Map showing molecular make-up of brain

Professor Seth Grant, Professor Douglas Armstrong and colleagues in Edinburgh and at the Lilly Research Centre (Surrey), have analysed the molecules produced at synapses in various parts of the brain and found that varying compositions correspond to brain functions. The team found that this map can now bridge the gap between genetic studies and findings from brain imaging. The study was based on post mortem brain tissue samples from healthy people held in the Medical Research Council’s Edinburgh Brain Bank. …

Researcher in Spotlight – Sonya Campbell

In our website feature “Researcher in Spotlight” this month we ask our researcher Sonya Campbell to tell us a bit more about herself. Could you give us a quick overview of your background and career so far? My first degree was in Health Psychology, my Masters in Cognitive Neuropsychology, and my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Since qualifying, I have worked clinically in the NHS with individuals with mental health problems, chronic long-term health issues and neurodevelopmental disorders. In 2012, I …

Fragile X Syndrome Research Workshop 2018

The Fragile X Syndrome Research Workshop will be held in Edinburgh on 21st May. This year’s workshop is a collaboration between the Fragile X Society and the Patrick Wild Centre at the University of Edinburgh. The aim of the workshop is to bring together the research community who are either currently involved in, or who are interested in, fragile X syndrome research. The aim is to promote further interactions amongst UK-based (and EU-based) researchers who investigate the condition, with a …

CDKL5 Variants: Improving our understanding of a rare neurological disorder

Dr Ralph Hector, a researcher fellow in the lab of Dr Stuart Cobb has recently had a paper published in the journal Neurology Genetics on improving our understanding of the rare neurological disorder, CDKL5. This is a study of all the genetic variants we see in the CDKL5 gene, in patients with CDKL5 deficiency and in the general population. The study, a collaboration with clinicians in Europe, USA and Australia, analysed data from recent large-scale studies in which thousands of people in …

Age-related changes detected using functional MRI in FMR1 premutation carriers

Patrick Wild Centre PhD Student Stephanie Brown and colleagues have recently published a new paper on age-related changes in FMR1 premutation carriers. The FMR1 gene is located on the X chromosome, and an expansion of the gene structure is known as the FMR1 premutation. Carriers of the FMR1 premutation may develop a disease in later life called the fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS), which involves progressive symptoms of shakiness, loss of co-ordination and learning and memory problems. The present study …

Researcher in Spotlight – Bonnie Auyeung

In our website feature “Researcher in Spotlight” this month we ask our researcher Bonnie Auyeung to tell us a bit more about herself. Could you give us a quick overview of your background and career so far? After completing my undergraduate degree in Psychology in California, I joined UCLA where I focused on developing measures of attention in children with autism spectrum conditions. From there I came to the UK, where I completed a PhD examining biological factors affecting autism …

Edinburgh Neuroscience Christmas Public Lecture

Understanding Disorders of the Developing Brain in the 21st Century – by Professor Peter Kind 13 December, 6-7pm, Anatomy Lecture Theatre Please join us for the Neuroscience Christmas Public Lecture, which will be delivered by Professor Peter Kind, Director of the Patrick Wild Centre. Autism Spectrum Disorders and Intellectual Disabilities affect 1-2% of our population yet we still have no rational therapeutic intervention to help affected individuals. Despite the current lack of medicines, novel technologies in the fields of genetics, …

‘Mini-gene’ therapy relieves features of Rett syndrome in mice

Delivering a fragment of the Rett syndrome gene, MECP2, into neurons eases features of the syndrome in mice, according to a new study by Adrian Bird and Stuart Cobb of the Patrick Wild Centre which appeared in the journal Nature. The MECP2 protein is a master regulator of other genes, and a lack of it leads to Rett syndrome. A portion of the protein is known to play a critical role in regulating other genes. Activating a ‘mini-gene’ that encodes …

Researcher in Spotlight – Cathy Abbott

The Patrick Wild Centre is starting a new regular feature on its website called “Researcher in Spotlight”, where we ask our researchers to tell us a bit more about themselves. First up is Cathy Abbott. Could you give us a quick overview of your background and career so far? I did my first degree in Pathobiology, then a PhD in Biochemical Genetics – I did the biochemistry bits at Reading University and the mouse genetics at MRC Harwell. I then …

A genetic timetable of the brain’s ageing process

Professor Seth Grant and colleagues have published a study in eLIFE suggesting the existence of a genetic programme that controls the way our brain changes throughout life. The programme controls how and when brain genes are expressed at different times in a person’s life to perform a range of functions. The timing is so precise that the researchers can tell the age of a person by looking at the genes that are expressed in a sample of brain tissue. Scientists …

Fragile X Syndrome: Educate to Empower Workshops

A series of joint workshops run by the Fragile X Society in collaboration with the Patrick Wild Centre The Patrick Wild Centre and the Fragile X Society have collaborated to produce a new resource pack for families newly diagnosed with fragile X syndrome.  To launch the pack they are conducting a series of workshops around Scotland targeted at relevant health professionals.  They aim to raise awareness of fragile X syndrome and the importance of accurate and timely diagnosis. You can …

Contrasting mechanisms underlie similar looking social differences in the autism and schizophrenia spectrums

It is well known that people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) process social information differently from typically developing individuals.  Interestingly, people with certain other conditions, including schizophrenia spectrum disorders, also show differences in their social processing.  However, it is not known whether these differences actually arise from the same underlying mechanism, i.e. whether they are the same between the conditions, or whether they just look the same.   We therefore set out to examine brain activity during social judgements in …

New study on how autism is portrayed in film and TV

Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson (Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences), along with colleagues at the University of Oslo, has recently published an article in Psychiatry Research dissecting portrayals of autism on film and TV. They found that representations of autism on screen align unrealistically-perfectly with the diagnostic criteria, making portrayals of autism archetypal, but not representative. This may be contributing to narrow stereotypes about autism, which in turn is expected to impact on the day to day experiences of people on the autism spectrum. Further …

Dr Emily Osterweil talks to BBC Radio Scotland

Dr Emily Osterweil has been talking to BBC Radio Scotland about her new research on identifying a potential new strategy for treating fragile X syndrome which was published recently in the journal Neuron. You can listen to the programme here at 48.00min. Please click here for more information on Dr Osterweil’s research. Merken

Stephen Lawrie wins Public Communication prize

Many congratulations to Professor Stephen Lawrie of the Patrick Wild Centre, who has won the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) Senior Public Communication Prize. The BAP Public Communication Prizes are awarded annually to reward excellence in both clinical and non-clinical science communication to the public in the area of psychopharmacology. Stephen won the prize for his many and varied public engagement contributions, including: ‘Mental health is…mental’ talk at the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, Edinburgh Festival Fringe August 2016 Radio 4 …

New paper from the Patrick Wild Centre

Cell-Type-Specific Translation Profiling Reveals a Novel Strategy for Treating Fragile X Syndrome. Sophie R. Thomson, Sang S. Seo, Stephanie A. Barnes,, Susana R. Louros, Melania Muscas, Owen Dando, Caoimhe Kirby, David J.A. Wyllie, Giles E. Hardingham, Peter C. Kind, Emily K. Osterweil. www.Osterlab.org The Osterweil lab has identified a potential new strategy for treating fragile x syndrome. As excessive protein synthesis is pathological in the fragile X brain, it is thought that over-produced proteins should be downregulated. In their study, they found that one …

Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson talks about autism on BBC5 live

Published

On 13 July 2017, Patrick Wild Centre Researcher Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live about autism following an interview with best-selling author David Mitchell  about his autistic son.  Sue, along with Tom Purser (Head of Campaigns at the National Autistic Society and parent to an autistic son) and parent callers, spoke about changing perceptions of autism. You can listen to the interview here: BBC Radio 5 live (13july17 – from 36:20) – [available until 12aug17]  

The Family in Residence project has been nominated for the Thelmas

Published

The Family in Residence project has been nominated for the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2017 in the category “Knowledge Exchange/Transfer Initiative of the Year”. The Family in Residence project, funded by the University of Edinburgh Innovation Initiative, has pioneered a new way to connect with stakeholders. Over 12 months the Patrick Wild Centre worked with a family, consisting of people with fragile X syndrome, carriers, and unaffected individuals, to be embedded within the Centre. During the year members …

Autism-linked condition helped by diabetes drug

A team of researchers led by Dr Christos Gkogkas from the Patrick Wild Centre, together with colleagues from McGill University and Université de Montréal, Canada, have found that a commonly used diabetes drug, Metformin, has the potential to help people with a common inherited form of autism (fragile X syndrome). Fragile X syndrome affects around 1 in 4,000 boys and 1 in 6,000 girls. It is the most common known cause of inherited intellectual disability. Affected children have developmental delays that impair …

4XTeam along the silk route

The 4XTeam – longstanding friends of The Patrick Wild Centre Gus Alusi and Reem Waines, along with their friends and family – have completed their newest adventure, which took Gus and friends along the silk route from London to Tashkent in just 17 days. The team took on a self-funded driving challenge to raise money for the Patrick Wild Centre. They were driving between eight to ten hours a day over very tough terrain. The journey covered approximately 7,000 miles …

Edinburgh March for Science

More than 2000 scientists and members of the public gathered in Edinburgh on the 22nd of April to promote and defend science. The March for Science saw them descend upon the Scottish Parliament, after starting their parade from Waterloo Place. The march ended with a series of speeches by academics. Professor Peter Kind, Co-Director of the Patrick Wild Centre, made a staunch defence of science. He said: “Our society needs and deserves a citizenry with minds wide awake and a …

£20m boost for research into the developing brain

The Simons Foundation has pledged £20 million for pioneering studies into the biological mechanisms that underpin changes in brain development associated with autism. The Simons Initiative for the Developing Brain will be based at the Patrick Wild Centre. “This is an amazing opportunity to bring together a range of scientific and clinical expertise at the University with the aim of understanding how the brain develops on multiple levels, including molecular biology, neural circuitry, genetics, behaviour and cognition. By combining these …

Paper published in Journal of Neurochemistry

Dr Emily Osterweil, a Chancellors Fellow at the Patrick Wild Centre and Dr Susana Louros have recently had a paper published in the Journal of Neurochemistry titled; Perturbed proteostasis in autism spectrum disorders. Dynamic changes in synaptic strength rely on de novo protein synthesis and protein degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). Disruption of either of these cellular processes will result in significant impairments in synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Mutations in several genes encoding regulators of mRNA translation and members of …

Family in Residence: Videos from our Family

For our Family in Residence Project we have put together a series of  2 to 3 minute videos in which the Mcdonalds talk about family life, Stuart and Matthews education, the support from the community and their experiences with Fragile X Syndrome. These videos will be shared across our community with teachers, schools and supporters to aid with teaching, understanding and raising awareness of Fragile X Syndrome. Diagnosis: Gillian and Craig Mcdonald talk about diagnosis of Stuart and Matthew with Fragile X Syndrome …

Family In Residence: Life at Peebles High

We would like to share with you this short video shot by and starring Stuart and Matthew McDonald. The McDonald family came over to the Patrick Wild Centre as part of our Family In Residence Project, to record a series of videos that will aid with our future teaching. While we had the video cameras out, the boys took turns filming and interviewing each other. With graduation from high school looming, the conversation naturally turned to their school experience. We think the result shows …

Professor Adrian Bird awarded prize for research into Rett Syndrome

The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine has been awarded to Adrian Bird, Buchanan Professor of Genetics, University of Edinburgh, UK for discovery of the genes and the encoded proteins that recognize one chemical modification of the DNA of chromosomes that influences gene control as the basis of the developmental disorder Rett syndrome. The Prize has been shared equally with  Huda Y Zoghbi  Professor of Pediatrics & Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Director of Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas …

Patrick Wild Centre researcher awarded prestigious fellowship to study potential new treatments for fragile X syndrome.

Dr Stephanie Barnes, a postdoctoral researcher in Dr Emily Osterweil’s lab at the Patrick Wild Centre, has been awarded a 2 year fellowship from FRAXA research organisation to test a potential new treatment strategy for fragile X syndrome. Stephanie will focus on a type of nerve signalling in the brain called NMDA receptor signalling which is known to be altered in fragile X syndrome.  She will test a novel treatment strategy to correct this signalling in a laboratory model of …

Celebrating Five Years of the Patrick Wild Centre with our #wildmiles Campaign.

Starting on April 16th 2016, and running for the next 12 months, we’re asking our centre members and supporters to go the extra mile to raise awareness of intellectual disabilities, autism and fragile x syndrome and our research into these. We’d like you to travel a mile under your own steam (walk, run, cycle swim, anything!), take a photo and share your wildmiles with us and the world via social media.  If possible, wearing orange, our centre colour. Watch the …