Mandy completed her PhD in Developmental Neurobiology at King’s College London. She qualified in Medicine at the University of Glasgow and trained as a psychiatrist at The Institute of Psychiatry and then in Edinburgh where she is now a Wellcome Trust Clinical Fellow and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist. Her research interests are in the clinical and molecular mechanisms underlying schizophrenia and affective disorders. Over the past several years Mandy has been investigating whether copy number variants (CNVs) contribute to susceptibility in families multiply affected with schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. Although partially effective treatments are available none are disease modifying. The relative inaccessibility of the human brain has hampered our ability to make robust connections between the genetic and cellular levels. Mandy’s research is now focused on how schizophrenia risk is conferred at a cellular level through comparative studies of neural tissue derived from individuals with and without disease-associated mutations. Her goal is to better understand the molecular pathophysiology of schizophrenia, and other neurodevelopmental disorders, using human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) as in vitro models to hopefully develop more effective therapies in future.
Mandy Johnstone writes her debut Mental Elf blog on a recent Nature study, which identifies a set of genetic variations that are strongly associated with the risk of developing schizophrenia.[read the full story...]