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Dr Ursula D’Souza



Ursula is a UK-based bioscience professional. She is a passionate molecular biologist/neuropharmacologist with research expertise in psychiatric and behavioural disorders.

From 2000 to 2011, she worked within the Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre at Kings College London. As well as lecturing, she did extensive research in pharmacogenomics, investigating the molecular effects of antipsychotics, antidepressants, mood stabilisers and drugs of abuse. Subsequently, she moved to the commercial sector and worked for several years as a Senior Editor at BMC Medicine, the flagship medical journal of BioMed Central. Currently, she works as a Scientific Research Director, to identity and understand key opinion leaders in different therapy areas for the pharmaceutical industry.

Her interest in science and creation developed around 2004 onwards where interesting evidence on the topic was discussed at various meetings she attended. 

Ursula is passionate communicator and will be speaking at CMI-UK/Europe’s 2nd European Creation Conference on the topic of Brains, Genes and Behaviour—the marvellous design of the human brain.


  • BSc (Hon) in Biochemistry, University of Kent
  • PhD in Brain Biochemistry, University of Kent

Selected technical publications:

  • Powell TR, Powell-Smith G, Haddley K, Mcguffin P, Quinn J, Schalkwyk LC, Farmer AE, D’Souza U.M., Mood-stabilizers differentially affect housekeeping gene expression in human cells, Int J Methods Psychiatr Res. 23(2):279–88, Jun 2014.
  • Powell TR, McGuffin P, D’Souza U.M., Cohen-Woods S, Hosang GM, Martin C, Matthews K, Day RK, Farmer AE, Tansey KE, Schalkwyk LC., Putative transcriptomic biomarkers in the inflammatory cytokine pathway differentiate major depressive disorder patients from control subjects and bipolar disorder patients, PLoS One 9(3):e91076; 11 Mar 2014.
  • D’Souza U.M., Powell-Smith G, Haddley K, Powell TR, Bubb VJ, Price T, McGuffin P, Quinn JP, Farmer AE., Allele-specific expression of the serotonin transporter and its transcription factors following lamotrigine treatment in vitro, Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 162B(5):474–83, Jul 2013.
  • Powell TR, Tansey KE, Breen G, Farmer AE, Craig IW, Uher R, McGuffin P, D’Souza U.M., Schalkwyk LC., ATP-binding cassette sub-family F member 1 (ABCF1) is identified as a putative therapeutic target of escitalopram in the inflammatory cytokine pathway, J Psychopharmacol 27(7):609–15, Jul 2013.
  • Powell TR, Schalkwyk LC, Heffernan AL, Breen G, Lawrence T, Price T, Farmer AE, Aitchison KJ, Craig IW, Danese A, Lewis C, McGuffin P, Uher R, Tansey KE, D’Souza U.M., Tumor necrosis factor and its targets in the inflammatory cytokine pathway are identified as putative transcriptomic biomarkers for escitalopram response, Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 23(9):1105–14, Sep 2013.
  • Allele-specific transcriptional activity of the variable number of tandem repeats in 5′ region of the DRD4 gene is stimulus specific in human neuronal cells Paredes, U.M., Quinn, J.P., D’Souza U.M., 2013 Genes, Brain and Behavior, 12:282–287.
  • Docherty SJ, Davis OS, Haworth CM, Plomin R, D’Souza U.M., Mill J., A genetic association study of DNA methylation levels in the DRD4 gene region finds associations with nearby SNPs, Behav Brain Funct. 8:31, 12 Jun 2012 | doi: 10.1186/1744-9081-8-31.
  • Ivorra, J.L., D’Souza, U.M., Jover, M., Arranz, M.J., Williams, B.P., Henry, S.E., Sanjuan, J. and Molto, M.D. (2011) Association between neonatal temperament SLC6A4, DRD4 and a putative functional polymorphism located in TFAP2b. Genes Brain Behav. 10(5):570–8, Jul 2011.
  • Sugden K., Pariante, C., McGuffin, P., Aitchison, K., D’Souza U.M., (2010) Housekeeping gene expression is affected by antidepressant treatment in a mouse fibroblast cell line. Journal of Psychopharmacology 24:1253–1259, Epub 12 Dec 2008.
  • Sugden K, Tichopad A, Khan N, Craig IW, D’Souza U.M., Genes within the serotonergic system are differentially expressed in human brain, BMC Neurosci. 10:50, 15 May 2009.
  • D’Souza U.M., Craig IW., Functional genetic polymorphisms in serotonin and dopamine gene systems and their significance in behavioural disorders, Prog Brain Res. 172:73–98, 2008.
  • Brookes KJ, Neale BM, Sugden K, Khan N, Asherson P, D’Souza U.M., Relationship between VNTR polymorphisms of the human dopamine transporter gene and expression in post-mortem midbrain tissue, Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet. 144B(8):1070–8, 5 Dec 2007.
  • D’Souza, U.M. & Craig, I.W., Functional polymorphisms in dopamine and serotonin pathway genes, Hum Mutat. 27(1):1–13, Jan 2006.
  • Mill J, Asherson P, Craig I, D’Souza U.M., Transient expression analysis of allelic variants of a VNTR in the dopamine transporter gene (DAT1), BMC Genet. 6:3, 31 Jan 2005.
  • D’Souza U.M., Russ C, Tahir E, Mill J, McGuffin P, Asherson PJ, Craig IW., Functional effects of a tandem duplication polymorphism in the 5'flanking region of the DRD4 gene, Biol Psychiatry. 56(9):691–7, 1 Nov 2004.
  • Parsons MJ, D’Souza U.M., Arranz MJ, Kerwin RW, Makoff AJ., The -1438A/G polymorphism in the 5-hydroxytryptamine type 2A receptor gene affects promoter activity, Biol Psychiatry. 56(6):406–10, 15 Sep 2004.
  • Smits, B.M., D’Souza, U.M., Berezikov E, Cuppen E & Sluyter F. (2004). Identifying polymorphisms in the Rattus norvegicus D dopamine receptor gene and regulatory region. Genes Brain Behav. 3:138–48.
  • Fernandes C, Paya-Cano JL, Sluyter F, D’Souza U.M., Plomin R, Schalkwyk LC., Hippocampal gene expression profiling across eight mouse inbred strains: towards understanding the molecular basis for behaviour, Eur J Neurosci. 19(9):2576–82, May 2004.
  • D’Souza U.M., Kel A, Sluyter F., From transcriptional regulation to aggressive behaviour, Behav Genet. 33(5):549–62, Sep 2003.
  • Mill J, Asherson P, Browes C, D’Souza U.M., Craig I., Expression of the dopamine transporter gene is regulated by the 3' UTR VNTR: Evidence from brain and lymphocytes using quantitative RT-PCR, Am J Med Genet. 114(8):975–9, 8 Dec 2002.
  • D’Souza U.M., Lammers CH, Hwang CK, Yajima S, Mouradian MM., Developmental expression of the zinc finger transcription factor DRRF (dopamine receptor regulating factor), Mech Dev. 110(1-2):197–201, Jan 2002.
  • D’Souza, U.M., Wang, W., Gao, D-Q., Kanda, S., Lee, G., Junn, E., Hwang, C.K., Jose, P.A. & Mouradian, M.M. (2001). Characterization of the 5’flanking region of the rat D3 dopamine receptor gene. Journal of Neurochemistry 76:1736–1744.
  • Hwang, C.K., D’Souza, U.M., Eisch, A.J., Yajima, S., Lammers, C-H., Yang, Y., Lee, S-H., Kim, Y-M., Nestler, E.J. & Mouradian, M.M. (2001). Dopamine receptor regulating factor, DRRF: A zinc finger transcription factor. PNAS 98: 7558–7563.
  • Yang, Y., Hwang, C.K., D’Souza, U.M., Lee, S-H., Junn, E. & Mouradian, M.M. (2000). Three-amino acid extension loop homeodomain proteins Meis2 and TGIF differentially regulate transcription. Journal of Biological Chemistry 275: 20734–20741