My Background

My first degrees were in Experimental Psychology, from the University of Oxford and University of London (UCL); my PhD was from the SGDP, Institute of Psychiatry, KCL, under the mentorship of Pak Sham.

After completeing a Fellowship at the Whitehead Institute with Mark Daly (sponsored by the UK Medical Research Council), I joined the Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit (PNGU) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston, where I worked closely with Pamela Sklar and Jordan Smoller. While at MGH, my primary focus was in neuropsychiatric genetics, working with many colleagues from MGH — especially the Center for Human Genetic Research (CHGR), the Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit (ATGU) — as well as the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT.

The main projects centered around developing statistical and computational tools for the design of genetic studies, the detection of gene variants influencing complex human traits and the dissection of these effects in the larger context of other genetic and environmental factors. We also worked on whole genome association and exome sequencing studies of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Listed here are some of our main manuscripts describing our work, which included developing widely-used software packages such as PLINK, and undertaking several landmark genome-wide association studies of neuropsychiatric disease.

Current affiliations

I am now primarily based in the Department of Psychiatry at Brigham & Women's Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. I also have a secondary appointment at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, within the Division of Psychiatric Genomics in the Departments of Psychiatry and Genetics and Genomic Sciences.

Current goals

The focus of my new lab at BWH is to initiate a Program in Sleep and Neuropsychiatric Genetics, dedicated to understanding the links between sleep, behavior, cognition and psychiatric disease, using human genetic and computational approaches.

A better understanding of these links may provide opportunities for precision medicine and targeted interventions in neuropsychiatric disease. To achieve this, however, it will first be necessary to achieve a series of goals, which collectively constitute the current mission of my lab:

  1. to better characterize normal and abnormal variation in sleep
  2. to determine the genetic basis of this variation
  3. to elucidate the causal genetic and environmental networks that span individual differences in sleep and health