Professor Michael Owen PhD FRCPsych FMedSci.
Professor Michael Owen is the Director of the Medical Research Council’s Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics and of the Cardiff University Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute as well as being Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences in Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. He has held several senior roles in the School of Medicine and Cardiff University and is currently Deputy Head of the School of Medicine.
His research focuses on the genetics of major psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and depression. His work has used a combination of molecular genetic approaches including genome-wide association, copy number variant analysis and second generation sequencing to identify the specific genetic variants that confer risk to psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. In recent years his group has identified novel genetic risk factors for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. This has allowed him to study the impact of genetic risk factors across diagnostic boundaries and to influence contemporary attempts to re-define the boundaries of major mental disorders. His recent work on schizophrenia has identified shared genetic risk with other psychiatric disorders and points to the involvement of specific synaptic proteins in disease pathogenesis. As well as continuing his work on psychiatric genetics, he is currently establishing research programmes aimed at translating recent genetic findings into a greater understanding of disease mechanisms and into the development of novel biomarkers to aid classification and diagnosis.
In recognition of his achievements Professor Owen was elected to Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1997 and to Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1999. In 2011, he was awarded the Stromgren Medal for psychiatric research, in 2012 the Lieber Prize for schizophrenia research and in 2013 the William K Warren Distinguished Investigator Award for schizophrenia research. He has published over 600 scientific papers. In addition, he continues to work as a Consultant in General Adult Psychiatry. He was President of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (2000-2005) and was a member of the council of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2001-2004).