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Biography

I am Director of the Centre for Population Neuroscience and Stratified Medicine.  

I attended Medical School at the University of Hamburg and the University of Tübingen. I joined King’s in 2005 as Chair in Addiction Biology. I have acted as an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust since 2005, and Chair of the Interdisciplinary Research Group Addiction since 2006.  

A central achievement has been leading the IMAGEN cohort (see: https://imagen-europe.com/taking-part/about-our-centre/london-centre/). IMAGEN combines brain imaging, genetics, and psychiatry to increase our understanding of adolescent brain development and behaviour – namely, sensitivity to rewards, impulsivity, and emotional processing. Research teams from London, Nottingham, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, Mannheim and Dresden have been following 2000 young people and their parents from the age of 14, with follow-up assessments at ages 16 and 19. This study has provided a wealth of data that has led to important scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of the development of the teenage mind and behaviour.  

Research interests:

My general research interests are in etiological and diagnostic stratification of psychiatric disorders to identify neurobehavioural phenotypes, which allow the development of predictive and prognostic biomarkers. My group thus works on the identification of neurobehavioural mechanisms of psychiatric disorders, including addictions. I pursue an interdisciplinary approach, using neuroimaging, functional genetic and epigenetic methods as well as molecular biological and bioinformatic techniques 

Research groups:

Centre for Population Neuroscience and Stratified Medicine

Expertise and Public Engagement:

Director for the Centre for Population Neuroscience and Stratified Medicine (PONS:  https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ioppn/research/centres/pons/about). The aim is to establish and analyse large neuroimaging-genetic datasets. The focus is on deep phenotyping which will support the development of novel computer science and statistical tools. 

Coordinator, Consortium on Global Imaging Genetics in Adolescents (GIGA). Harmonizing the assessments and data acquisition methodologies among several adolescent cohorts in Europe, India, and China, creating a unique cross cultural dataset.