Mental Health and Neuroscience Research Group

Research

We are investigating the basic mechanisms defining how nature and nurture (gene & environment interactions) combine to shape our behaviour, mental health and ageing.

These parameters often result in changes in gene expression in response to our environment, which are both psychological and physiological. These changes can result in a ‘molecular scar’ that results in differences in CNS function in both the medium and long term.

Our focus is on the mechanisms of such gene regulation in both health and disease; we conduct miRNA, epigenetic and transcriptome studies overlaid on the polymorphic variation observed in the genome in clinically relevant cohorts to determine fundamental mechanism underlying the clinical observations. Our research is carried out in collaboration across several institutes in Liverpool and more widely in international collaborations.

Our research interests are focused on molecular, cellular and genetic approaches to better understand human behaviour and mental health. Many of our studies access clinical data from groups outside the Institute of Translational Medicine. A flavour of these studies is given below.

We are part of a multicentre study centred in Liverpool to identify early social, emotional and biological risks and processes involved in the development of childhood conduct problems. Wirral Child Health and Development Study: First Steps.

Professor John Quinn has Associate membership of the MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at Kings College, London. This has enabled a long term collaboration of Professor Quinn and Dr Bubb with that Centre to address the molecular mechanisms underpinning CNS conditions such as complex psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

Ageing research is performed with the Centre for Clinical and Cognitive Neurosciences, within the Institute of Brain Behaviour and Mental Health and the Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research (CIGMR) in Manchester with Drs Payton and Pendleton.