The PIPs Study: Proteins of the Immune system in Psychosis

The human brain continues to develop well into young adulthood. This development is characterised by white matter growth and the elimination and refinement of synaptic connections (called synaptic pruning). Research has demonstrated that the immune system and the environment shape brain developmental processes. Alteration in brain development may also confer risk for psychiatric illness, including psychosis. The ‘Proteins of the Immune system in Psychosis’ (PIPs) study combines multimodal neuroimaging, blood and cerebrospinal fluid, and phenotypic assessment in young adults in the general community to understand factors that impact individual differences in brain development and risk for psychosis. PhD students will have the opportunity to develop a project examining independent or interactive associations between the environment, immune proteins, subclinical psychosis and brain development (as inferred from neuroimaging). Students will have the opportunity to be involved in participant recruitment and assessment. This project is suitable for applicants with an undergraduate degree in biomedicine, biological science, psychology, neuroscience, health sciences or related discipline.

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