UCL Institute of Mental Health


Catalyst Seminar Series in Children and Young People’s Mental Health Launch

03 February 2021, 1:00 pm–2:30 pm

CYPMH logo

This event is the launch of the Catalyst Seminar Series in Children and Young People’s Mental Health.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Maya Sapir

Children and young people’s mental health is an area of considerable societal need and has been the focus of a number of recent research council and charity funding initiatives, it is also one of the UCL Mental Health Research Strategy priority areas. UCL has substantial research strengths, across multiple domains, that can and should be at the forefront of leading innovative, cross-disciplinary work in this area.

The UCL Catalyst seminar series is intended to spark fresh thinking and debate, featuring cutting-edge UCL research relevant for children and young people’s mental health and facilitating new connections between scientists working in different disciplines.

The first event focuses on the impact of early adversity on mental health vulnerability and features investigators from three different disciplines. Each will give a short talk of their research and will consider how their work would benefit from connecting with scientists from other disciplines. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion and questions.

Speakers: (more details on the speakers can be found at the bottom)

  • Dr Rebecca Lacey, Lecturer in Quantitative Methods & Life Course Epidemiology - 'Early life adversities and trajectories of internalising, externalising and prosocial behaviours'
  • Dr Andrew Macaskill, Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellow in Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology
  • Professor Eamon Mccrory, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology - 'Brain adaptation, adversity and mental health vulnerability: Why a social transactional approach matters'

The event will be opened by Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences and Professor Anthony David, the Director of UCL’s Institute of Mental Health and chaired by Professor Essi Viding, Chair of the UCL’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health Strategy Implementation Working Group.

***Registration is essential to receive the joining instructions. These will be sent 1-2 days before the event***

About the Speakers

Dr Rebecca Lacey

Rebecca completed a PhD in Epidemiology from UCL in 2012 investigating the association between parental separation and adult psychological distress in three British birth cohorts (1946, 1958 and 1970), with a particular focus on the material and relational pathways involved. Since then she has been working in the Research Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in life course social epidemiology. She is currently a Lecturer in Quantitative Methods and Lifecourse Epidemiology. She leads an ESRC-funded project on the clustering of early life adversities and associations with mental health and inflammation across the life course.

Dr Andrew Macaskill

Andrew graduated in 2005 with a first class degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. He carried out PhD studies with Prof Josef Kittler as part of the Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD program in Neuroscience at UCL, before moving to New York as a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow to work with Adam Carter at the Centre For Neural Science at New York University. Andrew started his independent research group in 2015, as a UCL Excellence Fellow and Welcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow.

Professor Eamon Mccrory

After reading Natural Sciences at Cambridge University I completed a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL supervised by Prof. Uta Frith and Prof. Cathy Price. I then completed a Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at King’s College London followed by several years working clinically with children and adolescents. Since joining UCL in 2006 I have built a collaborative MRes programme with Yale University where I hold an adjunct appointment. I have also since 2009 been part of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families Senior Leadership team and most recently, have taken on the role of Co-Director of the UK Trauma Council. The UKTC brings together expert clinicians and practitioners from all four nations of the UK. It seeks to work collaboratively to transform the help and support that children who experience trauma receive. It will launch in September 2020.

Talk abstract - Childhood trauma, in the form of maltreatment and neglect, is one of the strongest predictors of later mental health problems across the lifespan. However, the neurobiological mechanisms by which childhood adversity 'gets under the skin' remain poorly understood. Prof McCrory will highlight the complex relationship between the brain, childhood trauma, the social world and mental health. He will argue that mental health and wellbeing are intrinsically relational phenomena, and it is erroneous to think of them as ‘located’ within an individual or their brain. Rather, we need to think of the brain as a socially embedded organ. The concepts of Stress Generation and Social Thinning will be introduced to illustrate this argument, and implications for prevention and intervention will be noted.