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People in the Department

Francesca HappéFrancesca Happé

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Centre Director

Francesca Happé is the director of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (formerly the Institute of Psychiatry) having taken over the post from Professor Peter McGuffin in October 2012. She studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford, and did her PhD on autism at UCL. Her research interests centre on autism and Asperger Syndrome. She has conducted research into the nature of social understanding in typical development, and ‘mind-reading’ impairments in autism spectrum conditions. She is also actively engaged in studies of abilities and assets in people with autism, and their relation to detail-focused perceptual and cognitive style. As well as cognitive methods, her research involves functional imaging studies, exploration of acquired brain lesions and, most recently, behaviour genetic methods. She is the author of numerous research papers, and a book on autism for general readers. She won the Telegraph’s Young Science Writer award, and has taken part in many documentaries, as well as being the subject of a Channel 4 programme for schools. The British Psychological Society awarded her the Spearman Medal, and the Experimental Psychology Society named her as the recipient of the 7th EPS Prize.


Cathryn LewisCathryn Lewis

Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics

Deputy Head of Department 

Professor Happé is supported by Deputy Head of Department, Cathryn Lewis, who is Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Statistics at the SGDP and at the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine.  Her academic training was in mathematics and statistics, and she has been involved in genetic studies since her PhD studies.  Her research group of 15 multi-disciplinary researchers aims to identify and characterise genetic variants conferring risk of common, complex disorders, including depression and stroke.  A major research focus is risk assessment, determining how the polygenic component of common diseases can be measured accurately and communicated effectively. She co-chairs the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium Major Depressive Disorder Working group, and leads the NIHR Maudsley BRC Biomarkers and Genomics theme.


Robert PlominRobert Plomin

Professor of Behavioural Genetics

Advisor to the Centre Director

Professor Robert Plomin is past president of the international Behavior Genetics Association, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellow of numerous scientific bodies including the British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences.  He has received numerous awards, including lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Society, the Behavior Genetics Association, and the Society for Research in Child Development.


Terrie Moffitt newTerrie Moffitt

Professor of Social Behaviour and Development

Advisor to the Centre Director

Professor Terrie Moffitt is a Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in antisocial behaviour. She is a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the British Academy, a Trustee for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and has been awarded honours that include the prestigious Jacobs Prize (2010) for behavioural science.


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