Medical Research Scotland is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent research charities in Scotland. Unlike most medical research charities, our funding isn't restricted to any one disease or condition, we support high-quality research that aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all diseases and disease mechanisms.
Awards in the past 20 years
The following are some of the awards we made for research into psychiatric disease.
£149,861 to Dr Bing Lang, Dr Sanbing Shen & Professor Colin D. McCaig (Institute of Medical Sciences, Aberdeen University) and Dr Colin Smith (Pathology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh), for a three-year project aiming to uncover novel biomarkers for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder affect 1 in 50 people. No effective medication is available and current antipsychotic drugs often have unpleasant side-effects. This project aims to explain aspects of abnormal brain development in schizophrenia and identify new biomarkers which may be useful in future drug development.
£97,672 over 30 months to Dr Andrew C. Stanfield and colleagues Professors Eve Johnstone and Stephen M. Lawrie (all of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Edinburgh) and Professor Peter M. McKenna (Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Glasgow), for a clinical, neuropsychological and MRI study comparing autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
The diagnosis of most psychiatric diseases is based on the patient's signs and symptoms, many of which are not specific to a particular disorder, so cannot be made with certainty. This can have important consequences for patient management. This project aims to find markers which will help to distinguish between the similar clinical signs and symptoms of schizophrenia and autism, with a view to improving diagnosis in these conditions.
The second Medical Research Scotland/Mrs Mary Tyson Fellowship was awarded to Dr Anna Sutherland (Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Glasgow) for her project entitled: "Perceived interpersonal threat as a unifying psychological model in Cluster B personality disorder".
Personality disorders are particularly difficult to treat and have significant social and economic costs. The aim of this project is to develop an effective, evidence-based cognitive model to improve clinical intervention aimed at reducing the antisocial and self-harming behaviours characteristic of these personality disorders.
The Medical Research Scotland/Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 2006-08 was awarded to Dr Marie-Astrid Pezze (Centre for Cognitive & Neural Systems, University of Edinburgh) for her project entitled "Dopamine signalling from the ventral tegmental area to the hippocampus, novelty, and memory encoding: investigating the substrates of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia".
This work will identify possible links between the effects of current treatments for, and the memory impairment associated with, schizophrenia.
£58,637 over one year to Dr Jonathan T.O. Cavanagh (Psychological Medicine, Glasgow University), Professor David Wyper & Dr Jim Patterson (Clinical Physics, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow) for a SPECT study of the ratio of dopamine transporter to serotonin transporter in treatment-resistant compared with treatment-responsive depression.
In up to 30% of cases, depression is resistant to conventional treatment. This research will study the ratios of uptake of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin in the brains of treatment-responsive and resistant depression to understand how the brain responds.
£99,278 over three years to Dr Joanne K. Miller & Professor David Porteous (Medical Genetics, Edinburgh University) to carry out a functional analysis of a candidate schizophrenia gene, disrupted by a chromosomal translocation in patients with schizophrenia.
DISC1 is one of the few genes known to increase a person's susceptibility of developing schizophrenia. However, its normal function is unknown so this research will investigate this and consider the normal signalling pathways it is involved in.
£69,664 over two years to Drs Benjamin S. Pickard & Walter J. Muir and Professor Douglas H.R. Blackwood (Psychiatry) and Professor David Porteous (Molecular Medicine Centre, Edinburgh University) for a study combining fluorescence in situ hybridisation with molecular bio-informatics to isolate genes for psychiatric illness.
Using modern biological techniques and molecular bioinformatics this research will study the genes associated with psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia.
£43,000 over 14 months to Drs Gerome D. Breen & David St Clair (Mental Health, Aberdeen University) to investigate the role of single nucleotide polymorphisms in the pharmacogenetics and genetics of mood disorders.
Even small changes in genetic sequences can have an impact upon health and the body's response to drugs. This research will look at such a small change and its role in mood disorders.
£30,391 to Dr Kieran Breen (Pharmacology, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee) for a one-year study of the role of Tau protein glycosylation in the generation of neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer's Disease.
£101,434 to Dr Neil P. Prentice (Brain Metabolism Unit) and Professor Eve C. Johnstone (Psychiatry, Royal Edinburgh Hosptial) for a three-year study of the early and late onset of depressive illness in the elderly.