Professor & Director of the Bahn Laboratory

Professor Sabine BahnDegrees and Honours

MD; PhD; MRCPsych;

Membership of Professional Bodies / Associations

Royal College of Psychiatrists
British Medical Association
American Neuroscience Association
British Neuroscience Association
British Association of Psychopharmacology
World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry

Research Interests

The key goal of Professor Bahn's research is to conduct and coordinate fundamental research into major neuropsychiatric diseases, identify surrogate biomarkers, develop diagnostic tests and therapeutic agents and promote their clinical development. She uses molecular profiling techniques (microarrays, proteomics, lipidomics and metabolomics/metabonomics) to investigate abnormalities in gene/ protein/ metabolite/ lipid "expression" in post-mortem human brain tissue, blood, cerebrospinal fluid and other samples derived from patients and matched controls. Schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder are a major burden to affected individuals and their families and to society at large. These two severe mental illnesses affect at least 2% of the population worldwide, and whilst 50% of sufferers do not receive adequate treatment, they cost hundreds of billions in healthcare provision, treatments and lost earnings. Mental illness accounts for over 15% of the burden of disease in established market economies. This burden is more than the disease burden caused by all cancers, respiratory conditions, alcohol and drug use, infections and parasitic diseases. The current diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is subjective, not only because of the complex spectrum of symptoms and their similarity to other mental disorders, but also due to the lack of empirical disease markers. In addition, contemporary drug treatments can often have severe side effects that make it difficult for many patients to continue with medication. There is therefore a clinical need for empirical diagnostic tests and more effective drugs to treat severe mental illnesses. Indeed, despite intensive efforts by the pharmaceutical industry, therapeutic regimes available to treat these disorders are aimed largely at relieving symptoms and only appear to slow or halt the underlying disease progression in early stages of less severe cases.

The central goal of the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research (CCNR) is to generate a seamless interface that will link fundamental research using the latest biotechnological advances directly with the patient bedside. This can only be achieved as a dedicated, focused research effort of a small to medium-sized research team that operates in a multidisciplinary fashion. The translation of high-quality research into high-value clinical advances will be an inevitable consequence of these concerted efforts. The team has access to thousands of high-quality patient samples and an extensive brain collection. Some of these samples and others were collected over the last 20 years and are extremely precious. The team also has detailed clinical information to integrate and relate to subsequent biomarkers. This, in turn, is the ideal starting point to make this important and ambitious project a reality. The team has already identified biomarkers in serum and cerebrospinal fluid as well as disease gene signatures in human brain.

Course involvement in the University of Cambridge

Teaching Assistant in Histology and Anatomy; Lectures in Molecular Neurobiology; Runs workshops in Molecular Psychiatry; Lectures in Clinical Psychiatry; Other teaching at a variety of levels , including junior doctors , medical students, Masters, Diploma and PhD students; Teaches students within the NHI-Cambridge Health Scholars Programme.

Publications (selected)

  • E. Schwarz, Y. Levin, L. Wang, M. Leweke & S. Bahn - 'Peptide correlation: A means to identify high quality quantitative information in large scale proteomic studies', J.Sep. Sci, August, 7;30(14): 2190-2197, (2007).
  • Y. Levin, E. Schwarz, L. Wang, M. Leweke & S. Bahn - 'Label free LC-MSMS quantitative proteomics for large scale biomarker discovery in complex samples', J.Sep. Sci, August 2;30(14): 2198-2203, 2007).
  • T.J. Huang, F.M. Leweke, T.M. Tsang, D. Koethe, C.W. Gerth, B.M. Nolden, S. Gross, K. Schreiber, E. Holmes & S. Bahn - 'CSF metabolic and proteomic profiles in patients prodromal for psychosis', PLoS One, August 22;2:e756, (2007).
  • E. Schwarz, Y. Levin, L. Wang, M. Leweke & S. Bahn - 'Peptide correlation: A means to identify high quality quantitative information in large scale proteomic studies', J.Sep. Sci, August, 7;30(14):2190-2197, (2007).
  • S. Bahn - 'Gene expression in bipolar disorder and schizophrenia: new approaches toold problems', Bipolar Disord., 4, Suppl 1:70-2, (2002).

Reviews:

  • K.E. Wilson, M.M. Ryan, J.E. Prime, P.D. Pashby, P.R. Orange, G. O'Beirne, J.G. Whateley, S. Bahn & C.M. Morris - 'Functional Genomics and Proteomics: Application in Neurosciences'. J. Neurology Neurosurg Psychiatry, 75(4):529-538, (2004).
  • S. Bahn, M. Ryan, S. Augood, M. Mimac & P. Emson - 'Gene expression in the post-mortem human brain - no cause for dismay', J. Chem. Neuroanat., 22, 79-94, (2001).

Books/ Book chapters:

  • S. Hemby & S. Bahn (editors) - Functional Genomics and Proteomics in the Clinical Neurosciences, Elsevier, (2006).
  • S. Bahn - 'Gene expression in psychotic disorders: dissecting the basis of complex neuropsychiatric disorders', Search for the Causes of Schizophrenia, Volume 5, Gattaz & Haefner (editors), Springer, (2004).
  • M. Starkey, S. Bahn & H. Mahadeva - 'Indexing-based differential display', Analysing Gene Expression, P. Lorkowski & P. Cullen (editors), Wiley-VCH, (2002).
  • S.Bahn & W. Wisden - 'A map of non-NMDA receptor subunit expression in the vertebrate brain derived from in situ hybridisation histochemistry', The Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors, D.T. Monaghan & R.T. Wenthold (editors), Humana Press, (1996).