Neurodevelopmental Disorders & Schizophrenia
There are a series of brain disorders that are thought to be primarily developmental in nature. These are diseases in which the processes that bring about normal brain development and maturation become disordered, leading to abnormalities in brain function. In some of these disorders, such as lysosomal storage disorders, the perturbation of development is so profound that disability and death in childhood or adolescence is inevitably the outcome. In other disorders, such as autistic spectrum disorder and schizophrenia, the disturbance is more subtle, but the consequences are nonetheless profound.
Research in the Neuroscience Department is seeking to reveal the neurobiological basis for these disorders, and to identify novel therapeutic avenues. We are using diverse approaches from mouse models of Batten’s disease to modelling of disease-related dysfunction of neural circuits in the fly brain. We are utilising human stem cells to model the genetic susceptibility to schizophrenia, and the synaptic basis of autistic spectrum disorder. We are employing this knowledge to develop in vitro based platforms for the screening and study of action of neuropsychiatric drugs.
Staff working in this area include: