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The University of Edinburgh: Psychiatry

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department School of Clinical Sciences
Study type Research


The Division of Psychiatry is internationally recognised for its research and teaching.

We focus on the mechanisms underlying the development of major psychiatric disorders, including:

  • autism and learning difficulties

  • bipolar disorder

  • depression and mood disorders

  • dementia

  • schizophrenia

  • cognition and behaviour

Research expertise

We have a particular expertise in longitudinal, clinical and biological studies of clinical and population-based cohort studies of people with or at high risk of mental disorders. The studies we have recruited or have worked on include:

  • Edinburgh High Risk Studies of young people at high genetic cognitive risk for schizophrenia

  • bipolar disorder and other related conditions

  • Generation Scotland - a family and population-based study of 24,000 individuals recruited from the general population of Scotland.

  • UK Biobank - a UK- and population-based study of more than half a million people from across England, Wales and Scotland

In psychiatric genetics, we take part in international genome-wide association studies of psychiatric disorders - including the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC) and ENIGMA that seeks to identify the genetic causes of psychiatric disorders.

Our work then utilities the findings in order to identify the environmental risk factors and neurobiological mechanisms of mental disorders, using genetic factors as causal anchors.

Research methods

Our work relies on a number of genomic technologies, including:

  • genome-wide association studies (GWAS)

  • DNA sequencing

  • DNA methylation and expression analysis

  • proteomics

  • structural and functional neuroimaging

In collaboration with others, we also work on stem-cell, cultured tissue (including organoids) and in vivo models of psychiatric disorders and we are also involved in a number of clinical trials of novel interventions.

Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences

The Division of Psychiatry is a part of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences (CCBS) in the Edinburgh Medical School. CCBS integrates laboratory and clinical research to study the causes, consequences and treatment of major brain disorders.

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

MSc (Res)

Edinburgh. Extraordinary futures await.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 22nd in the 2024 QS World University Rankings.

Our position as one of Britain’s leading research universities was reaffirmed by the results of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF). The University of Edinburgh is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, ranked 4th in the UK for research power (Times Higher Education, Overall Ranking of Institutions), with 90% of our research activity classified as world leading or internationally excellent in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.

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