His work in the SGDP involves collaboration in a range of projects with the aim of identifying genetic factors in cognition (g), addiction, aggression, anxiety and depression employing linkage and association studies. His group was involved in one of the early successes in isolating disease genes (for X-linked blindness/mental retardation and X-linked renal failure). His interests in human gene mapping have involved participation in the development of the Genome Database, GDB, as a Chromosome Editor and most recently through election to the Human Genome Organisation (HUGO) Council. Professor Craig and Dr Aitchison co-supervise the genetic association work for GENDEP conducted at the IOP



Dr Carmine Maria Pariante

Carmine Maria Pariante is interested in the pathogenesis of major depression and in the mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs. After a degree in Medicine (1990), he has conducted research in Italy (1990-1994), the USA (Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia; 1995-1997) and at the Institute of Psychiatry in London (1997-present). He has studied in vitro the role of glucocorticoid hormones and their receptors in the pathogenesis of major depression and in the molecular mechanism of antidepressant drugs. Main research finding is the description of the mechanism by which antidepressants increase the function of the transcription factors named "glucocorticoid receptor" in vitro. Awarded the following prizes: the 2000 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Fellowship Award, the 2000 Brain Travel Grant, the 2002 Young Scientist Award of the 11th Biennial Winter Workshop on Schizophrenia, the 2002 British Association for Psychopharmacology & Vernalis Annual Prize, the 2002 Brain Travel Grant, the 2002 Wellcome Travel Award, and the 2003 NARSAD Young Investigator Award. Dr Pariante, Dr Souza, and Dr Aithchison co-supervise the invitro components of GENDEP



Dr. Ursula D'Souza

Experienced in gene expression studies in rat brain, human brain, mammalian cells and mouse brain coronal and saggital sections. Her research interests currently are focused on the functional effects of polymorphisms in genes of neurotransmitter metabolism that are associated with human behavioural phenotypes with data obtained for dopaminergic genes. Other studies include investigating the effects of various doses of antipsychotic drugs on the levels of dopamine and serotonin receptor mRNA using a solution hybridisation methodology. In addition, her studies included characterising the 5' regulatory region of a D3 dopamine receptor gene using reporter gene assays and cultured human cell lines and also examining the regulation of the promoter regions of D1 and D2 dopamine receptor genes in cells in response to hormones. The expression pattern of a novel transcription factor that regulates dopamine receptor genes was determined in mouse development using in situ hybridisation. She has recently been involved in a microarray project looking at the hippocampal gene expression profiling across eight mouse strains to understand the molecular basis for behaviour. The experience gained using all these technologies to assess levels and patterns of gene expression will be extremely relevant for her involvement in the in vitro proposal for the GENDEP project.Dr Pariante, Dr Souza, and Dr Aithchison co-supervise the invitro components of GENDEP



Dr Leonard Schalkwyk

Leonard Schalkwyk is originally a microbiologist from Canada, and studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Genetics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, graduating in 1983. He completed his PhD in Biochemistry at Dalhousie University in 1991. His PhD work was on genome mapping of Haloferax, an archaeon from the Dead Sea with Ford Doolittle. In 1992 Schalkwyk moved to Hans Lehrach’s laboratory at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund laboratory in London. After some work on the hunt for the human BRCA1 gene, he went on to work on genome mapping of the mouse, work which continued in his period as a staff scientist at the Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Genetik in Berlin. Schalkwyk moved to the SGDP Research Centre in the spring of 2000 where he works on functional genomics, identifying genes involved in behaviour in the mouse, as well as developing technology related to genotyping, gene expression and bioinformatics. Dr Schalkwyk and Dr Sluyter co-supervise the mouse model work for GENDEP being conducted at the IOP



Dr Frans Sluyter

A senior lecturer in animal models and has worked on mouse behaviour for 14 years now. He received his PhD on the Y chromosomal effects on aggression and related (neuro)behavioral characteristics in wild house mice. He spent his post-doc in Paris, Tokyo and Amsterdam before joining the SGDP Centre two years ago.



Professor Anne Farmer

Professor of Psychiatric Nosology at the MRC Social Genetics and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London and Consultant Psychiatrist in charge of the Affective Disorders Clinic, Maudsley Hospital London. She has longstanding research interests in measurement and classification of psychopathology and gene-environment interplay in mood disorders, schizophrenia and chronic fatigue. She has alsopublished on ethical issues in psychiatric genetics. Professor Farmer supervises the human pharmacogenomics element of GENDEP, together with Professor McGuffin and Dr Aitchison



Professor Pak Sham

Pak Sham is Professor of Psychiatric and Statistical Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry in the University of London and Principal Investigator on the GENESiS project. As well as over 150 publications in peer-reviewed journals, he is the author of "Statistics in Human Genetics" published by Arnold in 1997, and co-editor (with Tim Bishop) of "Analysis of Multifactorial Disease" published by Bios in 2000. The focus of his current research is the development of statistical methodology for genetic analysis of quantitative traits and complex diseases, and the application of this methodology to several studies including GENESiS to map quantitative trait loci for anxiety and depression. Professor Sham provides statistical expertise for GENDEP.



Richard Williamson

Richard Williamson works as a Statistician/Data Manager on the GENDEP project as well as studying for a part-time PhD. He graduated from the University of Durham 1997 and completed a Masters degree in 1999 before working at the Social, Genetic and Developmental research centre at the Institute of Psychiatry. He is principally responsible for data collection, management, and analysis on the GENDEP project and for his PhD is interested in the Psychology and Genetics of Alcoholic families.