Katherine Aitchison


Academic Degree(s)

BA(Hons), BM BCh, PhD, FRCPsych





Current Position

Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Medical Genetics


Professional Experience

  • 1993-1996, M.R.C.Psych (Residency, Membership of the Royal, College of Psychiatrists, UK), The Maudsley Hospital, London
  • 2001-2011 Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (including Lead Consultant to the COAST Team, then work for the National Affective Disorders and National Psychosis Unit).
  • 2011 Edmonton Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic (Consulting Psychiatrist from September 2011 to present, Clinical Director from February 2012 to November 2016, Lead Psychiatrist November 2016 to present).


Education & Training

  • University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, BA (First Class Hons.) Physiological Sciences, 1987
  • University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, BM BCh (MD equiv.) Medicine and Surgery, 1990
  • King’s College London, London, UK, PhD Pharmacogenetics, 2003



  • 1987 University Prize in Physiological Sciences (First Class BA (Hons), Joint Second in the Year)
  • 1996 Wellcome Trust Mental Health Research Training Fellowship
  • 1997 Young Investigator Award, International Congress in Schizophrenia Research, Colorado
  • 2012 Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), Royal College of Psychiatrists, London, UK
  • Oct 2015 Invited by the Indocanadian Psychiatric Association to give a presentation at their Annual Meeting as a Distinguished Speaker


Research Grants

  • Transitional Funding for the Alberta Centennial Addiction and Mental, Health Research Chair Program. Government of Alberta (Alberta Centennial Addiction and Mental Health Research Chairs Program). Aitchison KJ. $100,000 over 1 year (January 2017-December 2017, PI).
  • Collaborative Research & Innovation Opportunitites (CRIO) Population Resiliency Grant. Prediction and Understanding of Resilience in Albertan Families: Longitudinal Study of Disaster Responses (PURLS). Principal Investigators: Kingston D, Tough S, McDonald S, Greenshaw A. Collaborative members: Aitchison KJ; Austin M-P, Benzies K, Brown S, Chuck A, Cui X, de Koning J A.P, Dursun S, Gartland D, Giallo R, Giesbrecht G, Graham S, Greiner R, King S, Kovalchuk I, Lebel C, Marsh R, MacMaster F, McDermott B, Metz G, Postovit L-M, Pryce C, Slater D, Sproule J, Wynne-Edwards K. $1,915,714 over 3 years (April 1, 2015 – March 29, 2018).
  • Fulbright Canada – Palix Foundation Distinguished Visiting Research, Chair in Brain Science, and Child and Family Health and Wellness; project title: “Gene Polymorphism and Sexual Addiction Phenotype: An Exploratory Analysis.” Genotyping to be conducted in the Aitchison laboratory (local Principal Investigator), funded by the American Foundation for Addiction Research. Carnes P, Isenberg R, Green B, Aitchison KJ. $415,356 over 2 years (September 2017 – December 2018).
  • Alberta Centennial Addiction and Mental Health Research Chair in Mental Illness and Addictions. Government of Alberta (Alberta Centennial Addiction and Mental Health Research Chairs Program). Aitchison KJ. $1,250,000 over 5 years (Sept 2011 -Dec 2016). Principal Investigator.
  • NPAS3 variants in schizophrenia: A neuroimaging study. Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (NSHRF) 2012-13 Establishment Grant to Tibbo P. Co-Investigators: Rusak B, McAllidon D, Bernier D, MacIntyre G, Bartha R, Purdon SE, Beyea S, Song X, Aitchison KJ. $150,000 over 3 years (Sept 2012-Sept 2015). Co-investigator.


Committee & Membership

  • Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) Women's Leadership, Group Steering Committee (May 2015 to current)
  • Psychopharmacology Committee, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK
  • Alberta Psychiatric Association Scientific Program Committee Co-Chair, North (March 2014 to present)


Selected Publication

  • Iniesta Benedicto R, Malki K, Maier W, Rietschel M, Mors O, Hauser J, Henigsberg N, ZDernovsek M, Souery D, Stahl D, Dobson R, Aitchison KJ, Farmer A, Lewis CM, McGuffin P, Uher R. Combining clinical variables to optimize prediction of antidepressant treatment outcomes. Journal of Psychiatric Research (2016, July), 78:94-102;DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2016.03.016. Epub ahead of print 2016 Apr 1.
  • Lodhi RJ, Masand S, Malik A, Kuppuswami S, McAllister VDM, O’Keane V, Young LC, Heald AH, Sherwood RA, Aitchison KJ (2016). Changes in biomarkers of bone turnover in an aripiprazole add-on or switching study. Schizophrenia Research, 170 (Issues 2-3): 245-251. Epub ahead of print: Jan 12. pii: S0920-9964(15)30080-3. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2015.12.007. PMID: 26792297. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0920996415300803
  • Vassos E, Di Forti M, Coleman J, Iyegbe C, Prata D, Euesden J, O’Reilly P, Curtis C, Kolliakou A, Patel H, Newhouse S, Traylor M, Ajnakina O, Mondelli V, Reis Marques T, Gardner-Sood P, Aitchison KJ, Powell J, Atakan Z, Greenwood KE, Smith S, Ismail K, Pariante C, Gaughran F, Dazzan P, Markus HS, David AS, Lewis CM, Murray RM, Breen G. An examination of polygenic score risk prediction in individuals with first episode psychosis. Biological Psychiatry, on line August 6, 2016; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych. 2016.06.028. 
  • Trotta A, Iyegbe C, Di Forti M, Sham PC, Campbell DD, Cherny SS, Mondelli V, Aitchison KJ, Murray RM, Vassos E, Fisher HL. (2016). Interplay between Schizophrenia Polygenic Risk Score and Childhood Adversity in First-Presentation Psychotic Disorder: A Pilot Study. PLOS One 11(9): e0163319. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0163319.
  • Ren H, Guan L, Zhao L, Lin Y , Wang Y, Yang Z , Li X, Ma X, Cheng X, Deng W, Aitchison KJ, Cao L, Li T. Contribution of genes in the GABAergic pathway to bipolar disorder and its executive function deficit in the Chinese Han population. Am J Med Genet Part B (Neuropsychiatric Genet), in press.
  • Garcia-Gonzalez J, Tansey KE, Hauser J, Henigsberg N, Maier W, Mors O, Placentino A, Rietschel M, Souery D, Zagar T, Czerski PM, Jerman B, Buttenschon HN, Schulze TG, Zobel A, Farmer A, Aitchison KJ, Craig I, McGuffin P, Giupponi M, Perroud N, Bondolfi G, Evans D, O’Donovan M, Peters TJ, Wendland JR, Lewis G, Kapur S, Perlis R, Arolt V, Domschke K, Major Depressive Disorder Working Group of Psychiatric Genomic Consortium, Breen G, Curtis C, Sang-Hyuk L, Kan C, Newhouse S, Patel H, Baune BT, Uher R, Lewis CM, Fabbri C (2017). Pharmacogenetics of antidepressant response: A polygenic approach. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, (April 2017), 75: 128-134. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.01.011
  • Lopez JP, Fiori LM, Cruceanu C, Lin R, Labonte B, Cates H, Heller E, Vialou V, Ku S, Gerald C, Han MH, Foster J, Frey B, Soares C, Muller D, Farzan F, Leri F, MacQueen G, Feilotter H, Tyryshkin K, Evans K, Giacobbe P, Blier P, Lam R, Milev R, Parikh S, Rotzinger S, Strother S, Lewis CJ, Aitchison KJ, Wittenberg G, Mechawar N, Nestler E, Uher R, Kennedy SH, Turecki G (2017). MicroRNAs 146a/b-5p, 425-3p and 24-3p are markers of antidepressant response and regulate MAPK/Wnt-system genes. Nature Communications, in press.
  • Köhler-Forsberg O, Buttenschøn HN, Tansey KE, Maier W, Hauser J, Dernovsek MZ, Henigsberg N, Souery D, Farmer A, Rietschel M, McGuffin P, Aitchison KJ, Uher R, Mors O (2017). Association between C-reactive protein (CRP) with depression symptom severity and specific depressive symptoms in major depression. Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Feb 28. pii: S0889-1591(17)30062-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.02.020. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Fabbri C, Tansey KE, Perlis RH, Haouser J, Henigsberg N, Maier W, Mors O, Placentino A, Reitschel M, Souery D, Breen G, Curtis C, Sang-Hyuk L, Newhouse S, Patel H, Guipponi M, Perroud N, Bondolfi G, O’Donovan M, Lewis G, Biernacka JM, Weinshilboum RM, Farmer A, Aitchison KJ, Craig I, McGuffin P, Uher R, Lewis CM (2017). New insights on the pharmacogenomics of antidepressant response from the GENDEP and STAR*D studies: rare variant analysis and high-density imputation. Pharmacogenomics J., in press.
  • Rivera M, Locke A, Corre T, Czamara D, Wolf C, Ching-Lopez A, Milaneschi Y, Kloiber S, Cohen-Woods S, Rucker J, Aitchison KJ, Bermann S, Boomsma D, Craddock N, Gill M, Holsboer F, Hottenga J-J, Korszun A, Kutalik Z, Lucae S, Maier W, Mors O, Muller- Myhsok B, Owen M, Penninx B, Preisig M, Rice J, Rietschel M, Tozzi F, Uher R, Vollenweider P, Waeber G, Willemsen G, Craig I, Farmer A, Lewis C, Breen G, McGuffin Petal. (2017). The effect of the FTO gene on body-mass index is increased by the presence of depressive disorder: A meta-analysis of 13,701 individuals. British Journal of Psychiatry, in press.