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Djenifer Kappel

Dr Djenifer Kappel

Research Associate, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

School of Medicine

Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ


My research is based on understanding the genetic liability to psychiatric conditions and how genetic factors can impact on disease management and its treatment. Specifically, I am studying the impact of rare variants in genes involved in the metabolism of antipsychotic medication and their effects on treatment response in treatment-resistant schizophrenia. This work has important implications for clinical practice and could support the use of personalized pharmacological interventions for the treatment of these individuals.

Taking advantage of my unique perspective as a woman scientist from a South American developing country, I also strive to keep diversity and equity in my research, with a goal to improve the transferability of results to more diverse populations.



About me

I am a Research Associate, and in 2021 I joined Cardiff University to work with Prof. Antonio Pardiñas on the Pharmacogenomics of Antipsychotic Treatment and Response" (PATRON, 2021-2023) project. During this postdoctoral experience, I aim to strengthen my interest in understanding the biological underpinnings of mental illness while also improving the care and quality of life for the individuals affected.

In 2020, I completed my PhD in Genetics from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. My thesis focused on the role of genetic risk factors underlying neurodevelopmental disorders, especially ADHD and Autism, and the biological mechanisms involved in these conditions. I continue to collaborate with the ADHD team and international consortia working on the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Prior to my PhD, I obtained a master’s degree also on genetics and bachelor's in Biomedical science, both also from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Honours and awards

  • CIUK Jacky Pallas Memorial Awards, 2022.
  • The Genetics Society Travel Award, 2022.
  • Guarantors of Brain Travel Award, 2022.
  • WCPG ECR Best Poster Award, 2021.
  • International Brain Research Organization - IBRO International Travel Award, 2020.
  • 2019 Hugh Gurling Memorial Award, International Society of Psychiatric Genetics.
  • Early Career Investigator Travel Award WCPG 2019.
  • UFRGS Genetics and Molecular Biology Productivity Award – Doctorate Program, 2019.
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher Fellow through MiND 2018.
  • UFRGS Genetics and Molecular Biology Productivity Award – Master’s Program, 2015.
  • Science without Borders Full Scholarship to the University of Toronto, 2012.