Prof David Skuse
Professorial Research Associate
Population, Policy & Practice Dept
UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
- Joined UCL
- 4th Sep 2017
Research led by David Skuse in the Behavioural and Brain Sciences Unit falls into three main themes:
First, we are now in the second phase of a 10-year national programme of research funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the Medical Research Foundation 2015-2024), which aims to identify the risk of mental health disorders among children with intellectual disabilities of genetic aetiology. Having recruited and phenotyped nearly 3500 children in the first phase, we are following them up into adolescence and early adulthood in phase two. This study has been a collaboration with the Universities of Cardiff and Cambridge. Preliminary findings attribute a similarly high risk of neurodevelopmental disorders and seizures to an unexpectedly wide range of CNVs and SNVs.
Second, in collaboration with Professor Francesco Muntoni (at GOS-ICH) and colleagues across Europe, we are investigating the prevalence and characteristics of autistic-like conditions that occur in association with Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophies (2020-2024). We are also developing novel procedures for objective phenotyping of those at highest risk, based on physiological measures of fear conditioning, which could be used to determine the effectiveness of novel gene therapies that aim to reduce the CNS correlates of mutations in the DMD gene.
Thirdly, for many years we have been engaged in the study of clinical groups with impairment of social communication, in collaboration with the clinical team in the Social Communication Disorders Clinic at Great Ormond Street Hospital. This comprises a number of genetic, cognitive and physiological studies of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our clinical experience led to the development of the 3di, the world's first computerised interview for ascertaining the probability of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Developmental, Dimensional and Diagnostic Interview) which is now used by over 2000 clinicians and researchers worldwide, in multiple translations.
Teaching activities undertaken by David Skuse and his team fall into three main categories:
First, PhD studentships, including UCL Grand Challenge and Crucible students. These are cross-cutting in concept, linking faculties and building collaborations to bring new perspectives on questions about the origins, and management, of neurodevelopmental differences.
Second, the co-organisation of the joint academic training programme for specialist registrars in child psychiatry on three rotations; Great Ormond Street and the Royal London, Imperial College and St Mary's Paddington, and the Tavistock Clinic. Together, these comprise the largest number of trainees in our speciality in the UK. We welcome Academic Clinical Fellows, several of whom have gone on to achieve Research Fellowships with the NIHR and Wellcome Trust. The training programme runs on a 3-year cycle.
Third, an MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health. This course incorporates the option for a clinical placement at Great Ormond Street Hospital or the Tavistock Clinic. It is one of only a handful of such courses in the UK, and welcomes those who are interested in a career in clinical psychology or child psychiatry, or an allied profession. Current intake is over 30 students each year.
- To be updated
- Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists | 1978
- Royal College of Physicians
- Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Physicians | 1976
- University of Manchester
- Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery | 1973
David Skuse is Professor of Behavioural and Brain Sciences at the Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Honorary Consultant in Developmental Neuropsychiatry at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He qualified in medicine at Manchester University, and subsequently trained in academic child psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley Hospital, before moving to the Institute of Child Health in 1985 where he obtained his research degree.
He devised the computerized 3di interview for Autism Spectrum Disorders, which is used by over 20 countries worldwide, many in translation. He has played a key role in the development of revised criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the 11th Revision of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases. Currently, his research is identifying rare genetic risk factors that increase the risk of psychiatric disorders, especially autism, in children with intellectual disability.
He has served on many editorial boards. Formerly Editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry; he now edits the British Journal of Psychiatry - International. He has been elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.