Brain Sciences


Research Themes

Below is a description of Human Genomics research themes that bring together researchers across UCL working in areas of shared interest. Disciplinary Themes represent the primary fields in which our affiliated researchers have expertise, while Cross-Cutting Themes are common areas of interest that intersect across disciplines. 

Disciplinary themes

Psychiatric genetics

Psychiatric genetics focuses on leveraging genetic data not only to understand the genetic basis of psychiatric conditions but also biological pathways leading to those conditions. Researchers at UCL genomics covers a broad range of conditions such as depression, schizophrenia and neurodevelopmental disorders.  

Genetics and society

Led by Dr David Bann and Professor Neil Davies. Genetics and Society brings together interdisciplinary research at the intersections between genetics and social science, seeking to address the biggest challenges facing both fields. This new area of research spans genetics, quantitative social science, sociogenomics, psychology, economics, epidemiology, demography, and health data science. This theme also seeks to tackle ethics, the troubled history of genetics and the public understanding of human genomics. The overarching aim is to ensure that genetic research benefits society. 


Genomics is extensively utilized to better diagnose, understand and treat neurological diseases. For research at UCL, see https://www.neurogenetics.co.uk/.

Cardiovascular science

Led by Dr. Floriaan Schmidt. Genomics can be used in the field of cardiovascular science to identify and validate new drug targets as a tool for disease prediction and stratification.  See https://www.ucl.ac.uk/cardiovascular/research/population-science-and-experimental-medicine/centre-translational-genomics 

Rare diseases

UCL has extensive research into rare genetic diseases covering both research into the identification of novel disease genes and translation into new therapies. See https://www.ucl.ac.uk/child-health/research/genetics-and-genomic-medicine/

UCL Genomics core facility 

UCL Genomics is a collaborative research facility with expertise in state-of-the-art genomic technologies, project design and data analysis, which has operational for over 20 years. More details at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/child-health/research/genetics-and-genomic-medicine/ucl-genomics

Cross-cutting themes

Statistical genetics

This crosscutting theme gathers researchers who actively contribute to method development in statistical genetics as well as help the community to keep abreast of new developments.  


Led by Dr Chris Finan. This group builds on the work of researchers across UCL who are developing bioinformatics pipelines of relevance to human genomics. An important aim is to streamline access to pipelines and datasets. 

Drug development  

Led by Professor Jean-Baptiste Pingault. Drug development is often costly and inefficient, partly because of inadequate preclinical evidence. Genomics offer new avenues for better understanding molecular mechanisms leading to diseases and prior prioritising drug targets, including for repurposing.   

Personalised medicine

Tailoring treatments to individuals is essential to increase response and compliance, particularly in areas where treatment response is low (e.g. psychiatry). The theme focuses on leveraging genomics to improve clinical care.