Project ID NS-MH2024_19

ThemeNS-MH

Co Supervisor 1A Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry CentreWebsite

Co Supervisor 1B Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, School of Mental Health & Psychological Sciences, Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry CentreWebsite

environMENTAL influences on mental and brain health: neurobiological biomarkers for prediction and stratification of mental illness

Mental illnesses account for almost 30% of the disease burden among non-communicable diseases worldwide. In the last decades environmental changes have severely altered living conditions also affecting the mental health of the population. However, the concrete impact of these changes as well as their molecular and neurobiological mechanisms remain unclear. In the absence of this knowledge, it has not been possible to identify risk factors and to develop targeted interventions to prevent and treat mental illnesses.
environMENTAL, a EU and Innovate UK funded project, investigates how the environment affects mental and brain health during the lifespan. The environMENTAL consortium has committed itself to five central project objectives that will lead to the development of objective biomarkers and evidence-based interventions that will significantly improve outcomes of environmentally related mental illness.

This PhD project will be embedded in its Objective 3: “Establishment of quantitative neurobiological biomarkers for prediction and stratification of environmentally-related mental illness”.
Specifically, the student will make use of already collected data from population and clinical cohorts to identify
predictive biomarkers for the risk, onset, and progression of symptoms of common mental illness, including eating disorders, depression and substance abuse using statistical analyses that accommodate longitudinal data. Data available for analyses include cognitive and behavioural data, clinical symptoms, neuroimaging and multi-omics data (genetics, epigenetics, gene expression and proteomics).

Objectives:
Year 1:
a. Familiarize themselves with the neurobiological basis of mental disorders and our databases
b. Generate a review synthesizing our current knowledge of the pathophysiology of mental illness from evidence from neuroimaging, neurocognitive, and genetic studies, and their influence by environmental factors.
c. Refine research questions and learn analytical skills appropriate to the project, such as advanced statistics, neuroimaging or ‘omics data analysis.
Years 2-3: Run analyses and draft papers.
Years 3-4: Finalise analyses and submit thesis.

Representative Publications

Chao Xie, Shitong Xiang, Chun Shen, Xuerui Peng, Jujiao Kang, Yuzhu Li, Wei Cheng, Shiqi He, Marina Bobou, M. John Broulidakis, Betteke Maria van Noort, Zuo Zhang, Lauren Robinson, Nilakshi Vaidya, Jeanne Winterer, Yuning Zhang, Sinead King, Tobias Banaschewski, Gareth J. Barker, Arun L. W. Bokde, Uli Bromberg, Christian Büchel, Herta Flor, Antoine Grigis, Hugh Garavan, Penny Gowland, Andreas Heinz, Bernd Ittermann, Hervé Lemaître, Jean-Luc Martinot, Marie-Laure Paillère Martinot, Frauke Nees, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, Tomáš Paus, Luise Poustka, Juliane H. Fröhner, Ulrike Schmidt, Julia Sinclair, Michael N. Smolka, Argyris Stringaris, Henrik Walter, Robert Whelan, Sylvane Desrivières, Barbara J. Sahakian, Trevor W. Robbins, Gunter Schumann, Tianye Jia, Jianfeng Feng, IMAGEN Consortium, STRATIFY/ESTRA Consortium & ZIB Consortium*. A shared neural basis underlying psychiatric comorbidity. Nature Medicine. 2023 Apr 24. doi: 10.1038/s41591-023-02317-4.

Yan Sun, Tianye Jia, Edward D Barker, Di Chen, Zuo Zhang, Jiayuan Xu, Suhua Chang, Guangdong Zhou, Yun Liu, Nicole Tay, Qiang Luo, Xiao Chang, Tobias Banaschewski, Arun L W Bokde, Herta Flor, Antoine Grigis, Hugh Garavan, Andreas Heinz, Jean-Luc Martinot, Marie-Laure Paillère Martinot, Eric Artiges, Frauke Nees, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, Tomáš Paus, Luise Poustka, Sarah Hohmann, Sabina Millenet, Juliane H Fröhner, Michael N Smolka, Henrik Walter, Robert Whelan, Lin Lu, Jie Shi, Gunter Schumann, Sylvane Desrivières (2023). Associations of DNA Methylation With Behavioral Problems, Gray Matter Volumes, and Negative Life Events Across Adolescence: Evidence From the Longitudinal IMAGEN Study Biological Psychiatry. 93:342-351. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.06.012

Zuo Zhang, Lauren Robinson, Tianye Jia, Erin Burke Quinlan, Nicole Tay, Congying Chu, Edward D Barker, Tobias Banaschewski, Gareth J Barker, Arun L W Bokde, Herta Flor, Antoine Grigis, Hugh Garavan, Penny Gowland, Andreas Heinz, Bernd Ittermann, Jean-Luc Martinot, Argyris Stringaris, Jani Penttilä, Betteke van Noort, Yvonne Grimmer, Marie-Laure Paillère Martinot, Corinna Isensee, Andreas Becker, Frauke Nees, Dimitri Papadopoulos Orfanos, Tomáš Paus, Luise Poustka, Sarah Hohmann, Juliane H Fröhner, Michael N Smolka, Henrik Walter, Robert Whelan, Gunter Schumann, Ulrike Schmidt, Sylvane Desrivières. Development of disordered eating behaviors and comorbid depressive symptoms in adolescence: neural and psychopathological predictors. Biological Psychiatry. 2021 Dec 15;90(12):853-862. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2020.06.003

Meehan AJ, Lewis SJ, Fazel S, Fusar-Poli P, Steyerberg EW, Stahl D, Danese A. (2022) Clinical prediction models in psychiatry: a systematic review of two decades of progress and challenges. Mol Psychiatry. 27:2700-8 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-022-01528-4

Meehan, A. J., Latham, R. M., Arseneault, L., Stahl, D., Fisher, H. L., & Danese, A. (2020). Developing an individualized risk calculator for psychopathology among young people victimized during childhood: A population-representative cohort study. Journal of affective disorders, 262, 90–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2019.10.034 3.

Rocha, T. B., Fisher, H. L., Caye, A., Anselmi, L., Arseneault, L., Barros, F. C., Caspi, A., Danese, A., Gonçalves, H., Harrington, H. L., Houts, R., Menezes, A., Moffitt, T. E., Mondelli, V., Poulton, R., Rohde, L. A., Wehrmeister, F., & Kieling, C. (2021). Identifying Adolescents at Risk for Depression: A Prediction Score Performance in Cohorts Based in 3 Different Continents. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 60(2), 262–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2019.12.004