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Neuroscience

Neuroscience - brain image colour graphic

We are proud to be a part of UCL’s remarkable neuroscience community, investigating the neurobiology of risk and resilience in adults and children across the entire human lifespan. We conduct research into: psychopathology (including psychosis, anxiety, affect regulation, personality, addiction); developmental problems (involving attachment, conduct disorders and cognition); neurotrauma and resultant impairments. A broad range of techniques are used, including MRI, EEG, electrophysiology, genetics, twin studies and virtual reality. We develop a neuroscientific understanding of the origins and maintaining factors of these problems, which can help in developing new interventions, provide clear assessment of impairments and progression of pathology, and thus inform clinical and educational activities. 

You will find details of specific programmes of research within individual researchers’ profiles, and in the teaching and research pages for our Doctoral and Masters training courses.

Neurocognitive risk factors for adolescent depression: a high-risk longitudinal study
adolescent depression

PI: Dr. Frances Rice

£405,933 Medical Research Council (2009-2013)

This is a longitudinal study of emotional processing in adolescents with a depressed parent.  It aimed to identify cognitive processes that could be measured reliability and were risk and protective factors for developing adolescent depression. We have identified a number of risk processes, including over-general autobiographical memory and lowered sensitivity to reward.  An extension to the original grant has allowed us to work with cognitive therapists to develop programmes to prevent adolescent depression.  We have tested these programmes with teenagers in schools and are examining whether participating in the programmes alter depressive symptoms or these emotional risk factors.  The long-term aim is to employ findings from basic research to develop and refine more effective methods of prevention



Risk and Resilience Following Childhood Maltreatment: A Longitudinal Investigation

PI: Eamon McCrory

Co-Is: Essi Viding, Andrea Mechelli

£806,503 Economic and Social Research Council (2013-2017)

Childhood maltreatment continues to represent a major societal problem. The NSPCC have reported that almost one in five adolescents in the UK report experiencing severe maltreatment. Exposure to maltreatment significantly increases a child's risk of later mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. Over the last decade neuroscience has begun to shed light on why early adversity may be associated with future problems – but there are many important questions we still need to answer. Do the 'neural markers' associated with maltreatment go away over time or do they persist? Are these neural markers associated with future symptoms of anxiety or depression? Do brain changes differ across boys and girls? And what do we know about resilience? We plan to answer these questions by carrying out a longitudinal fMRI study comparing children exposed to maltreatment with matched peers. We hope that our research will contribute to a better understanding of the impact of maltreatment 

Das, R., Kamboj, S., Redman, E., Curran, H. V., & Morgan C. (2013). Cannabidiol enhances consolidation of fear extinction in humans. Psychopharmacology, 226, 781-92.

Kamboj, S., Joye, A., Bisby, J., Das, R., Platt, B., & Curran, H. V. (2013). Processing of facial affect in social drinkers: A dose-response study using dynamic emotion expressions. Psychopharmacology, 227, 31-39.

Morgan C. J, Page, E., Schaefer, C., Chatten, K., Manocha,A ,, Gulati, S., Curran, H.V , Brandner, B., & Leweke, F. M. (2013). Cerebrospinal fluid anandamide levels, cannabis use and psychotic-like symptoms. British Journal of Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.03.011

Bloomfield, M. A. P., Morgan, C. J. A., Egerton, A., Kapur, S., Curran, H. V., & Howes, O. D. (in press) Dopa­minergic function in cannabis users and its relationship to cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms. Biological Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.05.027

Page last modified on 29 aug 13 15:28