John McGrath

Staff portrait: John McGrath

John McGrath is professor at the National Centre for Register-based Research (NCRR) and is mainly doing research within the areas of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

What is your background? 
I am a medical doctor and a psychiatrist. Most of my research has involved psychiatric epidemiology.

What are your main areas of research? 
My research aims to generate and evaluate nongenetic risk factors for schizophrenia. In particular, I have developed productive cross-disciplinary collaborations linking risk factor epidemiology with developmental neurobiology. For example, in collaboration with Professor Preben Bo Mortensen and colleagues at the National Centre for Register-based Research, we have discovered links between prenatal vitamin D and later risk of mental illness in the offspring.

Back home in Australia I have been busy setting up clinical trials for new treatments for schizophrenia.

What research projects are you planning to initiate? 
I have been awarded a Niels Bohr Professorship from the Danish National Research Foundation. Over the next 5 years I will be spending about half of my time based at Aarhus University. We will be exploring the vitamin D hypothesis with new samples, and developing ways to explore the burden of mental disorders in Denmark. To do this, we will be linking up with the Harvard-based World Mental Health Survey, and with senior investigators on the Global Burden of Disease project.

What will you be involved in teaching-wise at the department? 
I will be supervising PhD students, and giving seminars around the University.

What was your first impression of the department and your new colleagues? 
I have been coming to Aarhus for many years now - so many of the staff are old friends. I really respect the quality of the research coming from the National Centre for Register-based Research, within Aarhus BSS. It is a real honour to work with such great scientists.

What do you do when you are not at work? 
I am a maturity-onset gardener! But I only manage to do this when I am back in my home town of Brisbane. I am a frustrated musician and a very slow jogger. Over the next 5 years at Aarhus I look forward to learning more about Danish culture.

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