skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Laboratory Head

Prof Sabine Bahn MD PhD MRCPsych FRSB

Project Leader

Sabine Bahn

My main research interest is to try to understand the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric / neurodevelopmental disorders, with a focus on the major psychotic disorders schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I strongly believe in the strength of empirical, "bottom up" research as a way to attempt to understand the complex and intricate molecular mechanisms that govern neuronal function and thus are the substrate of any given cognitive process.

For more than 25 years, I have pursued my dual interests in medicine and molecular neurobiology in parallel. For my MD (University of Freiburg, Germany and the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge) I examined cytotoxic effects of an antiepileptic drug on hippocampal neurons and studied the developmental expression profiles of high-affinity kainate receptors. The subject of my PhD (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge) was to investigate mechanisms that are involved in directing gene expression to specific neuronal sub-populations using (amongst other techniques) transgenic mouse assays and comparative genome sequencing.

Whilst pursuing my scientific interests, I obtained my medical qualifications and trained as a psychiatrist (Addenbrookes and NHS Trust, Cambridge). I am currently a Professor of Neurotechnology at the Institute of Biotechnology, an honorary consultant in psychiatry at the Peterborough and Cambridgeer NHS trust and a fellow at Lucy Cavendish College at the University of Cambridge. I am also Professor of Translational Neuroscience within the Department of Neuroscience at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, which provides our lab with a world-class clinical and science infrastructure to conduct research. The Erasmus Medical Centre ranks as the top European institution in clinical medicine according to the Times Higher Education rankings.

I am also co-founder of Psynova Neurotech Ltd, which in 2010 together with its major shareholder Rules Based Medicine (RBM; in Austin, Texas), have launched the first commercially available Aid for the Diagnosis of Schizophrenia (VeriPsychTM).

In 2011, Psynova Neurotech and RBM were acquired by Myriad genetics Inc, as NASDAQ-listed diagnostics company based in Salt lake City, Utah, USA.

My research group and I still work closely with Myriad Genetics Inc and the now re-named MyriadRBM Inc. We are actively working on a number of blood-based tests in the field of neurpsychiatric disorders, which hopefully will result in the launch of further psychiatric products.

The initial aim of the lab was to use molecular profiling techniques (microarrays, proteomics, lipidomics and metabolomics/metabonomics) to globally investigate abnormalities in gene/ protein/ metabolite/lipid "expression" in post-mortem human brain tissue, blood and other samples derived from patients and matched controls in order to establish evidence-based hypotheses.

Over the last 5 years we have focused more on translational research with the aim to develop blood-based diagnostic tests for mental disorders, which should also aid in the development of much needed personalised approaches for the treatment of mental disorders and may result in the discovery of novel treatments. Currently we are developing a novel ex-vivo drug discovery platform, which we hope will help to overcome the lack of clinically relevant disease models for psychiatric disorders.

The Bahn lab operates within a collaborative network between institutions in Europe and the US. We are particularly grateful for the generous support from the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI). Importantly, the SMRI has also undertaken to supply post mortem brain tissue from their extensive and excellently characterised brain collection including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and normal control tissue, as well as other patient samples.

 

Bio sketch

Professor Sabine Bahn is a practising psychiatrist, Chair in Neurotechnology and Director of the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research at Cambridge University and Chair in Translational Neuropsychiatry at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, NL. Her main research interests are to understand the molecular basis of neuropsychiatric disorders, with a focus on schizophrenia and mood disorders. Professor Bahn has published numerous articles in high impact journals over the last years. In 2005, she co-founded Psynova Neurotech Ltd., which, together with Rules Based Medicine (RBM) has launched the first blood test aiding in the early diagnosis of Schizophrenia. In 2011 Psynova Neurotech and RBM have been acquired by Myriad Genetics, a NASDAQ listed company.

She has received considerable public recognition of her achievements:

  • 2011 Psynova Neurotech and S. Bahn winner of the ACES best European Life Science spin-out award
  • 2011 Invitation to give plenary lecture at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting in Honolulu Hawaii entitled “The Future of Psychiatry” (this meeting is attended by 18 000 psychiatrists).
  • 2010 placed among top 5% of cited authors in journals in Chemistry according to Thomson Reuters.
  • 2007 Psynova Neurotech Ltd was awarded the Medical Futures Mental Health and Neuroscience Clinical Innovations Award and was runner up for the “Best Business” award.
  • 2005  Founder and non-executive director of spin-out company, Psynova NeurotechLtd., Investment of £2.25 Mio through University of Cambridge Challenge Fund and VC’s.
  • 2005 Career Profile featured in the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES)  
  • 2005 Interview with TIME Magazine as opinion leader in the field of functional genomics in clinical neuroscience.
  • Consultancy and scientific advisor for several pharmaceutical and biotech companies
  • 2004 Award of “Proof of Concept Fund” from Univ. of Cambridge to establish spin-out company
  • 2004 Selected to represent the “Human Face of Science in Europe” by the European Commission (amongst 5 European scientist; representation of “scientific excellence within the EU”)
  • 2003 Invited to present Christmas Lecture for the British Neuroscience Association, London
  • 1994   Gödecke Research Prize, Univ. of Freiburg, for best MD-thesis of the year

 Contact: sb209[at]cam.ac.uk