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Biography

  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, London (2019-)
  • PhD Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, London (2016-2019)
  • MSc Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (Distinction), Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London (2015-2016)
  • MSc Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology (Distinction) UCL and Yale (2013-2015)
  • BSc Psychology (First class honours) Canterbury Christchurch University (2007 - 2010)

Research overview

I am broadly interested in finding ways to integrate statistical genetic and experimental psychological approaches to understanding the aetiology of disorder development and treatment response. To date, my research has had a two-fold focus. The first is the application of statistical genetic approaches to psychiatric disorders, primarily anxiety, using large genetic datasets such as the UK Biobank. As part of my role as an analytic member of the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium Anxiety workgroup (PGC-ANX) steering committee, I am involved in efforts to gather together genomic samples from studies around the world to maximise power for genetic discovery in anxiety disorder. 

A parallel strand of my research has involved the development and validation of a smartphone application for the administration of a fear conditioning paradigm remotely. This Fear Learning and Anxiety Response (FLARe) app has already been used to administer a fear conditioning paradigm (an experiment that models the development of anxiety and response to exposure-based treatments) to over 2,000 individuals in the TEDS study. This will allow me to investigate the role of genes and the environment on these anxiety relevant processes, and compare these findings with those derived from more traditional statistical genetic investigations.

Awards

  • UCL/Yale Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology award for best MSc research thesis (2015/2016)
  • Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung prize (2017)
  • Lundbeck, J&J & Illumina travel award (Pathways to drugs, 2018)
  • WCPG best lightning talk award (Glasgow, 2018)
  • Cohen's Veterans Travel Support (PGC-PTSD meeting, 2019)
  • BGA student travel award (2019)
  • BGA Thompson award for an outstanding paper delivered by an associate member (2019)

Summary statistics

Here is the link to the downloadable summary statistics for the primary lifetime anxiety analysis and meta-analysis of lifetime anxiety disorders from our manuscript published in Molecular Psychiatry using the UK Biobank (Purves et al., 2019). Please note the README file.