Men In STEM Supported by MQ Mental Health Research

Globally, women make up 33.3% of researchers. Which is why here at MQ we are so proud to be able to say we fund male and female researchers equally. In the run up to International Men’s Day (19 November) we celebrate the international men who make up 50% of our researchers, and their ground-breaking work.


5 Men Transforming Treatments


Dr Joshua Roffman (USA) began looking into increasing the consumption of folic acid during pregnancy, changes occur in children’s brain development, thus reducing the incidence of psychotic symptoms in later life.

Dr Ian Maze (USA) took a novel, multidisciplinary approach in 2015 to understanding how serotonin impacts major depressive disorder which could lead to improved pharmacological treatments for depression.

Dr Zach Cohen (USA) ran the Stratified Medicine Approaches for Treatment Selection Tournament (SMART), to improve treatment selection for anxiety disorders.

“Prior to the research we’ve done, work [in our field] was sparse and primitive. MQ was instrumental and essential to launch what is now a major thread of research in mental health. We would not have believed how far the field, and our own work, would have come in such a short time.” Dr Zach Cohen


MQ fellow Dr Patrick Rothwell (USA) identified the brain cells related to impulse control which could lead to the development of treatments to curb negative behaviours.

In 2014, MQ supported Dr Jeremiah Cohen (USA) who used innovative techniques to explore the role that brain chemical serotonin plays in affecting mood which will lead to better drugs to treat mood disorders in the future.


3 Men Protecting by Preventing


MQ Fellow Professor Jean-Baptiste Pingault (USA) found strong evidence around the direct impact of bullying on the development of mental health problems in young people.

Professor Hugo Critchley (UK) tested a new therapy to prevent anxiety in autistic individuals as part of the 2016 PsyIMPACT funding programme.

Professor Ernst Koster (Belgium) developed a novel way of training attention to protect against depressive episodes as part of the same funding programme as Professor Hugo Critchley.


7 Men Deepening Understanding


Professor Sergiu Pasca (USA) developed a method to create 3D brain circuits ‘in a dish’, providing a pioneering new way to understand how different parts of the brain develop.

Dr Johannes Graff (Switzerland) identified the brain cells which store and reduce traumatic memories, offering hope for testing new interventions.

Professor James Walters (UK) studied the role genetics play in cognitive impairment in those with schizophrenia and psychosis.

“MQ seed funded research which has led to the creation of an area of study linking genetic and clinical data, and we are now positioned to contribute in a major way and create a valuable resource.” Dr James Walters


Dr Martijn Van Den Heuvel (Netherlands) mapped the activity between different areas of the brain in various mental health conditions.

Dr Simon Kariuki (Kenya) examined genetic samples from African populations to identify a shared genetic risk between epilepsy and mental health disorders.

Professor Golam Khandaker (UK) identified inflammation as the link between depression and cardiovascular disease.

Dr Mark Taylor (Sweden) an MQ Fellow, found that autistic people are at high risk for mental health problems when they are a young adult and is now investigating the specific reasons why this is.


3 Men Innovating Interventions


MQ Fellow Dr Sam Norton (UK) developed a new app that can be used by healthcare professionals to track physical and mental health symptoms in people with arthritis, so that they can identify who is at risk of ongoing problems.

As part of PsyIMPACT funding programme, Professor Rory O’Connor (UK) successfully trialled a telephone intervention to prevent repeated suicide attempts.

Professor Andrew Thompson (UK) involved young people in the design of his study which developed a successful VR intervention for psychosis and schizophrenia as part of the same programme as Professor Rory O’Connor.


5 Men Galvanising the Gone Too Soon Programme


In 2023 as part of our fellows programme, we have a number of men joining us as researchers, alongside others, as part of our Gone Too Soon Programme. These research fellows are now conducting research into how serious mental illnesses and physical illness combine to cause premature death. People with SMIs die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than other people, a statistic MQ believes is preventable with pioneering research from individuals like…

Professor Gareth Griffith (UK) is working to improve the detection of selection bias in order to improve representativeness in mental health research.

Dr Massimiliano Ori (Canada) is working to understanding how youth comorbid mental and physical disorders may affect risks of suicide.

Dr Moritz Herle (UK) is using data science and insights from people with lived experience to understand why people with eating disorders are at increased risk of suicide.

Dr Suhas Ganesh (India) is working to better understand how an individual’s environment, and their genetic make-up, affects treatments for schizophrenia.

Dr Alexandre Lussier (USA/Canada) is running a longitudinal study of geneenvironment interactions and epigenetic mechanisms to understand how depressive disorders influence suicide risk.

Read more about one of our ambassadors, James Downs, and his experience of being involved in the Gone Too Soon project as an expert by lived experience.

By supporting MQ you’re helping fund advancements like those outlined above ensuring researchers of all gender identities can continue to push progress forward towards a mentally healthier future.


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