Dr Livia Carvalho

Name: Livia Carvalho Email: livia.a.carvalho@ucl.ac.uk
Title: Dr Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 5973
Position: Senior Research Associate Fax: +44 (0)20 7916 8542
Department: Epidemiology & Public Health Address: 1 - 19 Torrington Place, London WC1E 7HB
Research Theme: Ageing and Wellbeing, Cardiovascular medicine, Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, Mental Health, Neurosciences Web Page: www.ucl.ac.uk/psychobiology

Research Description

Dr Carvalho's research focuses on investigating the biological pathways involved in the role of glucocorticoid hormones and proinflammatory cytokines in the biological effects of stress, the pathogenesis of depression, and the molecular mechanisms of antidepressant drugs.

Her projects revolve around four major themes: 

1. The biological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of depression in people with heart disease, 

2. The biological mechanisms through which psychological stress exacerbates inflammatory conditions such as cardiovascular disease and increased susceptibility to infection, 

3. Understanding how inflammatory molecules released following activation of the peripheral immune system can signal to the brain to alter cognitive function, behaviour and mood, 

4. The anti-inflammatory mechanism of action of antidepressant drugs.

Studies are carried out in human volunteers (middle-aged adults from the Whitehall II epidemiological cohort, UCL students, and clinical populations) and involve a combination of laboratory-based experiments as well as naturalistic measures. Improved understanding of the pathways linking the central nervous and immune systems is essential for the development of new interventions to prevent and treat inflammatory/infectious disease, as well as the behavioural and depressive symptoms that commonly accompany physical illnesses.


Dr Carvalho has received several prestigious awards including Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), the European Neuropsychopharmacology Society (ECNP), the British Association for Psychopharmacology Non-clinical Award, and the American Psychosomatic Society. She is also Associate Editor for Advances in Psychiatry.

Research and Teaching Profile

Research Interests: Psychological stress and inflammatory disease, Infection, Immunity and depressive illness, Obesity, Inflammation and depression

UCL Collaborators: Dr Aparna Shankar, Dr David Osborne, Dr Kate Walters, Prof Goya Wannamethee, Dr Sheena Ramsay, Prof Andrew Steptoe

Conditions: Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, Major Depression, Cognitive Function

Methods: Psychosocial research, Self-report, Laboratory testing of healthy volunteers and clinical groups, Psychophysiological monitoring, Anthropometric measures, Ambulatory assessment, Phlebotomy, ELISA, Luminex, Affymetrix, quantitative RT-PCR, PBMC cell culture, Cross-sectional analysis, Longitudinal analysis.

Keywords: Psychological stress, Antidepressants, HPA axis, Depression, Cognitive function, Immune stimulus, Cytokines, Antibodies, Inflammation, Cardiovascular disease, Glucocorticoid receptor, Metabolic syndrome.

Education Interests: Psychoneuroimmunology

Education Description: Dr Carvalho supervises research projects of Health Psychology MSc and PhD students within the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health.

Page last modified on 25 nov 13 15:51