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Dr Oliver SP Davis  MA (Cantab), MSc, PhD (London)
Sir Henry Wellcome Research Fellow


Oliver is funded by a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust to explore developmental patterns of genome-wide association in cognitive, behavioural and psychiatric disorders. He divides his time between the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the IoP, the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, and the European Bioinformatics Institute near Cambridge.

Oliver graduated from the University of Cambridge with an BA in Biological Natural Sciences, specialising in Experimental Psychology. In 2006 he was awarded an MSc with distinction in Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, and received his PhD in 2009. His research uses statistical and visual analysis of genetic and environmental data to unweave the nature and nurture of complex traits.

activities and interests

Oliver’s current interests include:

Computational biology and statistical techniques for the analysis and visualisation of genome-wide association studies in rich datasets

Quantitative genetics and the twin method, using data from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), a longitudinal study of 10,000 pairs of UK twins

Non-coding RNA and its impact on psychiatric and behavioural traits

Together with Leo Schalkwyk he wrote and maintains the SNPMaP (SNP Microarrays and Pooling) package for R.

teaching activities

Introduction to R, SGDP Summer School 2011, 2012; Course Co-director

Behavioural Genetics and Clinical Psychology course, DClinPsy 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012; Course Co-director

The R Statistical Programming Environment course, SGDP Centre 2008, 2009, 2010; Course Co-director

Analysis of Genetic Association Studies course, SGDP Summer School 2010; Course Tutor

Behavioural Genetics, University College London 2010; Course Tutor

Psychobiology, Birkbeck, University of London 2010; Course Tutor

Bioinformatics for Geneticists course, SGDP Summer School 2009; Course Tutor

Twin Model Fitting: Introducing the New OpenMx, SGDP Summer School 2010; Course Tutor

Human Development, MRCPsych Part 1 2006; Course Tutor


Programming R, Python, Perl, C, Java, Groovy and Processing; Databases with MySQL; Web: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Grails


Citation metrics at ResearcherID and at Google Scholar

Boraska, V., Davis, O.S.P., Cherkas, L.F., Helder, S.G., Harris, J., Krug, I., Liao, T.P., Treasure, J., Christakopoulou, D., Karhunen, L., Keski-Rahkonen, A., Ntalla, I., Raevuori. A., Shin, S., Dedoussis, G.V., Kaprio, J., Soranzo, N., Spector, T.D., Collier, D.A., & Zeggini, E. (submitted for publication) Genome-wide association analysis of eating disorder related symptoms, behaviours and personality traits.

Ludwig, K.U., Sämann, P., Alexander, M., Becker, J., Bruder, J., Moll, K., Streiftau, S., Spieler, D., Czisch, M., Warnke, A., Docherty, S.J., Davis, O.S.P., Plomin, R., Nöthen, M.M., Landerl, K., Müller-Myhsok, B., Hoffmann, P., Schumacher, J., Schulte-Körne, G., & Czamara, D. (submitted for publication). A non-synonymous variant in Myosin-18B is associated with mathematical performance and intraparietal sulcus morphology.

Wright, C.M., Barker, E.D., Heron, J., Davis, O.S.P., & Rijsdijk, F.V. (submitted for publication). Using fit indices to derive meaningful trajectory classes: a cautionary tale.

Hanscombe, K.B., Haworth, M.A., Davis, O.S.P., Petrill, S., Dale, P., Plomin, R., & Kovas, Y. (submitted for publication). Why do spatial abilities predict mathematical performance?

Davis, O.S.P., Haworth, C.M.A., Lewis, C.M., & Plomin, R. (in press). Visual analysis of geocoded twin data puts nature and nurture on the map. Molecular Psychiatry.

Docherty, S.J., Davis, O.S.P., Haworth, C.M.A., Plomin, R., D’Souza, U., & Mill, J. (in press). A genetic association study of DNA methylation levels in the DRD4 gene region finds cis-acting SNP associations. BMC Behavioral and Brain Functions

Jaffee, S.R.*, Hanscombe, K.B.*, Haworth, C.M.A., Davis, O.S.P., & Plomin, R. (in press). Chaotic homes and childrens’ disruptive behaviour: a longitudinal cross-lagged twin study. Psychological Science.

CHARGE & EGG Consortia. (2012). Common variants at 6q22 and 17q21 are associated with intracranial volume. Nature Genetics. doi:10.1038/ng.2245

CHARGE, EAGLE & EGG Consortia. (2012). Common variants at 12q15 and 12q24 are associated with infant head circumference. Nature Genetics. doi:10.1038/ng.2238

Hanscombe, K.B., Trzaskowski, M., Haworth, C.M.A., Davis, O.S.P., Dale, P.S., & R. Plomin (2012). Socioeconomic status (SES) and children’s intelligence (IQ): In a UK-representative sample SES moderates the environmental, not genetic, effect on IQ. PLoS ONE, 7(2), e30320. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030320

Hanscombe, K.B., Haworth, C.M.A., Davis, O.S.P., Jaffee, S.R., & Plomin, R. (2011). Chaotic homes and school achievement: A twin study. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 52(11), 1212-1220. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02421.x

Davis, O.S.P., Butcher, L.M., Docherty, S.J., Meaburn, E.L., Curtis, C.J.C., Simpson, M.A., Schalkwyk, L.C., & Plomin, R. (2010). A three-stage genome-wide association study of general cognitive ability: Hunting the small effects. Behavior Genetics, 40(6), 759-767. doi:10.1007/s10519-010-9350-4

Hanscombe, K.B., Haworth, C.M.A., Davis, O.S.P., Jaffee, S.R., & Plomin, R. (2010). The nature (and nurture) of children’s perceptions of family chaos. Learning and Individual Differences, 20(5), 549-553. doi:10.1016/j.lindif.2010.06.005

Haworth, C.M.A., Wright, M.J., Luciano, M., Martin, N.G., de Geus, E.J.C., van Beijsterveldt, C.E.M., Bartels, M., Posthuma, D., Boomsma, D.I., Davis, O.S.P., Kovas, Y., Corley, R.P., DeFries, J.C., Hewitt, J.K., Olson, R.K., Rhea, S.A., Wadsworth, S.J., Iacono, W.G., McGue, M., Thompson, L.A., Hart, S.A., Petrill, S.A., Lubinski, D., & Plomin, R. (2010). The heritability of general cognitive ability increases linearly from childhood to young adulthood. Molecular Psychiatry, 15, 1112-1120. doi:10.1038/mp.2009.55

Davis, O.S.P., & Plomin, R. (2010). Visualizing genetic similarity at the symptom level: The example of learning disabilities. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(2-3), 155-157. doi:10.1017/S0140525X10000749

Docherty, S.J., Davis, O.S.P., Haworth, C.M.A., Plomin, R., & Mill, J. (2010). DNA methylation profiling using bisulfite-based epityping of pooled genomic DNA. Methods, 52(3), 255-258. doi:10.1016/j.ymeth.2010.06.017.

Viding, E., Hanscombe, K.B., Curtis, C.J.C., Davis, O.S.P., Meaburn, E.L., & Plomin, R. (2010). In search of genes associated with risk for psychopathic tendencies in children: A two-stage genome-wide association study of pooled DNA. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 57(7), 780-788. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02236.x

Docherty, S.J., Davis, O.S.P., Kovas, Y., Meaburn, E.L., Dale, P.S., Petrill, S.A., Schalkwyk, L.C., & Plomin, R. (2010). A genome-wide association study identifies multiple loci associated with mathematics ability and disability. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 9, 234-247. doi:10.1111/j.1601-183X.2009.00553.x

Ronald, A., Butcher, L.M., Docherty, S., Davis, O.S.P., Schalkwyk, L.C., Craig, I.W., & Plomin, R. (2010). A genome-wide association study of social and non-social autistic-like traits in the general population using pooled DNA, 500K SNP microarrays and both community and diagnosed autism replication samples. Behavior Genetics, 40, 31-45. doi:10.1007/s10519-009-9308-6

Plomin, R., Haworth, C.M.A., & Davis, O.S.P. (2009). Common disorders are quantitative traits. Nature Reviews Genetics, 10, 872-878. doi:10.1038/nrg2670

Davis, O.S.P., Haworth, C.M.A., & Plomin, R. (2009). Dramatic increase in heritability of cognitive development from early to middle childhood: An 8-year longitudinal study of 8700 pairs of twins. Psychological Science, 20(10), 1301-1308. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02433.x

Davis, O.S.P., Haworth, C.M.A., & Plomin, R. (2009). Learning abilities and disabilities: Generalist genes in early adolescence. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 14(4), 312-331. doi:10.1080/13546800902797106

Haworth, C.M.A., Wright, M.J., Martin, N.W., Martin, N.G., Boomsma, D.I., Bartels, M., Posthuma, D., Davis, O.S.P., Brant, A.M., Corley, R.P., Hewitt, J.K., Iacono, W.G., McGue, M., Thompson, L.A., Hart, S.A., Petrill, S.A., Lubinski, D., & Plomin, R. (2009). A twin study of the genetics of high cognitive ability selected from 11,000 twin pairs in six studies from four countries. Behavior Genetics, 39, 359-370. doi:10.1007/s10519-009-9262-3

Docherty, S.J., Davis, O.S.P., Haworth, C.M.A., Plomin, R., & Mill, J. (2009). Bisulfite-based epityping on pooled genomic DNA provides an accurate estimate of average group DNA methylation. Epigenetics & Chromatin, 2, 3. doi:10.1186/1756-8935-2-3

Plomin, R., & Davis, O.S.P. (2009). The future of genetics in psychology and psychiatry: Microarrays, genome-wide association, and non-coding RNA. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 50(1-2), 63-71. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01978.x

Davis, O.S.P., Plomin, R., & Schalkwyk, L.C. (2009). The SNPMaP package for R: A framework for genome-wide association using DNA pooling on microarrays. Bioinformatics, 25, 281-283. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btn587

Plomin, R., Haworth, C.M.A., & Davis, O.S.P. (2008, reprinted 2010). Genetics of learning abilities and disabilities: Recent developments from the UK and possible directions for research in China. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 40(10), 1051-1061 and Behavior Genetics, 40(3), 297-305. doi:10.1007/s10519-010-9355-z

Haworth, C.M.A., Carnell, S., Meaburn, E.L., Davis, O.S.P., Plomin, R., & Wardle, J. (2008). Increasing heritability of BMI and stronger associations with the FTO gene over childhood. Obesity, 16, 2663-2668. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.434

Luciano, M., Lind, P.A., Deary, I.J., Payton, A., Posthuma, D., Butcher, L.M., Heutink, P., Whalley, L.J., Visscher, P.M., Harris, S.E., Polderman, T.J.C., Davis, O.S.P., Wright, M.J., Starr, J.M., de Geus, E.J.C., Bates, T.C., Montgomery, G.W., Boomsma, D.I., Martin, N.G., & Plomin, R. (2008). Testing replication of a 5-SNP set for general cognitive ability in six population samples. European Journal of Human Genetics, 16, 1388-1395. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2008.100

Davis, O.S.P., Kovas, Y., Harlaar, N., Busfield, P., McMillan, A., Frances, J., Petrill, S.A., Dale, P.S., & Plomin, R. (2008). Generalist Genes and the Internet generation: etiology of learning abilities by web testing at age 10. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 7, 455-462. doi:10.1111/j.1601-183X.2007.00370.x

Butcher L.M., Davis, O.S.P., Craig, I.W., & Plomin, R. (2008). Genome-wide quantitative trait locus scan of general cognitive ability using pooled DNA and 500K single nucleotide polymorphism microarrays. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 7, 435-446. doi:10.1111/j.1601-183X.2007.00368.x

Davis, O.S.P., Arden, R., & Plomin, R. (2008). g in middle childhood: Moderate genetic and shared environmental influence using diverse measures of general cognitive ability at 7, 9 and 10 years in a large population sample of twins. Intelligence, 36(1), 68-80. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2007.01.006

Haworth, C.M.A., Harlaar, N., Kovas, Y., Davis, O.S.P., Oliver, B.R., Hayiou-Thomas, M.E., Frances, J., Busfield, P., McMillan, A., Dale, P.S., & Plomin, R. (2007). Internet cognitive testing of large samples needed in genetic research. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 10(4), 554-563. doi:10.1375/twin.10.4.554

Davis, O.S.P., & Plomin, R. (2007). Gene environment interactions in early development. In G. Fink, G. Chrousos, I. Craig, E.R. de Kloet, G. Feuerstein, B. McEwen, N. Rose, R. Rubin, & A. Steptoe (Eds). Encyclopedia of Stress: 2nd edition. Oxford: Elsevier.

Plomin, R., & Davis, O.S.P. [or Palfrey-Davis, O.] (2006). Gene-environment interactions and correlations in the development of cognitive abilities and disabilities. In J. MacCabe, O. O’Daly, R.M. Murray, P. McGuffin, & P. Wright (Eds). Beyond Nature and Nurture in Psychiatry: Genes, Environment and their Interplay. Oxford: Informa Healthcare Medical Books.

last updated: Tuesday, November 15, 2011