My overarching interest is in the role of genetic and environmental risk factors in the development of neurodevelopmental disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. In my work I employ a translational approach to study how genetic and environmental factors enhance risk for mental illness. I am particularly interested in how identified penetrant genetic risk factors affect plasticity and basic learning processes in the brain, abnormalities in which underlie the key symptoms seen in a range of mental health problems.
Our current work is focussed on a range of synaptic genes and modulation of their expression and function during learning and in illness. Overall I believe that understanding of how genetic risk factors influence the brain and how these responses are modulated by environmental stimuli is crucial to the development of new treatments for psychiatric illness. In addition to my pre-clinical work I also conduct clinical work and research in the fields of adult neurodevelopmental disorders and early psychosis.