A group photo of the Mood Disorders Research Group.

The Mood Disorders Research Group focuses on investigations of bipolar disorder (sometimes called manic depression) and other related affective and psychotic illnesses, such as schizoaffective disorder, major depression and postpartum psychosis.  Our broad aims are to investigate genetic and other factors that may contribute to the causes of these illnesses.

If you have bipolar disorder and would like to join our research please contact us. We would be delighted to hear from you.

About bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression or manic-depressive illness, refers to severe episodes of mood disturbance that affect a person’s ability to function normally. This occurs in at least 1% of the population. Bipolar disorder is characterised by disturbances in mood ranging from depression to elation (extremely high mood).

These mood changes may also be accompanied by alterations in thinking and perception, including psychotic features (delusions and hallucinations). Bipolar disorder can cause a great deal of suffering and, although treatments such as medication and psychotherapy are helpful, there are still many people who do not respond adequately or who suffer troublesome adverse side effects.

We know that there can be a variety of factors that lead some people to experience depression or mania, for example, a vulnerability that runs in the family or stressful life events. Our group is conducting research to examine more closely the factors which contribute to mood disorders. These include biological factors, such as a genetic predisposition, as well as psychological factors, such as characteristic ways of thinking, and environmental factors, for example stressful life events.

Our research, aimed at improving our understanding of mood disorders, will facilitate future advances in the prevention and treatment of these debilitating illnesses. 

Our research group

The members of our research group are:

Our current PhD students are:



bdrn-new-logo-largeWe founded the UK Bipolar Disorder Research Network with our colleagues at Cardiff University. With support from two of the world’s leading medical research charities, the Wellcome Trust and the Stanley Medical Research Institute, more than 7000 people have already participated in our research programme, which is now the largest individual such study anywhere in the world. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has taken part in our research – without their help the research simply would not happen. Every person who helps will bring the possibility of much-needed scientific advances nearer.

Bipolar disorder, pregnancy and childbirth

For women with bipolar disorder childbirth can be a high risk time – women are 23 times more likely to be admitted to psychiatric hospital with bipolar disorder in the month following delivery than at any other time in their life.

We know that genetic factors are important, the big hormonal changes that occur after having a baby may be involved and sleep disruption may also play an important role in some women.

For many years our research group has had a particular interest in finding out more about the factors that make some women with bipolar disorder more or less likely to experience episodes of illness in relation to childbirth.

We are currently carrying out research that we hope will lead to better prediction and treatments for episodes of illness following childbirth in women with bipolar disorder.

We would be delighted to hear from you if:

  • you have bipolar disorder and are pregnant


  • you have bipolar disorder and have ever experienced an episode of postpartum psychosis or any other mood episode following childbirth that required hospital or home treatment

Taking part in our research will involve an interview and we may ask if you would be willing to provide a small blood sample. If you are pregnant we will also re-contact you by telephone 3 months after childbirth to ask you about any symptoms you have experienced in relationship to pregnancy and childbirth.

Please contact Dr Amy Perry for further information: moodresearch@worc.ac.uk; 01905 54 2880.

True Colours mood monitoring

We are very pleased be able to offer the exciting and innovative new mood monitoring system True Colours to BDRN membersTrue Colours is an easy-to-use online technology that enables individuals to monitor their mood in an active and ongoing way by sending email prompts asking individuals to answer simple questions about their mood. Answers are converted into a graph that can be printed off, and over time will show changes and/or patterns in mood that may be helpful.

The system has been designed by our colleagues at the University of Oxford and it is hoped the system will help us learn more about how mood symptoms change over time in individuals with bipolar disorder and how they are affected by changes in routines such as sleep.

True Colours is available to all BDRN participants and individuals with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder living in the UK.

Please contact Dr Katherine Gordon-Smith for further information: moodresearch@worc.ac.uk; 01905 54 2880.

Contact us

If you would like further information about our research please get in touch.

Email: moodresearch@worc.ac.uk
Call: (+44) 01905 54 2880 (24 hr answer phone - if we do not answer please leave a message and we will reply very soon).

Mood Disorders Research Group
University of Worcester
Henwick Grove