Meet the team

EDGE Lab Lead
DGaysina2017Darya Gaysina, PhD

Darya Gaysina is a Director of the EDGE Lab and a Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology, University of Sussex.

Darya obtained a first class degree in Biology from the Bashkir State University, Russia, and PhD in Human Genetics from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Her PhD thesis was devoted to investigating molecular genetic risk factors for human agressive and suicidal behaviour. She was awarded an INTAS Postdoctoral Fellowship to continue her research into genetic underpinnings of suicidal behaviour and major depression at the Institute Biochemistry and Genetics, RAS and at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. After that, she was awarded an MRC Career Development Fellowship to develop a research programme in the life course epidemiology of affective disorders at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL. Darya became a Lecturer at the University of Leicester before joining the University of Sussex in 2013. Her research interests are focused on exploring environmental and genetic factors, and their interplay, in relation to affective disorders across the life course. In her research, Darya combines approaches of molecular genetics, life course epidemiology, and developmental psychopathology. She is an author of more than 50 peer-reviewed research papers, 5 book chapters and a co-editor (with Y. Kovas and S. Malykh) of two books 'Behavioural Genetics for Education' (in English) and 'Behavioural Genomics: Child Development And Education' (in Russian).

Sussex profile

ORCID profile

Google Scholar profile

Postgraduate Students & Lab Researchers
Ellen ThompsonEllen Thompson, BSc, MSc, PhD

After completing a Psychology BSc degree at Reading University, Ellen went on to assist on a research project at Reading, which investigated the aetiology, development and treatment of contamination fears in obsessive compulsive disorder. Since moving to Brighton in 2012, under the supervision of Sam Cartwright-Hatton, Ellen assisted on a project at the School of Psychology, Sussex University, which explored processes involved in the transmission of anxiety from parents to children; and completed an MSc in Foundations of Clinical Psychology and Mental Health. Ellen's Ph.D. project investigated the role of early life risk factors in mental health over the life course. Ellen successfully passed her PhD viva in June 2018,and she is currently doing an internship project at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies at UCL and working on her PhD publications.

AmberJohnAmber John, BSc, MSc

Amber completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Reading and then completed her Masters’ degree in Human Development at Cornell University. After working in healthcare for 6 months, she moved to Sussex to start her PhD training supported by an ESRC studentship in the EDGE Lab. She is currently investigating the lifelong relationship between common mental health problems (CMHP) and cognitive ageing. Using a number of complementary longitudinal cohort data sets (1946 NSHD, 1958 NCDS & 1970 BCS), she explores social, behavioural and biological risk and resilience pathways between CMHP and accelerated cognitive ageing. Her project is supervised by Darya Gaysina (primary supervisor), and Prof Jenny Rusted (Sussex) and Prof Marcus Richards (UCL).  

Postgraduate Taught Students 2017-2018:

Georgia Bell

Polly Chatwin

Luisa Portelli 

Undergraduate Students & Lab Research Assistants

Alexandra_SchmidtAlexandra Schmidt, Sussex Junior Research Assistant

Following a successful professional career in Finance, Ali gained an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Psychology from City College Brighton & Hove. During this time, she also volunteered at the Lighthouse Recovery Centre for people living with a personality disorder. She then joined the University of Sussex in 2016 for her undergraduate degree, where she is also a student mentor. As part of the Junior Research Associate programme, Ali is currently working on a project looking at physical activity as a protective factor for affective problems in individuals having suffered adverse childhood experiences. Following her undergraduate degree, Ali is hoping to build on her keen research interest and pursue postgraduate study.


2018: Amy Cohen, Senara Rogers, Emily Welsh, Eleanor Barlow, Chloe Muchmore, Thea Tuck, Maria-Eleni Leontiadi

Prof Marcus Richards and Prof Diana Kuh: MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, UCL
Prof Sergey Malykh and Prof Tatiana Tikhomirova: Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education
Prof Elza Khusnutdinova and Dr Anastasia Kazantseva: Laboratory of Human Molecular Genetics, Institute of Biochemistry and Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences
Dr Elena Sabirova, Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University
Prof Yulia Kovas: InLab, Goldsmiths, University College London; Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioural Genetics, Tomsk State University, Russia
Dr Kostas A. Papageorgiou: InteRRaCt Lab, School of Psychology, Queen's University Belfast 
Dr Douglas Barrett: School of Psychology, University of Leicester 
Dr Frances Maratos: School of Psychology, University of Derby

We are happy to receive informal inquiries from prospective PhD students and/or visiting researchers interested in joining EDGE Lab team.