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Enhancing Neuroimaging Genetics through Meta-analysis (ENIGMA): Antisocial Behaviour working group

   School of Psychology

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  Dr S De Brito, Assoc Prof Graeme Fairchild  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

ENIGMA is an international collaborative effort that brings together over 1400 researchers across 43 countries to better understand brain structure, function, health and disease, based on meta-/mega-analyses of brain imaging and genetic data (http://enigma.ini.usc.edu). There are currently over 50 active ENIGMA working groups covering various fields within psychiatry and neuroscience (see our recent review here). We have recently set-up the ENIGMA Antisocial Behaviour working group on which the student will work. Despite notable advances in recent years, the overall impact and replicability of work in this field has been limited by small sample sizes and heterogeneous participant characteristics, imaging acquisition methods, and data analysis techniques. The harmonized meta-analytical approach of ENIGMA allows one to address these challenges more adequately, gain deeper insights into underlying pathophysiology, and generate more reproducible and generalizable findings.

The ENIGMA Antisocial Behavior initiative will focus on data covering the entire lifespan; this includes structural and functional MRI data on Conduct Problems/Disorder in youths, as well as Antisocial Personality Disorder/Psychopathy in adults (http://enigma.ini.usc.edu/ongoing/enigma-antisocial-behavior/). Analyses will not only be focused on disorders and categorical approaches, but also dimensional approaches where neuroimaging/genetics data that can be linked to dimensional measures indexing externalizing behaviors and environmental risk factors (e.g., early childhood adversity) in both clinical/forensic and community samples. The student working on this project will have the opportunity to liaise and network with researchers across the globe. There will be opportunities for training at the ENIGMA headquarter at the University of Southern California as well as with our ENIGMA collaborators in the Netherlands. The project will combine and train the student in methods from psychology, neuroimaging, and computer/data science, which together will put this project at the forefront of research on antisocial behaviour.

Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:

Advanced multivariate analyses (e.g., machine learning)
Structural and functional MRI
Meta-analysis and mega-analysis of MRI data

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded by the BBSRC MIBTP scheme: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mibtp/pgstudy/phd_opportunities/

****IMPORTANT: Please read the eligibility criteria: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/mibtp/pgstudy/application/
International students will still have to pay for their own visas and a healthcare surcharge which is approximately £2500.

***IMPORTANT*** Prior to submitting a PhD application to the University of Birmingham, all interested candidates should first contact Dr De Brito at [Email Address Removed]. Following this, only applicants with the most competitive CV will be requested to submit a PhD application using the University of Birmingham on-line application system. Candidates should submit a personal statement, CV, 2 references, and transcript of grades.

Deadline: January 20, 2023


Fairchild, G., […], De Brito, S. A. (2019). Nat Rev Dis Primers. 27;5(1):43.


Bearden and Thompson (2017). Neuron. 94(2): 232 – 236

Rogers and De Brito (2016). JAMA Psychiatry 73(1):64-72

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