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Green, Melissa

Green, Melissa


Melissa Green, born in Sydney, Australia, in 1974. Ph.D. from the University of Sydney. Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.

Golestan Fellow (1 February 2015 – 30 June 2015)

Trauma and Epigenetic Processes in the Development of Psychosis

Research Question

Genetic markers of the experience of early childhood trauma – representing changes to the way genes are expressed – may be a critical factor in ‘programming’ cognitive and brain development, and the capacity for stress regulation in adulthood. My research examines the presence of trauma-specific genetic effects on the brain, and markers of stress regulation, in schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder.

Project Description

Childhood trauma represents a significant risk factor for psychotic (e.g., schizophrenia) and related psychotic-mood disorders (e.g., schizoaffective disorder; bipolar disorder). However, the path between exposure to childhood trauma and clinical manifestations of illness can be influenced by individual variation in genetic structure, and traumatic experiences may also influence the regulation of genes; in fact, the effects of early trauma are likely mediated by long-term dysfunction in stress responses, resulting from environmentally induced changes in the way that certain genes are expressed. My research seeks to identify changes in gene expression associated with childhood maltreatment in psychotic-mood disorders, and the potentially shared effects on brain structure and function, and immune and stress systems, among individuals diagnosed with psychotic or mood disorders.

Selected Publications

1) Green, M.J., GIrshkin, L., Teroganova, N, Quide, Y. (2014). Stress, Schizophrenia, and Bipolar Disorder. In M.D. Bluhm and C. Pariente (Eds.), Behavioral Neurobiology of Stress-related Disorders, Springer Germany, in press.

2) Green, M.J., Chia, T-Y., Cairns, M.J., Wu, J.Q., Tooney, P., Scott, R.J., Carr, V.J. (2014). Catechol-O-Methyl Transferase (COMT) genotype modulates the effects of childhood adversity on cognition and symptoms in schizophrenia. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 49, 43-50

3) McCarthy-Jones, S., Green, M.J., Scott, R.J., Tooney, P., Cairns, M.J., Wu, J.Q., Carr, V.J. (2014). Preliminary evidence of an interaction between the FOXP2 gene and childhood emotional abuse predicting likelihood of auditory verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia, Journal of Psychiatric Research, 50, 66–72

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