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Psychosis Research Group
[Neuropsychiatric Genetics Laboratory]

The Team
Key Developments
Future Directions
Media Links
Further Information on Psychotic Disorders


Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the major psychotic disorders, affect more than one in every hundred Irish adults. They are known to be substantially heritable but remain poorly understood. The goal of the Psychosis Research Group is to identify and investigate risk genes for psychosis as a means of improving understanding of disease biology, to develop better methods of diagnosis, and to establish new therapeutic approaches. We have been working with affected Irish people, their families and healthy volunteers since 1996 and more than 3,000 people have participated in our studies to date (see Recruitment).  Recent successes in the discovery and investigation of risk genes are beginning to translate into new insights into the molecular basis of these devastating disorders (see our Key Developments). 

The Team

We are a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, neuroscientists, psychologists, geneticists, biostatisticians and biologists. The group is lead by Prof. Aiden Corvin with Principal Investigators Prof. Michael Gill, Prof. Gary Donohoe, Prof. Derek Morris and Dr Daniela Tropea. We are based at the Department of Psychiatry and Institute for Molecular Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St Jamesís Hospital, Dublin. To expand our investigation of how risk genes function, Dr Tropea will shortly be opening a new functional biology laboratory at the TCD Biomedical Sciences Institute.

Psychosic Research Group

Our Current Staff

Prof Aiden Corvin (Group Leader)
Prof Michael Gill  (PI)
Prof Gary Donohoe (PI)
Prof Derek Morris (PI)
Dr Daniela Tropea (PI)
Dr Kristin Nicodemus (PI)
Dr Paul Cormican (Postdoctoral researcher in Bioinformatics)
Dr Elaine Kenny (Postdoctoral Researcher in Genetics/Bioinformatics)
Dr Emma Rose (Postdoctoral researcher in Neuroimaging)
Dr Heike Schmidte (Postdoctoral researcher)
Dr Carlos Pinto (Database Manager)
Dr Eric Kelleher (Clinical Research Fellow)
Denise Hogan (Clinical Research Nurse)
Christina Mooney (Clinical Research Nurse)
Catherine Delaney (Clinical Research Nurse)
Dr Ines Molinos (Research Assistant)
Stefania Bellini (PhD student)
Ciara Fahey (PhD student)
Sarah Furlong (PhD student)
April Hargreaves (PhD student)
Sinead Kelly (PhD student)
Alison Merikangas (PhD student)
Omar Mothersill (PhD student)
Deirdre Robertson (PhD student)
Dr Liz Cummings (MD student)
Carol O’Brien (Research Assistant)

Human Genome Project Image

Key Developments

As a consequence of the Human Genome Project, in the last five years we have been able to investigate genetic variation (DNA) in the genome on a scale that was previously unimaginable:

Visualisation of specific neurons and Markers of synaptic function and plasticity images

Future Directions

As technology improves and we learn more about psychosis our focus is changing. We are:


We are grateful to all our current and past participants, without whom none of this work would be possible. We are still recruiting and working with patients and their families.  The assessment involves a clinical interview and a simple blood sample. If you would like more information please let us know at (01) 8962465 or by contacting Dr Eric Kelleher at

Media Links

  1. Irish Times article (2008)
  2. Irish Independent (2008).
  3. Belfast Telegraph (2008)
  5. RTE- Mind Matters-on Schizophrenia (2007)

Further Information on Psychotic Disorders

  1. SHINE
  2. Aware
  3. NIMH

Outputs Work by the group has been published in 84 peer-reviewed articles (to October 2011) in leading journals including Nature, Nature Genetics, Archives of General Psychiatry, Molecular Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry and the British Journal of Psychiatry. Our work has been presented internationally at meetings including the World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics, the American Society for Human Genetics, the Society for Neuroscience, the European Society for Human Genetics, Keystone Meetings and the Schizophrenia International Research Society. Nationally we disseminate our findings to our participants, national advocacy networks, clinicians and the HSE.

Four students have completed their PhD projects on this programme to date.


We are currently funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) and the Health Research Board (HRB).

Last updated 4 February 2013 by School Web Administrator.