Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine
Centre for Genomic & Experimental Medicine

David Porteous Research Group

Identification of risk factors, disease processes and new treatments for common genetic disorders

Section Head: Medical Genetics

Professor David Porteous - Professorial Research Fellow

Research in a Nutshell

How do genes (nature) and the environment (nurture) influence our life course and our health? Our lifestyle (exercise, diet, smoking, drinking) have a direct effect, but apart from these few examples it is hard to measure and monitor our environment and draw conclusions about their influence. By contrast, it is now possible to test our genes with great accuracy, all 20,000 of them. This is the idea behind Generation Scotland in which 24,000 participants from 7,000 families are being studied for how their health and that of their relatives relates to their genes and lifestyle. This work is supported by the Edinburgh Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility Genetics Core which we set up in 1999 to support all medical researchers asking genetic questions.

Our main research focus is on psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression. These are serious and poorly treated brain disorders, collectively affecting a quarter of the population. We have identified several genes which influence the development of these disorders, with the aim that this type of genetics-led research will improve our knowledge, understanding, conceptualisation and treatment of these conditions. 

Research in a Nutshell

Generation Scotland staff 2017


Professor David Porteous Principal Investigator
Rachel Edwards Generation Scotland Administrator
Archie Campbell Generation Scotland Project Manager




  • Professor Ian Deary, University of Edinburgh 
  • Professor Andrew McIntosh, University of Edinburgh 
  • Dr Kathy Evans, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Kirsty Millar, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Pippa Thomson, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Kristen Nicodemus, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Riccardo Marioni, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Richard McCombie, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, NY, USA

Partners and Funders

  • UK Medical Research Council
  • Chief Scientist's Office, Scotland
  • Wellcome Trust
  • National Institutes of Mental Health

Scientific Themes

Population health genetics; psychiatric genetics.

Technology Expertise

Genetics and genome science.