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Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London

King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry
MRC SGDP Centre and Child Psychiatry
16 De Crespigny Park
Denmark Hill, London, SE5 8AF

Homepage IoP
Homepage KCL

and subcontract to King’s College Hospital, Clinical Diagnostic Pathology Services, Toxicology


Project leader

Paramala Santosh, M.D., Ph.D., MRCPsych

Phone: +44(0) 0207 848 0358

Fax:  +44(0) 0207 708 5800

Project staff

Regina Sala


Regina Sala, M.D., Ph.D.

Phone: +44(0) 0207 848 0756

Fax: +44(0) 0207 708 5800

Laura Selema, MSC

Phone: +44(0) 0207 848 0479
Fax: +44(0) 0207 708 5800

Nathan Parnell, MSc, Kate Lievesyle, Frederico Fiori, Ph.D.

Phone: +44(0) 0207 848 0172

Project staff


Dr KJ Aitchison



Dr KJ Aitchison

Dr S Curran






Dr S Curran

Prof IW Craig

Dr J Mill

Dr T Price

Prof RJ Flanagan

Prof RJ Flanagan
Subcontract to King’s College Hospital, London

Institute presentation

Description of organisation:

The King’s College of London (KCL) is a leading English institute for medical research. The Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology (CIPP), a part of the Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Maudsley Hospital, London is specialized in clinical care and research in neuropsychiatric disorders such as ADHD, Autism, Tourette’s syndrome, Conduct Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bipolar Disorders, Schizophrenia and Organic Brain Syndromes including Childhood Dementias and its psychopharmacological treatment. The CIPP was specifically set up to deal with clinical and research priorities, regarding the efficacy and safety of medication treatment for psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents. This research will be co-ordinated by the CIPP and will also involve community clinics which deal with conduct disorders as well as psychosis.

Profile of staff members:

Paramala J Santosh (M.D., Ph.D., MRCPsych) is child and adolescent psychiatrist, and Head of the Centre for Interventional Paediatric Psychopharmacology (CIPP), Maudsley Hospital, and an Honorary Reader of the Institute of Child Health and Institute of Psychiatry, London. He has been involved in medication trials in children and adolescents with ADHD, Conduct Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder, and is active in measurement and health outcome research, acquired brain injury and metabolic syndromes and has published widely. Ruksana Ahmed (DClinPsych) is a neuropsychologist and a highly specialist clinical psychologist. She is involved in cognitive profiling and response to medication. Regina Sala (M.D., Ph.D.) is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and has been involved in running EU based multi-centre trials. Matthew Hollocks (Ph.D.) is a psychologist with an interested in mechanisms of psychopathology in child and adolescent psychiatry. Laura Selema (MSc) is a graduated in psychology with interest in psychopharmacology and cognitive neuropsychology. Nathan Parnell possesses a BSc (HONS) in psychology and MSc in mental health, and has a particular interest in child cognitive neuropsychology within Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Kate Lievesley is an academic researcher interested in child and adolescent development and their experience of chronic, disabling health concerns. She submits her PhD in Psychological Medicine in 2014. Federico Fiori obtained the PhD in Psychology in 2012 and he is interested in cognitive neuropsychology with a focus on the degenerative processes and residual cognitive functions in developmental disorders.

Institute presentation

Description of organisation:

KCL-IoP, affiliated to South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, has an outstanding international reputation in clinical research, especially in pioneering methods of investigating the aetiology and treatment of psychiatric disorders. Within IoP KCL, the MRC SGDP Centre is a unique multi-disciplinary institution whose goal is to bridge the gap between “nature” (genetics) and “nurture” (environment) as they interact in the development of complex human behaviour, such as suicidal behaviours. The MRC SGDP Centre Molecular Genetics Laboratory is a facility approved under the Human Tissue Act (UK), with a computerised barcoding system for sample handling, robotics, and all the relevant equipment necessary to conduct the tasks outlined in WP3, including for quantification and quality control, already serving groups both inside and outside KCL-IoP.

Previous experience:

KCL-IoP Coordinated GENDEP (Genome-based therapeutic drugs for depression), funded under the European Commission Framework 6 Programme, which was successfully completed, meeting its objectives and deliverables (http://gendep.iop.kcl.ac.uk/results.php). Moreover, there are 4 publications on suicidal behaviour which have already arisen from GENDEP.

Profile of staff members:

Dr Kathy J Aitchison BSc (Hons), MA(Oxon), BM BCh, MRCPsych, PhD is a Clinician Scientist with a PhD in Pharmacogenetics in Psychiatry,
is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta, holds the second Alberta Centennial Addiction & Mental Health Research Chair, and is on the Organising Commmittee of the Annual Pharmacogenetics in Psychiatry Meeting.  She retains an appointment at King’s College London, UK, as a Visiting Professor. As a Clinician Scientist with a PhD in Pharmacogenetics in Psychiatry (funded by a Wellcome Trust Mental Health Research Training Fellowship), she has over 15 years of experience in psychopharmacology and pharmacogenetics, including GENDEP (a successfully completed European Commission funded Integrated Project, http://gendep.iop.kcl.ac.uk/results.php). GENDEP delivered several publications on suicidal behaviour and biological mediators thereof. Dr Aitchison has developed novel measures in adverse drug reaction research (including the ANNSERS and the ASEC; Uher et al, 2009), trained raters in clinical ratings, and conducted interrater reliability studies.  Her GENDEP work included supervision of novel data analytical approaches for suicidal ideation data (Perroud and Aitchison et al, 2009; Perroud et al, 2009).

Dr Sarah Curran PhD MRCP (Paeds) MRCPsych is a Senior Lecturer in Behaviour Genetics and Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist in the Dept of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at KCL-IoP, with a PhD in Psychiatric Genetics, and on the Executive Committee of the Psychopharmacology Special Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and is a Member of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics and the American Society of Human Genetics. Her focus has been on understanding the genetic basis of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, autism and rare genetic disorders. She has collected buccal samples for DNA extraction by mail from 1,000 children between the ages of 5-15 years and holds grants in translational medicine.

Dr Jonathan Mill PhD is a Senior Lecturer in Psychiatric Epigenetics at the MRC SGDP Centre. After completion of his PhD he was awarded a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship to work at the Krembil Epigenetics laboratory in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. Jonathan moved back to KCL-IoP in September 2007 and has set up a lab dedicated to epigenomic studies of psychiatric disease, using the latest technologies. His current research includes genome-wide investigations of DNA methylation in post-mortem brain tissue for disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disorder; investigating the role of epigenetic variation in mediating phenotypic variation between genetically-identical individuals; elucidating how external environmental factors may bring about long-term changes in gene expression via epigenetic alterations; identifying novel imprinted regions of the genome, and their role in mediating parent-of-origin effects in psychiatric disorders; and exploring interactions between genotype and epigenotype.

Dr Thomas Price, PhD is a Lecturer in Statistical Genetics at the MRC SGDP Centre. His MRC-funded PhD focused on psychometric analyses of a large study of cognitive measures, and his postdoctoral work (funded by a Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship in Mathematical Biology), included the development of novel statistical approaches to high-dimensional biological data, and gaining a Distinction in an MSc in Applied Statistics (Oxford University, receiving the class prize). He completed further post-doctoral training at the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Recruited back to the IoP in 2007, his current research programme centres on translational applications of statistics, including to clinical trial data (Fries et al, 2006).

Professor Ian W Craig, PhD is Head of the Molecular Genetics Section of the MRC SGDP Centre, and was Professor in Genetics, Oxford University since 1997 and Fellow by Special Election at St Catherine’s College, and on the Council of the Human Genome Organisation, HUGO, Council (2000-2003; 2003-2006). He has participated in the development of the Genome Database, GDB, as a Chromosome Editor. Together with Dr Aitchison, he led the Genetic Association Analysis component of GENDEP, from which a number of publications have already arisen.

Research with relevance to the project:

  1. Fries S, Grosser T, Price TS, Lawson JA, Kapoor S, DeMarco S, Pletcher MT, Wiltshire T & FitzGerald GA. (2006). Marked interindividual variability in the response to selective inhibitors of cyclooxygenase-2. Gastroenterology 130:55-64.
  2. Perroud N, Uher R, Marusic A, Rietschel M, Mors O, Henigsberg N, Hauser J, Maier W, Souery D, Placentino A, Szczepankiewicz A, Jorgensen L, Strohmaier J, Zobel A, Giovannini C, Elkin A, Gunasinghe C, Gray J, Campbell D, Gupta B, Farmer AE, McGuffin P, Aitchison KJ. Suicidal ideation during treatment of depression with escitalopram and nortriptyline in GENDEP: a clinical trial. BMC Medicine, 2009, 7:60 doi:10.1186/1741-7015-7-60, with press release (see http://www.iop.kcl.ac.uk/news/?id=347). Freely downloadable from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/7/60/abstract.
  3. Mill J, Petronis A. Profiling DNA methylation from small amounts of genomic DNA starting material: efficient sodium bisulfite conversion and subsequent whole-genome amplification. Methods Mol Biol. 2009;507:371-81.
  4. Uher R, Farmer A, Maier W, Rietschel M, Hauser J, Marusic A, Mors O, Elkin A, Williamson RJ, Schmael C, Henigsberg N, Perez J, Mendlewicz J, Janzing JGE, Zobel A, Skibinska M, Kozel D, Stamp AS, Bajs M, Placentino A, Barreto M, McGuffin P, Aitchison KJ (2008). Measuring Depression: comparison and integration of three scales in the GENDEP study. Psychol Med 38:289-300 (online first 09 Oct 2007, doi: 10.1017/S0033291707001730).
  5. Uher R, Farmer A, Henigsberg N, Rietschel M, Mors O, Maier W, Kozel D, Hauser J, Souery D, Placentino A, Strohmaier J, Perroud N, Zobel A, Rajewska-Rager A, Drnovsek MZ, Larsen ER, Kalember P, Giovannini C, Barreto M, McGuffin P, Aitchison KJ. Adverse drug reactions to antidepressants in the GENDEP study. Br J Psychiatry 195:202-210. (includes the ASEC measure).
  6. Singh SP, Santosh PJ, Avasthi A, Kulhara P. (1998): A psychosocial study of 'self-immolation' in India. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. 97(1):71-5.
  7. Santosh PJ, Mandy WP, Puura K, Kaartinen M, Warrington R, Skuse DH. (2009a): The construction and validation of a short form of the developmental, diagnostic and dimensional interview. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. Mar 5. [Epub ahead of print]
  8. Gringras P, Santosh P, Baird G. Development of an Internet-based real-time system for monitoring pharmacological interventions in children with neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric disorders. Child Care Health Dev. 2006 Sep;32(5):591-600.
  9. Santosh PJ, Baird G, Pityaratstian N, Tavare E, Gringras P. Impact of comorbid autism spectrum disorders on stimulant response in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a retrospective and prospective effectiveness study. Child Care Health Dev. 2006 Sep;32(5):575-83
  10. Stringaris A, Santosh P, Leibenluft E, Goodman R. Youth meeting symptom and impairment criteria for mania-like episodes lasting less than four days: an epidemiological enquiry. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2009 Jul 22. [Epub ahead of print]
  11. Hoare P, Remschmidt H, Medori R, Ettrich C, Rothenberger A, Santosh PJ, Schmit M, Spender Q, Tamhne R, Thompson M, Tinline C, Trott GE. (2005): 12-month efficacy and safety of OROS(R) MPH in children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder switched from MPH. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 14(6):305-9.

King’s College Hospital

Description of organisation:

The Toxicology Unit, at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, King’s College Hospital offers a service for the measurement of atypical antipsychotics and other psychoactive compounds to hospitals and clinics throughout the UK and Eire, with a current workload of more than 20,000 clinical analyses per annum. Analytical facilities available include, GC, GC-MS, HPLC, HPLC-MS.

Previous experience:

Bob Flanagan is Consultant Clinical Scientist at the Toxicology Unit, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London and is Honorary Professor of Analytical Toxicology, Queen Mary, University of London. He has published over 190 scientific papers and four books. Particular interests have been analytical methods, treatment of mental illness especially as regards use of antipsychotics, notably clozapine, and the diagnosis of substance abuse, especially misuse of volatiles such as butane. He regularly advises police, Coroners, and prosecution and defence lawyers on toxicological issues, and has acted as a consultant to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime and the to World Health Organization, most recently in Serbia/Kosovo. He is a member of the Council of the British Academy of Forensic Science.
Professor Flanagan has 39 years experience of Toxicology analyses in biological fluids, and has published more than 180 papers, book chapters, etc. and is the first author of 4 books. He is an acknowledged authority on plasma antipsychotic measurements, especially clozapine, and on the clinical interpretation of results. Professor Flanagan is National Lead for toxicology training for the Association for Clinical Biochemistry and is an examiner in Toxicology for the Royal College of Pathologists.