Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.
The Conversation logo

People with schizophrenia can experience psychosis, a condition in which they perceive the world very differently to those around them. They may see or hear things that others cannot or hold beliefs that others find bizarre. These experiences can be distressing for those experiencing them, as well as for their families and friends. Current treatments are inadequate: they do not work for all and can lead to unpleasant side effects. But attempts to improve this are hampered by our limited understanding of schizophrenia’s biological basis.

There is no single factor that causes schizophrenia, but we know that genes are important. But neither is there a “schizophrenia gene”. Instead, many hundreds of genes act in concert to subtly increase or decrease how likely we are to become ill, given the environment in which we find ourselves.

In the last ten years, geneticists have begun to uncover the specifics of these complex relationships by identifying precisely which genes are linked with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. For neurobiologists like me, the discovery of these genes is exciting. This information provides new clues as to which molecules and cell signalling pathways might be altered in these conditions.

Read the full article on The Conversation website, written by Dr Elizabeth Tunbridge, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry.

Oxford is a subscribing member of The ConversationFind out how you can write for The Conversation.

Similar stories

New form of gift wrap drives male reproductive success

General Research

A study from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) has identified a new communication mechanism that ensures the transfer of a complex mix of signals and nutrients required for successful reproduction between males and females.

PRINCIPLE trial finds antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline not generally effective treatments for COVID-19

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

In March 2020, the UK-wide Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 In older people (PRINCIPLE) trial was established as a flexible, platform randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19 that might be suitable for use in the community to help people recover more quickly and prevent the need for hospital admission. The trial is one of three national platform trials for COVID-19 treatments, and complements the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trials that focus on hospitalised patients.

Early animal studies yield promising results for new potential COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

Studies carried out in the MRC Human Immunology Unit (MRC HIU) in collaboration with the Pirbright Institute have shown that a new potential vaccine against COVID-19, named RBD-SpyVLP, produces a strong antibody response in mice and pigs, providing vital information for the further development of the vaccine. Although this type of vaccine is not a competitor for the first wave of vaccines, it is hoped that it will be useful as a standalone vaccine or as a booster for individuals primed with a different COVID-19 vaccine.

Just over half of British Indians would take COVID vaccine

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

University of Oxford researchers from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) and the Department of Psychiatry, in collaboration with The 1928 Institute, have published a major new study on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s largest BME population.

Investigating New Treatment for Schizophrenia

General Innovation Research

A partnership between University of Oxford, the Earlham Institute, and the global pharmaceutical companies Biogen Inc and Boehringer Ingelheim is announced today to investigate a new drug target for the treatment of schizophrenia.