Publications: You can find my publications via Google Scholar
Background: I received a BSc in Psychology from the University of Leeds in 2003, and an MRC-funded MSc (2004) and PhD (2008) in Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, King’s College London. In 2012 I moved to the University of Adelaide, and in 2016 to Flinders University as a Matthew Flinders Fellow. Here I head the Behavioural Genetic and Environmental Mechanisms (Behavioural GEMs) Lab. For current projects please see Research and Supervision in the tabs above.
My research focuses on incorporating environmental factors, such as life-stress, with genetic variation in depression, psychosis (bipolar disorder and schizophrenia), and cognition. This work extends to understanding if factors such as stress also contribute to physiological factors such as obesity, or infertility.
The aim of my work is to understand how it is the environment interacts with our genetics, and with ourselves, at the biological level, and how risk can be passed from one generation to the next. Epigenetics provides a possible avenue by which the environment can influence how our genes are expressed, and my recent research investigates this variation in behaviour and psychological disorders, in conjunction with gene-environment interactions. This includes investigating DNA methylation and small RNAs associated with disease risk/protective factors as well as the disease, and their functional impact on gene-expression, protein levels, and/or neuroimaging.
PhD Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry
MSc Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry
BSc (Hons) Psychology
Recent Cat 1 Funding:
2019 - 2021 Australian Research Council Discovery Project (DP19) ($443,000): "Investigating differences in decision-making ability in older adults" Irina Baetu, Lyndsey Collins-Praino, Sarah Cohen-Woods, Ahmed Moustafa, Nicholas Burns
2015 - 2017 National Health and Medical Research project grant ($601,328): “Epigenetic mechanisms of brain dysfunction in psychotic and mood disorders” Melissa Green, Murray Cairns, Sarah Cohen-Woods
2014 - 2016 National Health and Medical Research project grant ($713,447): “Defining the role of inflammation in depression during aging” Bernhard Baune, Sarah Cohen-Woods, Julian Trollor, Simone Reppermund
2015 - Society for Mental Health Research, Best Poster
2009 - International Society of Psychiatric Genetics - Early Career Investigator Award
2009 - NIHR Retreat Presentation, second prize
2008 - Awarded Associate Member of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Lab Head: Behavioural Genetic and Environmental Mechanisms (Behavioural GEMs) Lab
Director of Studies Bachelor of Psychological Science (HELP/Flinders)
Director of Studies Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours) (HELP/Flinders)
Clinical Psyc PhD - JUN 2016
Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis - JUN 2016
Australian and New Zealand Three-Minute Thesis Competition National Finalist - OCT 2013
Australia-New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge - South Australia state Co-coordinator
Dinner with a Scientist 2018
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