Members of the study

Our collaborative team is made up of senior academics and researchers from Liverpool, Reading, London and Bangalore


Professor Helen Sharp, University of Liverpool

I am Lead Investigator for the BCHADS study in the UK. I provide psychological, clinical and methodological expertise to the study. My background is in research in adult mental health, perinatal psychology, and clinical child psychology. I also jointly lead The UK Wirral Child Health and Development research study which spans the fields of perinatal psychology, parental mental health, parenting and the identification of psychological, social and biological processes involved in children’s emotional and behavioural development. Studying child development in the urban slums of Bangalore brings another set of challenges and is particularly interesting given the environmental and cultural differences between the UK and India.

In the University I teach trainee Clinical Psychologists and supervise a number of Masters and PhD research students. I also work part time as a Consultant Clinical Child Psychologist in the Parent-Infant Mental Health Service and within 0-13 CAMHS, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. In my National role as Chair of the Faculty of Perinatal Psychology, British Psychological Society I am actively involved in training other clinicians and advising on national policy and practice initiatives in perinatal and early parent-child interventions.

Dr Prabha S Chandra

I am the Principal investigator of the PRAMM and BCHAD studies and provide clinical expertise to the study. I am a perinatal psychiatrist and am a Professor of Psychiatry at NIMHANS, Bangalore. My work in addition to leading this project involves teaching MD, M.Phil and PhD trainees in psychiatry, clinical psychology and psychiatric social work. I also lead a team which runs an outpatient and inpatient perinatal psychiatry service.

Professor Jonathan Hill, School of Psychology and Clinical Language Science, University of Reading

I am co-investigator on the BCHADS study at the University of Reading and bring expertise in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to the project. I am chief investigator for the Wirral Child Health and Development Study and have a strong background in research into the developmental origins of child and adult psychopathology. Much of my work has aimed to identify disorders in ways that bring us closer to an understanding of causal processes, for example in the personality disorders. WCHADS has provided us with a major opportunity to do this in relation to conduct disorders, through the study, from pregnancy onwards, of biological, social, and psychological processes underpinning contrasting patterns of aggressive and disruptive behaviours in children. Building on current developmental and parenting research, I have proposed a ‘domains framework’ for understanding and observing family processes, as a basis for therapeutic approaches with children and their parents.

Dr. Chris Murgatroyd, School of Healthcare Science, Manchester Metropolitan University

I am Co-Investigator on the BCHADS study and am based at Manchester Metropolitan University. I bring expertise in molecular biology and epigenetics to the research team. My main interests are in the epigenetic mechanisms by which early environments can regulate behaviour and risk for stress-related disorders.

Professor Andrew Pickles, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings College London

I am Co-Investigator on the BCHADS study and am based at King’s College London. I bring developmental and statistical expertise to the research team. I am an NIHR Senior Investigator and have internationally recognised expertise in psychometrics, essential for cross-cultural behavioural research, and in the analysis of developmental data. I have edited the only text on methods for life-course epidemiology and I have taught more than a dozen courses outside the UK, including India.

Dr. Qibo Zhang, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool

Professor Atif Rahman, Institute of Life and Human Sciences, University of Liverpool

Professor Rahman is Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at University of Liverpool and he is Co-I on the BCHADS study bringing expertise in global mental health and child psychiatry. He the world’s leading authority on early maternal and child mental health interventions in low-income countries. He has extensive experience of working in South Asia, including India: He is co-PI of SHARE, the South Asian Hub for Research, Advocacy and Education in mental health, a 5-year programme funded by the NIH, USA. He is co-Director of SPRING, a 5-year programme of research on sustainable interventions for child nutrition and development in India and Pakistan, funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Manjuntha Venkataswamy, Natonal Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India

I work as an Associate Professor at Department of Neurovirology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India. My research focus includes cellular immune responses to viral infections and vaccines; pathogenesis of viral infections and investigation of immune dysregulation in psychiatric and  neurological disorders. I serve as a co-investigator in the BCHAD study.

Dr. Leonardo De Pascalis, Institute of Life and Human Sciences, University of Liverpool

I am Co-Investigator on the BCHADS. I am lecturer in Developmental Psychopathology at the School of Psychology of the University of Liverpool. My research interests focus on parent-child interactions and relationships and how they may help shape developmental trajectories. In studying this early relational context, I have focused on potential intervening factors, such as maternal and child mental health, cultural background and the quality of parenting practices. Among the latter, a particularly fruitful line of research has focused on the study of shared book reading between parents and children and the beneficial effects of this practice on child development.

Afreenbanu A Khadirnavar

I am currently working as Senior Investigator in the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study (BCHADS) and I am involved in training and supervision of staff, conducting assessments and handling administrative work related to the project. I worked as a Research Assistant in the earlier phases of the study. I am also pursuing a PhD with the Department of Psychiatric Social Work at NIMHANS and my areas of interests are women, violence and mental health, life skill education, marriage and family issues.

Dr Geetha Desai MD,PhD, Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS

I am a co-investigator of the BCHAD study. I am Professor in Psychiatry at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India. My research interests include perinatal psychiatry, women's mental health, somatization and pain. I am currently involved in the community based cohort studies involving pregnant women.

Dr.John Vijay Sagar Kommu

I am a co-investigator of the BCHAD study and as part of my role I supervise the CBCL and BITSEA administration. I completed my graduation in Medicine (MBBS) from S.V. Medical College, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India. Subsequently I did my MD in Psychiatry from NIMHANS, Bangalore. I have Post-MD work experience in prestigious medical institutions like JIPMER and CMC. I am currently working as a Full-time consultant and Additional Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Bangalore. I am also the Coordinator for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training at NIMHANS. I have funded projects from Department of Health Research, India, Indian Council of Medical Research and NIH (USA). My areas of research interest include Autism Spectrum Disorder, child sexual abuse, Life Skills education and adolescent mental health.

Dr. K Thennarasu, Department of Biostatistics, NIMHANS

I am a co-investigator in the BCHADS study and provide bio statistical perspectives to collaborating research studies. I am currently Professor and Head of the Department of Biostatistics, NIMHANS, Bengaluru. I am statistical consultant to leading research institutes and a technical consultant to National Health Mission (Kerala), India. I work and guide my research scholars on different areas of Biostatistics such as latent variable models, quantile regression, models for count data, longitudinal studies, etc. In this project, I help to understand the various mental health and developmental issues in children.

Dr. M. Thomas Kishore, Department of Clinical Psychology, NIMHANS

I am an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and consultant Clinical Psychologist in a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit and the Perinatal Psychiatry Clinic at NIMHANS, Bangalore. Besides child and adolescent mental health services, I have special interest in developmental assessments and early interventions for neuro developmental disorders. As part of the BCHADS project, I supervise the developmental assessments using Bayley scales.

Dr. Shoba Srinath

I am a senior co-investigator of the BCHAD study. I am a Professor at the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore. My areas of interest include autism, mood disorders, epidemiology and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Dr. Monojit Debnath, Department of Human Genetics, NIMHANS

I am a co-investigator of the BCHAD study. Currently, I am working as an Additional Professor of Human Genetics at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, India. My research interest is focused on Psychoneuroimmunology, where I try to understand the role of genetic and epigenetic processes involved in the regulation of aberrant immune responses in the risk and progression of neuropsychiatric disorders. Besides this, my research also includes understanding of the long-term impact of prenatal environmental adversities on brain, behavior and immunity of the offspring by developing animal model of neuropsychiatric disorders.

Dr. Preeti Jacob, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS

I am a part of the BCHADS II study, as a co-investigator. I work at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore as an Associate Professor. Much of my work is with children and families. My areas of interest include infant mental health, neurodevelopmental disorders and mood disorders.


I am employed as Senior Investigator in the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study (BCHADS) and I am currently pursuing my PhD in the area of perinatal mental health at NIMHANS. My work involves training staff, supervising assessments, and administrative responsibilities related to the project. I have been involved with the BCHAD study in the past as a Research Assistant. I have clinical work experience in the area of maternal and child mental health and these are my core areas of interest.

Research and support team

Laura Bozicevic

I am currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Reading, whilst I work as research assistant at the University of Liverpool on the BCHAD study. I joined the University of Liverpool in April 2017, to act as a link between the teams working on the Wirral Child Health and Development Study in UK and its replication in India, the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study. My current research interests focus on the identification of early risk and protective factors for childhood mental health problems, and the specific effects that culture and parenting style have on later child development. I have got expertise in the use of observational research methods and in the coding of mother-infant interactions from Western and non-Western cultures.

Aakash Bajaj

I am employed as a statistician for the BCHADS project. I help in the day to day management of the data of the project and perform the required analysis for the various reports, presentations and posters that are generated from the project data. I am also perusing my PhD in the area of latent growth mixture modelling at the Department of Biostatistics, NIMHANS under the guidance of Dr. K. Thennarasu (Co-PI for BCHADS and PRAMMS) and Dr. Prabha S. Chandra (PI for BCHADS and PRAMMS).

Matthew Bluett-Duncan

I am studying for my PhD in Clinical Psychology as part of the dual-PhD programme between NIMHANS and the University of Liverpool. I moved to Bangalore in August 2017 and I will be here for 2 years working as part of the BCHADS team before returning to the UK to complete my thesis. The primary focus of my PhD is cross-cultural comparability and I am currently developing several sets of Anchoring Vignettes for specific measures that will be used to enhance the validity of direct comparisons between BCHADS and the Wirral Child Health and Development Study (WCHADS) in the UK. This is a relatively novel, but very promising, methodology. Previous to being selected as a dual-PhD candidate I completed my MSc in Research Methods (Distinction) at the University of Liverpool in 2014. I then spent several years working as a research assistant at WCHADS, delivering assessments to parents and children on the study and liaising with class teachers as we looked to widen the scope of the study, before moving to India.

Chaithra Holla


I am a Senior Investigator in the BCHADS research project and studying for my PhD at NIMHANS. I have clinical experience in working with children. I joined the team as research assistant in 2016 and conducted the assessments with parents and their children. After I got promoted to the post of senior investigator, I have supervised the research assistants’ work and have looked after the administrative work related to the project. Currently, I have been given the additional task of coding the mother-child interaction videos, recorded for the project, for maternal sensitivity. My areas of interests are child mental health, parenting, and child abuse and neglect.

Supraja Thirumalai Ananthanpillai


I have been involved with the Bangalore Child Health and Development Study (BCHADS) as Senior Investigator since its start in 2014. I manage the overall implementation of the study at the Bangalore centre including training of staff, tracking completion of assessments, maintaining databases and coordinate the administrative tasks related to the BCHAD Study at NIMHANS along with my colleague. I am presently pursuing a PhD with the Department of Psychiatric Social Work at NIMHANS.



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