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Dr Rebecca G. Smith

Research Fellow


 RILD Building 


University of Exeter Medical School, RILD Building, RD&E Hospital Wonford, Barrack Road, Exeter, EX2 5DW, UK


  • Post-Graduate Certificate of Academic Practices (PGCAP) (2014, Kings College London)        
  • PhD in Psychiatric Genetics (2012, Kings College London)
  • BSc Honours in Genetics  (2005, University of Leeds)


I earned a BSc (Hons) in Genetics from the University of Leeds which was completed in 2005. In 2007, I began working at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SGDP), King’s College London as a research assistant working under Prof Ian Craig, Dr Katherine Aitchison and Prof Peter McGuffin on the GENDEP project in which I performed genotyping of genetic polymorphisms such as SNPs and VNTRs in a large unipolar depression cohort. In 2009, I started my PhD at the SGDP in psychiatric genetics with Prof Jonathan Mill and Prof Ian Craig working on my thesis investigating behavioural and molecular changes associated with advanced paternal age in a mouse model, and also contributing to work on allele-specific methylation and the role of epigenetics in psychiatric disease.


I completed my first post-doctoral research position at the SGDP with Dr Katie Lunnon and Prof Jonathan Mill investigating epigenetic changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a post-mortem brain sample, as well as continuing my research in paternal age and psychiatric disease with Dr Cathy Fernandes and Dr Abraham Reichenberg. My second post-doctoral position was working on a genome-wide epigenetic project investigating DNA methylation changes and differences at birth and in childhood, for children with different trajectories of conduct problems. This work used blood samples from a subsample of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and was carried out under the supervision of Dr Edward Barker and Prof Mill. My current position is working with Dr Lunnon investigating DNA methylation, expression and genetic variation in Alzheimer’s brain and blood samples.



Research interests

Rebecca's main research interests are epigenetics and Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. She also has an interest in environmental exposure on the epigenome and how the epigenome may be an intermediary to disease causation.

Postgraduate researchers

  • Nicolas Rayroux Investigating whether copy number variations (CNVs) are associated with epigenetic dysfunction in Alzheimer’s disease
  • Leighton Tam

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