UCL Institute of Mental Health


Supervisors and steering committee

The UCL Wellcome 4-year PhD Programme in Mental Health Science is an exciting opportunity for students to train in a wide range of the latest methods and techniques in the field of mental health research. This programme, funded in 2019, is the first of its kind in the UK, representing an investment of over £5 million by the Wellcome Trust. It is based in the UCL Institute of Mental Health, and will recruit six students per year from 2020-2024.

A call for supervisors for the programme is issued on an annual basis, typically in March. The criteria for being approved as a supervisor are as follows:

-    Have a either an open-ended position or proleptic appointment with UCL, or a substantive fixed-term contract that would outlast the length of a studentship (for example, for students starting in September 2021, the contract must end no earlier than September 2025).
-    Be eligible to be primary supervisor according to UCL regulations, including completion of the required courses.
-    Have experience of supervising (either as primary or as secondary supervisor) at least one PhD student to the point of thesis submission.
-    Have a strong track record of research directly relevant to mental health, which is a good fit with the programme.

Additionally, once approved, all supervisors must undertake a mandatory half-day supervisor training course specifically designed for the programme, and submit at least two examples of possible rotation projects.

Consistent with the interdisciplinary ethos of the programme, the steering committee is drawn from a wide range of disciplines relevant to mental health research. 

Steering committee member 
Prof Jonathan Roiser (Director)Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health in the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. He founded and directs the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience, and previously directed the UCL MRC 4-year PhD Programme in Mental Health.
Prof Claudia Cooper (co-Director)Professor of Psychiatry of Older Age in the UCL Division of Psychiatry, and Honorary NHS Consultant Psychiatrist. She is Postgraduate Tutor in the Division of Psychiatry.
Prof Pasco Fearon (co-Director)Professor of Developmental Psychopathology and Director of UCL’s doctoral programme in Clinical Psychology. He is Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Unit at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, and is closely involved in national child mental health policy.
Dr Anna Remington (Patient and Public Involvement Champion)Associate Professor and Director of the Centre Research in Autism and Education at the UCL Institute of Education. She holds a Wellcome Hub Award on wellbeing and productivity in people with autism and learning disability, and has received awards for her public engagement and participatory work.
Dr Alexandra Pitman (Wellbeing Champion)Associate Professor in the UCL Division of Psychiatry and Honorary NHS Consultant Psychiatrist. She uses epidemiological approaches to identify risk factors for suicide and self-harm, and designs preventative interventions to address modifiable risk factors.
Prof Marcus Richards (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Champion)Professor of Psychology in Epidemiology, and leader of the Mental Ageing Programme for the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing. He is heavily involved in UCL’s Inclusive Advocacy scheme for black and minority ethnic (BAME) students and staff.

The supervisor list comprises ~60 leading researchers at UCL, including several early-career researchers, distributed across the three themes of the programme.

NamePositionResearch Area
Prof Jonathan RoiserProfessor of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Programme DirectorNeural and cognitive mechanisms driving mental illness, especially depression (Mechanism)
Prof Claudia CooperProfessor of Psychiatry of Older Age, Programme Co-DirectorPsychological interventions to prevent and improve life quality in dementia (Intervention)
Prof Pasco FearonProfessor of Developmental Psychopathology, Programme Co-DirectorEarly childhood determinants of mental health and adjustment (Population)
Dr Anna RemingtonAssociate Professor, Programme CommitteeCognitive skills and abilities in autism and their practical application (Mechanism)
Prof Marcus RichardsProfessor of Psychology in Epidemiology, Programme CommitteeLife course approaches to mental ageing: depression and cognitive function (Population)
Dr Alexandra PitmanClinical Associate Professor, Programme CommitteeRisk factors for suicidality; links between loneliness and mental illness (Intervention)
Dr Rick AdamsClinical Research FellowComputational modelling of the brain and behaviour in schizophrenia (Mechanism)
Dr Dominik BachPrincipal Clinical Research FellowThreat avoidance and aversive learning in health and disease; behavioural research methods (Mechanism)
Dr Vaughan BellAssociate ProfessorSocial cognition in psychosis and neuropsychiatric disorders (Mechanism)
Prof Elvira BramonProfessor of Neuroscience and Mental HealthBiological markers for psychosis and their genetic influences (Mechanism)
Dr Marc BuscheProgramme Leader

Cellular and circuit mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders (Mechanism)

Dr Laura CraneAssociate ProfessorMental health conditions in autistic children, adolescents and adults (Mechanism)
Prof Ray Dolan FRSMary Kinross Professor of NeuropsychiatryComputational and neural basis of motivation in health and disease (Mechanism)
Dr Aikaterini FotopoulouReader in Psychodynamic NeuroscienceBody representation and interoception in eating disorders (Mechanism)
Prof Alasdair GibbProfessor of PharmacologyDopaminergic neuron NMDA receptor function and pharmacology (Mechanism)
Dr Tobias HauserSenior Research FellowNeurocomputational mechanisms underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder (Mechanism)
Dr Quentin HuysClinical Senior LecturerDeveloping computational and cognitive methods to address clinical problems in psychiatry (Mechanism)
Prof Josef KittlerProfessor of Molecular NeurobiologyThe genetic mechanisms driving synaptic dysfunction in neuropsychiatric conditions (Mechanism)
Dr Andrew MacAskillSenior Research FellowSynaptic and circuit process in rodent analogues of mental illness (Mechanism)
Dr Liam MasonLecturer in Clinical PsychologyMechanisms of mood instability and decision-making in bipolar disorder (Mechanism)
Prof Eamon McCroryProfessor of Developmental Neuroscience and PsychopathologyNeurocognitive mechanisms implicated in mental health vulnerability following childhood maltreatment (Mechanism)
Dr Andrew McQuillinAssociate ProfessorGenetic underpinnings of a range of mental illnesses and substance misuse disorders using large scale molecular genetics (Mechanism)
Dr Oliver RobinsonPrincipal Research FellowThe neurocognitive and computational basis of mental illness, focusing on anxiety (Mechanism)
Prof Trevor SmartSchild Professor of PharmacologyThe molecular, cellular and circuit basis of mental health disorders from the perspective of dysfunctional brain inhibition (Mechanism)
Dr Nikolaus SteinbeisPrincipal Research FellowThe development of emotion regulation in children and its role in psychological wellbeing (Mechanism)
Prof Essi VidingProfessor of Developmental PsychopathologyGenetic, environmental and neurocognitive mechanisms contributing to the development of antisocial behaviour (Mechanism)
Dr Sarah WhiteSenior Research FellowCognitive and neural mechanisms underlying autism (Mechanism)
Prof David BattyProfessor of EpidemiologySocial, psychological, biological, behavioural and genetic risks for mental illness (Population)
Dr Daisy FancourtAssociate Professor of Psychobiology & Epidemiology Links between social, cultural and community engagement and psychological, biological, social and behavioural factors (Population)
Prof Eirini FlouriProfessor of Developmental PsychologySocial and biological influences on children’s emotional and behavioural problems (Population)
Dr James KirkbrideAssociate ProfessorSocial epidemiology of psychotic disorders, including migration, ethnicity and urbanization (Population)
Dr Karoline KuchenbaeckerAssociate ProfessorThe genetics of depression in diverse populations (Population)
Prof Glyn LewisProfessor of Epidemiological PsychiatryEpidemiology of psychiatric disorders and randomised clinical trials of depression (Population)
Dr Clare LlewellynAssociate ProfessorHow genes and the environment impact habits, obesity and mental health (Population)
Prof Janaina Mourão-MirandaProfessorial Research FellowDevelopment and application of machine learning models to neuroimaging (Population)
Prof Irwin NazarethProfessor of Primary Care and Population ScienceMental health in lower & middle income countries (Population)
Prof Courtenay NorburyProfessor of Developmental Disorders of Language and CommunicationDevelopmental relationships between language disorder and social, emotional, and mental health outcomes (Population)
Prof David OsbornProfessor of Psychiatric EpidemiologyMental health epidemiology including outcomes in psychosis and physical comorbidity (Population)
Dr Praveetha PatalayAssociate ProfessorMental health across the lifecourse; developmental trajectories, antecedents and consequences (Population)
Prof Irene Petersen Professor of Epidemiology and Health InformaticsLinks between physical and mental health in primary care (Population)
Dr Jean-Baptiste PingaultAssociate ProfessorGenetic and environmental pathways to childhood and adolescent mental health (Population)
Prof George PloubidisProfessor of Population Health and StatisticsAntecedents and consequences of common mental disorders over the lifecourse (Population)
Prof Andrew SteptoeProfessor of Psychology and EpidemiologyDeterminants and consequences of mental ill-health in population cohorts of middle-aged and older participants (Population)
Prof Kate WaltersProfessor of Primary Care & EpidemiologyPredicting and improving mental health outcomes in people with complex needs  (Population)
Prof Ian WongProfessor of Pharmacy Practice / Medicines UsePopulation-based studies of medication use in child mental illness (Population)
Dr Georgina CharlesworthSenior LecturerCaring and coping in later life (Intervention)
Prof Anthony DavidProfessor of Mental HealthInsight and awareness, depersonalisation disorder and functional neurological disorders (Intervention)
Dr Jessica DeightonReader in Child Mental Health and WellbeingEvaluation of interventions to support mental health and well-being in children (Intervention)
Prof Peter FonagyProfessor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental SciencePsychosocial treatments for youths and individuals with persistent mental disorders (Intervention)
Prof Gill LivingstonProfessor of Psychiatry of Older PeopleLife course interventions to prevent and delay dementia, treat neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia and improve mental health of family carers (interventions)
Dr Rebecca GouldSenior Research Associate

Psychological interventions in mental and physical health disorders (Intervention)

Prof Angela HassiotisProfessor of  Psychiatry of Intellectual DisabilityInterventions and epidemiology of neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disability (Intervention)
Dr Amy HarrisonLecturer in PsychologyDeveloping treatments for eating disorders through understanding their cognitive, social and emotional mechanisms (Intervention)
Prof Robert HowardProfessor of Old Age PsychiatryImproving treatment for psychosis, anxiety, depression and symptoms of dementia (Intervention)
Prof Sonia JohnsonProfessor of Social and Community PsychiatryDevelopment, evaluation of psychosocial interventions; social influences on mental health (Intervention)
Prof Eileen JoyceProfessor of NeuropsychiatryNovel treatments in neuropsychiatric disorders: schizophrenia (cognitive remediation), OCD (deep brain stimulation) (Intervention)
Prof Sunjeev KambojProfessor of Translational Clinical PsychologyMemory modification as a therapeutic strategy for psychological disorders (Intervention)
Prof Helen KillaspyProfessor of Rehabilitation PsychiatryEvaluation of effectiveness of specialist services for people with complex mental health needs (Intervention)
Dr John KingAssociate ProfessorVirtual reality embodiment as a tool for modifying self-compassion in mental illness (Intervention)
Dr Bryn Lloyd-EvansSenior LecturerMental health services research, especially crisis care (Intervention)
Dr Will MandyAssociate ProfessorImproving recognition and clinical care of autistic people (Intervention)
Prof Aimee SpectorProfessor of Old Age Clinical PsychologyDevelopment and evaluation of psychosocial interventions and outcome measures for people with dementia (Intervention)
Prof Stephen PillingProfessor of Clinical Psychology and Clinical EffectivenessEffectiveness of psychological interventions, including prognosis and prediction of response (Intervention)
Prof Greta RaitProfessor of Primary Care and Health Services ResearchCommon mental disorders in primary care and complex interventions: epidemiology and trials (Intervention)
Prof Liz SampsonClinical Reader in PsychiatryPalliative care, pain and symptom management for people with dementia (Intervention)
Prof Roz ShafranProfessor of Translational PsychologyDevelopment and evaluation of psychological interventions (Intervention)