GROUP LEADER - Prof. Jonathan Roiser
Address: Alexandra House, 17 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AZ
Our aim is to understand the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying psychiatric symptoms. We utilise experimental techniques drawn from cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, computational modelling and genetics, both in individuals suffering from mental health problems and healthy volunteers.
Currently a major focus of our laboratory is investigating changes in motivational processing and decision-making in depression, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We also collaborate with researchers in the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit to develop and test models of decision-making in healthy volunteers, which can be applied to depression. Other work focuses on how psychopharmacological manipulations alter reward processing, the effect of anxiety on decision making and whether non-invasive brain stimulation can boost the effect of psychological therapy.
Researchers interested in carrying out postdoctoral or PhD projects in Prof Roiser’s lab can contact him directly.
If you are interested in taking part in one of our studies, please visit this webpage to fill out a brief questionnaire, and you will be contacted by a researcher.
- Rick Adams
My research interest is in using the techniques of Computational Psychiatry to understand schizophrenia and psychosis. Understanding the brain at a computational level allows us to link biological, social and psychological accounts of mental function and dysfunction in a mathematically rigorous way (Adams et al., 2015, JNNP).
There is evidence for at least three types of biological pathology in schizophrenia:
i) a loss of synaptic gain in higher regions in the brain's hierarchy, e.g. prefrontal cortex and hippocampus;
ii) an increase in synaptic gain in sensory areas;
iii) hyperactivity of dopamine 2 receptors in the striatum (probably due to increased pre-synaptic synthesis of dopamine).
I use models of brain function to understand how these changes in neurotransmission might cause a variety of phenomena in schizophrenia and psychosis. For more details please see my UCL IRIS profile.
- Siobhan Gormley
I am a Research Assistant working with Dr. Oliver Robinson, investigating the neuropsychopharmacology of emotion processing in anxiety disorders. To do this we are using a techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), computerized cognitive tasks, threat of shock paradigms and pharmacological manipulations.
- Chamith Halahakoon
I am a Clinical Research Associate working on a Wellcome Trust funded project in Professor Jonathan Roiser’s lab. Madeleine Payne, Vincent Valton and I are currently running a study in which we are investigating the effects of dopamine on reward processing in depression. Our ultimate goal is to uncover the mechanisms that underlie depression and discover how these can be altered in a therapeutic way.
- Anahit Mkrtchian
I am a Research Assistant working on a Wellcome Trust funded project with Prof Jon Roiser and Dr Vincent Valton. Our work aims to better understand the neurocognitive mechanisms, especially those related to reward and punishment processing, that underlie symptoms of depression. We approach this work using a variety of techniques such as computerised cognitive tasks, computational modelling, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, and pharmacological manipulations.
- Madeleine Payne
I am a Research Assistant working on a Wellcome Trust funded project with Professor Jonathan Roiser and Dr Vincent Valton. We are currently investigating reward and punishment processing in depression using computerised cognitive tasks and computational models of decision making. The aim of this research is to characterise the underlying cognitive mechanisms of depressive symptoms.
- Oliver Robinson
Oliver Robinson is an MRC Career Development Award Fellow. His work attempts to understand the neuropsychopharmacological underpinnings of emotional processing in psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety disorders. The main research tools used are computerized neuropsychological testing, computational models of decision making and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The specific fMRI focus is on prefrontal-amygdala circuits and the pharmacological focus is on the neurotransmitter serotonin. The ultimate goal is to clarify the neuropsychopharmacological circuitry of emotional processing in anxiety and depression, such that it becomes possible to tune this circuitry back towards healthy function.
- Ioannis Sarigiannidis
Ioannis (Yannis) Sarigiannidis is a PhD student supervised by Prof Jonathan Roiser and Dr Oliver Robinson, funded by a Wellcome Trust-NIH scheme. He is currently investigating how aversive states including fear and anxiety influence perception and specifically how they might alter our subjective sense of time.
- Vincent Valton
I am a Postdoctoral researcher in computational neuropsychiatry working with Dr. Jonathan P. Roiser at the ICN (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL), and collaborating with Prof. Peter Dayan (Gatsby Unit, UCL). I work primarily on a Wellcome Trust project awarded to Dr. J.P. Roiser aiming at elucidating reward and punishment processing anomalies in Depression. Using computational methods such as Reinforcement-Learning or Bayesian inference models, we attempt to assay various hypotheses of cognitive processes (e.g. learning and/or decision-making) that may go awry in mental illness. Ultimately, the goals of this project are to identify the neurobiological and computational processes that may differ to that of healthy subjects in Depression. These, could in turn lead to a better understanding of the continuum and/or sub-categories observed in Depression and result in better “personalised care” for patients.