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Stratification of response to treatment in schizophrenia

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  • Full or part time
    Prof T Bjourson
    Dr E Murray
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

About This PhD Project

Project Description

Schizophrenia is a debilitating disorder characterized by positive, negative and cognitive symptoms.
Affecting approximately 1% of the population worldwide, schizophrenia places significant burden on society
through direct healthcare costs and indirect costs associated with loss of productivity (1-2).
Schizophrenia is treated with antipsychotic medications but there is a high level of inter-individual variability
in treatment efficacy and adverse events (3). In fact, only 50% of patients respond to initial treatment with
antipsychotic medications and clinicians rely on a trial and error approach to determine the most effective
treatment for a particular individual.
There is growing evidence that inflammation is implicated in the aetiology of schizophrenia and that
circulating cytokine levels are predictive of treatment response (4-6). Genetic and epigenetic variation may
also play a role in determining antipsychotic response, including changes in genes with known immune
function (7-8).
The goal of this PhD project is to stratify patients based on their response to treatment to determine
whether there are clinical, genetic/epigenetic and inflammatory profiles that are associated with treatment
outcome, and whether these profiles can be used to predict treatment response at the time of diagnosis.

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