Inaugural Loebel Lectures, Michaelmas Term 2014

The well-attended inaugural Loebel Lectures were delivered by Professor Kenneth S. Kendler, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University, on 15 and 16 October 2014 at the Oxford Martin School.

Professor Kendler was trained in medicine and psychiatry at Stanford and Yale Universities, respectively. Since 1983, he has been engaged in studies of the genetics of psychiatric and substance use disorders, including schizophrenia, major depression, alcoholism, personality disorders and drug abuse and dependence. He has utilized methods ranging from family studies to large-sample population-based twin and adoption studies to molecular genetic studies including linkage, association, GWAS and sequencing aimed at identifying specific genes that influence the vulnerability to a range of psychiatric conditions. Data collection for these studies has been completed in Virginia, Ireland, England, China, Norway, Finland and Sweden. He has published over 800 articles, has received a number of national and international awards for his work, is a member of the Institute of Medicine, and is Editor of Psychological Medicine. He has been actively involved in DSM-III-R, DSM-IV and DSM-5 where he chaired the Scientific Review Committee. Since 1996, he has served as Director of the Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. 

In the last decade or so, Professor Kendler’s research interests have broadened to encompass philosophical issues in psychiatry. Of particular relevance to OLLRP, he has published numerous articles on the relationship between biological, psychological, and social contributors to mental illness. He has also co-edited a series of books entitled Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry. His work in this area was recognised in his 2012 appointment to the Edwin R. Wallace IV Lectureship in the Philosophy of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis.


Audio [MP3] | Watch video on YouTube 
Oxford Martin School Lecture Theatre, Old Indian Institute, Broad Street, Oxford
15 October 2014, 6.00pm-8.00pm     

Blog post by Professor Roger Crisp.

I show how recent studies in the genetic epidemiology and molecular genetics of psychiatric and substance use disorders illustrate the complex causal pathways to mental illness. These include gene-environment interaction in the etiology of major depression (MD) and substance use and abuse, gene-social interactions in drug use, environment-environment interaction in the etiology of MD, and gene-environment covariation in the etiology of MD. I will illustrate the role of genetic factors on the comorbidity of psychiatric disorders using both twin and molecular methods, and describe complex developmental models for MD  and alcohol use disorder. I will conclude with a classical example of top-down causation: the impact of human decision-making on the gene-to-phenotype pathway for psychiatric illness. 


Audio [MP3]  | Watch video on YouTube 
Oxford Martin School Lecture Theatre, Old Indian Institute, Broad Street, Oxford
16 October 2014, 6.00pm-8.00pm

Blog post by Dr Rebecca Roache. 

Since it is unlikely that we can identify a single causal level at which we can define our disorders etiologically, I explore the dappled causal world for psychiatric disorders, through an examination of psychiatric and other literature. I will suggest three primary and progressive goals for psychiatric research: to populate our causal space, to develop multilevel causal mechanisms, and to integrate the resulting neurobiological models with psychological explanations. I will consider how we might best conceptualise psychiatric disorders, and propose a new framework for how their classification might best move forward in time. 

Loebel Lecturers

Professor Essi Viding (2016)
Details of the lectures, audio files etc available here.

Professor Steven E. Hyman (2015)
Details of the lectures, audio files etc available here.

Professor Kenneth S. Kendler (2014)
Details of the lectures, audio files etc available here