Ditte Demontis is professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, and key researcher in iPSYCH, which is an interdisciplinary large research project studying risk factors for major psychiatric disorders. Her work involves large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and whole-exome sequencing studies including hundreds of thousands of individuals to identify genetic variants and biological mechanisms involved in substance use disorder and externalizing childhood psychiatric disorders, primarily Attention-Deficit/HyperActivity disorder (ADHD) and Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBDs).
She spearheaded the two recent GWAS meta-analyses of ADHD (Demontis et al, Nature Genetics, 2019 and Demontis et al. Nature Genetics 2023), which have revealed the first genome-wide significant loci for ADHD and provided exciting new information about the biological mechanisms involved in the disorder. She has led the international collaboration around GWAS of DBDs in the EU funded Aggressotype Consortium identifying the first risk loci for DBDs in the context of ADHD (Demontis et al, Nature Communications, 2021), and the large genetic studies identifying the first robust risk loci for cannabis disorder (Demontis et al. Nature Neuroscience 2019; Johnson, Demontis, Thorgeirsson et al. Lancet Psychiatry 2020). Findings which included a locus implicating CHRNA2, which encode the alpha-2 subunit of the nicotine receptor, in cannabis use disorder.
Her work has had a strong impact on international research in the field of psychiatric genetics, and she received the prestigious Richard Todd Award in 2019 given by the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics, for her outstanding contribution to the genetics of child psychiatry.