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AMBER : Antidepressant Medications: Biology, Exposure & Response


The AMBER study (Antidepressant Medications: Biology, Exposure & Response) is funded by Wellcome in a Mental Health Award to identify the causal determinants of antidepressant response (2023-2028). Our programme of genetic, informatic and cellular work will give insights into the ‘active ingredients’ of anti-depressants and infer how these drugs can better be used to treat depression. Our research will be carried out in collaboration with people with lived experience to increase trust, facilitate research that is relevant and important to patients, and improve dissemination and impact.

King’s investigators, Cathryn Lewis and Oliver Pain, will work in collaboration with researchers at the University of Edinburgh (Andrew McIntosh, Heather Whalley, Sue Fletcher-Watson) and the University of Queensland (Sonia Shah, Quan Nguyen, Naomi Wray) to achieve this ambitious project.


Our overall aims are to:

  • Develop measures of antidepressant exposure and response from NHS electronic health records, linked to research studies and genomic datasets.
  • Provide large, publicly available genome-wide association study datasets of antidepressant exposure and response.
  • Provide association study datasets of antidepressant exposure and genomic markers (DNA methylation, protein expression, metabolites).
  • Use these genomic association datasets to improve our mechanistic understanding of antidepressant actions and response.
  • Test the results from our genetic studies in experimental cell-based in vitro models.



Project status: Starting

Principal Investigator


  • Oliver Pain

    Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute