Cathy Fernandes

Cathy Fernandes

Dr

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Personal profile

Research interests

I head the ‘Preclinical Models of Neurodevelopmental Disorders’ group at the SGDP Centre (IoP, KCL), investigating the contribution of environment and molecular mechanisms to a range of neurodevelopmental (schizophrenia, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder and autism) and psychiatric disorders (anxiety, depression). In addition to studying the role of genetics in behaviour, I also have a particular interest in the interaction of genes with environment using environmental models such as prenatal stress (maternal obesity), early life stress (maternal separation), chronic stress (unpredictable chronic mild stress) and drug exposure (cannabis) in my research. 

 

I use genetically manipulated rodents (mice and rats) reared in different environments and then assess social and emotional behaviours and cognitive function. Psychiatric disorders are complex conditions that require the use of conscious, living animals in order to study them but the health and welfare of animals in research is a major priority for us. For more information on animal use and welfare at King’s College London: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/health/research/facilities/bsu/welfare.aspx

 

I have over 20 years experience working with animal models of behaviour, environment, pharmacology and genetics. I have been responsible for developing new methods at the Institute, including using microarrays for gene expression, and establishing a mouse behavioural testing unit to assess a wide range of behaviours related to psychiatric disorders. I have more than 17 years teaching experience, ranging from undergraduate to specialist courses. In support of my teaching practice, I have a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP; King’s College London 2011) and I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am the Programme Leader for MSc Genes, Environment & Development which launched in September 2013 and I am the Psychology & Systems Sciences Education Lead, overseeing education within our division. 

 

Citation metrics available at Researcher ID (F-3422-2011)  

Research interests (short)

My group investigate the contribution of genetic and environmental mechanisms to a range of neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders (schizophrenia, attention deficient hyperactivity disorder and autism) and psychiatric disorders (anxiety, depression). In addition to studying the role of genes in behaviour, I also have a particular interest in the interaction of genes with early life stressful environments and drug exposure.

 

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Postgraduate Certificate , Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, King's College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 2011

Doctor of Philosophy, Factors influencing the development of diazepam dependence in the rat, University of London

Award Date: 31 Aug 1996

Bachelor of Science, Pharmacology with Toxicology, King's College London

Award Date: 1 Jan 1992

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