Professor Bill Fitzgerald

Professor Bill Fitzgerald

+44 (0) 1223 332719

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is often not expressed until late adolescence. It is possible that children showing a predisposition for Schizophrenia, if identified, could be treated to ameliorate the effects. A vast amount of data from the analysis of blood and spinal fluid samples from people with and without schizophrenia, together with the related demographic information is now available. The data has been derived from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and Mass Spectroscopy.

We are applying signal processing techniques to analyse this data, to determine whether any genetic markers are present which indicate a propensity for a person to develop schizophrenia in later life. The use of such techniques is known as 'bioinformatics'. It is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. The 'markers' are likely to be in the form of abnormal proteins.

As well as analysing the data to determine whether such protein markers exist and what they are, we are also developing biosensors to detect their presence using a simple non-invasive blood test. The development of the biosensors is being carried out by Dr Ashwin Seshio.

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