speaker: Dr Kathy Evans
(Institute of Genetics & Molecular Medicine, The University of Edinburgh)
room: Lecture Theatre
see also: additional details
Dr Evans investigates mechanisms which underlie susceptibility to major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Psychiatric illness is an important area of research: these conditions are common; highly disabling; disease mechanisms are very poorly understood and current treatments are inadequate.
There is a clear genetic component to major mental illness, as demonstrated by family, twin and adoption studies. Identification of the genetic variants and pathways responsible for disease susceptibility is, however, limited to few specific factors. In addition, the less-than-perfect concordance in monozygotic twins also suggests an important role for environmental factors in pathogenesis.
Dr Evans' talk will shed light on our understanding of the causes of major mental illness by addressing the following research questions:
- What are the genes & biological pathways responsible for susceptibility to illness? What does functional investigation of the genes and pathways tell us about cellular mechanisms?
- Is variation in gene expression level key to disease susceptibility? What is the role of epigenetics in disease development?
- Can we use all of this knowledge to develop biomarkers and ultimately improve drug treatments for illness?