Elizabeth Tunbridge

Elizabeth Tunbridge

Supernumerary Fellow in Psychiatry; Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Royal Society Research Fellow


I am an examiner for the MSc in Neuroscience course, based in the Department of Experimental Psychology, and the Training Lead for Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford. I supervise graduate DPhil and MSc students to undertake research degrees, and lecture on the MSc in Neuroscience and MSc in Pharmacology courses. I provide projects and tutorials for MSc and FHS students on an ad hoc basis.


My research group investigates the mechanisms linking individual genes with psychiatric disorders using a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach. We focus in particular on the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and the voltage-gated calcium channels. We aim to investigate the function of these molecules at all levels in the brain. We therefore investigate the key isoforms that are present in post-mortem human brain tissue, and how these isoforms affect cellular and neurochemical function, as well as behavioural and neuroimaging measures. We work with medical colleagues to ensure that our basic science findings are translated into clinical benefit. The aim of our research is two-fold: to better understand the neurobiology of psychiatric disorders and to identify new treatment strategies.

Our research is funded by the Royal Society, the MRC and the BBSRC.

Selected Publications

Tunbridge EM, Attenburrow MJ, Gardiner A, Rendell JM, Hinds C, Goodwin GM, Harrison PJ, Geddes JR. (In press). Biochemical and genetic predictors and correlates of response to lamotrigine and folic acid in bipolar depression: Analysis of the CEQUEL clinical trial. Bipolar Disorders. doi: 10.1111/bdi.12531

Barkus C, Korn C, Stumpenhorst K, Laatikainen LM, Ballard D, Lee S, Sharp T, Harrison PJ, Bannerman DM, Weinberger DR, Chen J, Tunbridge EM. (2016). Genotype-Dependent Effects of COMT Inhibition on Cognitive Function in a Highly-Specific, Novel Mouse Model of Altered COMT Activity. Neuropsychopharmacology. 41(13):3060-3069.

Cipriani A, Saunders K, Attenburrow M-J, Stefaniak J, Panchal P, Stockton S, Lane T, Tunbridge EM, Geddes JR, Harrison PJ. (2016). A systematic review of calcium channel antagonists in bipolar disorder and some considerations for their future development. Mol Psychiatry. 21(10):1324-32.

*Cousijn H, *Tunbridge EM, Rolinski M, Wallis G, Colclough GL, Woolrich MW, Nobre AC, Harrison PJ. (2015) Modulation of hippocampal theta and hippocampal-prefrontal cortex function by a schizophrenia risk gene. Human Brain Mapping. 36(6):2387-95

*Joint first authors

Tunbridge EM, Farrell SM, Harrison PJ, Mackay CE. (2013) Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) influences the connectivity of the prefrontal cortex at rest.  Neuroimage.  68:49-54.

Tunbridge EM and Harrison PJ (2011).  Importance of the COMT gene for sex differences in brain function and predisposition to psychiatric disorders.  Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences 8:119-140

Tunbridge EM, Eastwood SL, Harrison PJ. (2011).  Changed Relative to What? Housekeeping Genes and Normalization Strategies in Human Brain Gene Expression Studies. Biological Psychiatry. 69:173-179

Tunbridge EM, Weickert CS, Kleinman JE, Herman MM, Chen J, Kolachana BS, Harrison PJ and Weinberger DR (2007).  Catechol-o-methyltransferase enzyme activity and protein expression in human prefrontal cortex across the postnatal lifespan.  Cerebral Cortex. 17:1206-12.

Tunbridge EM, Bannerman DM, Sharp T and Harrison PJ (2004). Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) inhibition improves set-shifting performance and elevates stimulated dopamine release in the rat prefrontal cortex.  Journal of Neuroscience 24: 5331-5335.

For a full list of articles see: PubMed

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