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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 ~80 leading researchers at UCL, including several early-career researchers, distributed across the three themes of the programme.

Name

Position

Research Area

Prof Jonathan Roiser

Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health, Programme Director

Neural and cognitive mechanisms driving mental illness, especially depression (Mechanism)

Prof Claudia Cooper

Professor of Psychiatry of Older Age, Programme Co-Director

Psychological interventions to prevent and improve life quality in dementia (Intervention)

Prof Pasco Fearon

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology, Programme Co-Director

Early childhood determinants of mental health and adjustment (Population)

Dr Anna Remington

Associate Professor, Programme Committee

Cognitive skills and abilities in autism and their practical application (Mechanism)

Prof Marcus Richards

Professor of Psychology in Epidemiology, Programme Committee

Life course approaches to mental ageing: depression and cognitive function (Population)

Dr Alexandra Pitman

Clinical Associate Professor, Programme Committee

Risk factors for suicidality; links between loneliness and mental illness (Intervention)

Dr Rick Adams

Clinical Research Fellow

Computational modelling of the brain and behaviour in schizophrenia (Mechanism)

Dr Dominik Bach

Principal Clinical Research Fellow

Threat avoidance and aversive learning in health and disease; behavioural research methods (Mechanism)

Dr Vaughan Bell

Associate Professor

Social cognition in psychosis and neuropsychiatric disorders (Mechanism)

Prof Elvira Bramon

Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Biological markers for psychosis and their genetic influences (Mechanism)

Dr Marc Busche

Programme Leader

Cellular and circuit mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders (Mechanism)

Dr Laura Crane

Associate Professor

Mental health conditions in autistic children, adolescents and adults (Mechanism)

Dr Michael Devine 

Clinical Group Leader

Molecular processes  underpinning neurological and psychiatric
disorders  (Mechanism)

Prof Ray Dolan FRS

Mary Kinross Professor of Neuropsychiatry

Computational and neural basis of motivation in health and disease (Mechanism)

Dr Aikaterini Fotopoulou

Reader in Psychodynamic Neuroscience

Body representation and interoception in eating disorders (Mechanism)

Prof Sarah Garfinkel

Professor of Clinical and Affective Neuroscience

Emotion processing in anxiety, autism, PTSD and psychosis (Mechanism)

Prof Alasdair Gibb

Professor of Pharmacology

Dopaminergic neuron NMDA receptor function and pharmacology (Mechanism)

Prof Antonia Hamilton

Prof of Social Neuroscience

Social skills in autism, neural mechanisms of social interaction (Mechanism)

Dr Tobias Hauser

Senior Research Fellow

Neurocomputational mechanisms underlying obsessive-compulsive disorder (Mechanism)

Prof Michael Hausser

Professor of Neuroscience

Cellular basis of neural computation in the mammalian brain (Mechanism)

Dr Quentin Huys

Clinical Senior Lecturer

Developing computational and cognitive methods to address clinical problems in psychiatry (Mechanism)

Prof Josef Kittler

Professor of Molecular Neurobiology

The genetic mechanisms driving synaptic dysfunction in neuropsychiatric conditions (Mechanism)

Dr Andrew MacAskill

Senior Research Fellow

Synaptic and circuit process in rodent analogues of mental illness (Mechanism)

Dr Liam Mason

Lecturer in Clinical Psychology

Mechanisms of mood instability and decision-making in bipolar disorder (Mechanism)

Prof Eamon McCrory

Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology

Neurocognitive mechanisms implicated in mental health vulnerability following childhood maltreatment (Mechanism)

Dr Andrew McQuillin

Associate Professor

Genetic underpinnings of a range of mental illnesses and substance misuse disorders using large scale molecular genetics (Mechanism)

Dr Oliver Robinson

Principal Research Fellow

The neurocognitive and computational basis of mental illness, focusing on anxiety (Mechanism)

Prof Anette Schragg

Prof of Clinical Neuroscience

Imaging and clinical correlates of anxiety and depression in Parkinson's (Mechanism)

Prof Trevor Smart

Schild Professor of Pharmacology

The molecular, cellular and circuit basis of mental health disorders from the perspective of dysfunctional brain inhibition (Mechanism)

Prof Tali Sharot

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Information seeking and mental health, Belief formation and mental health, Affective disorders (Mechanisms)

Dr Nikolaus Steinbeis

Principal Research Fellow

The development of emotion regulation in children and its role in psychological wellbeing (Mechanism)

Prof Essi Viding

Professor of Developmental Psychopathology

Genetic, environmental and neurocognitive mechanisms contributing to the development of antisocial behaviour (Mechanism)

Prof Jason Warren

Professor of Neurology

Systems neuroscience of auditory, socioemotional and other complex behaviours in neurodegenerative disorders (Mechanism)

Dr Sarah White

Senior Research Fellow

Cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying autism (Mechanism)

Dr Afia Ali

Clinical Research Fellow

Impact of stigma and discrimination on the wellbeing of people with intellectual disability (Population)

Dr David Bann

Associate Professor in Population Health

Effects of societal changes in physical and mental health (Population)

Prof David Batty

Professor of Epidemiology

Social, psychological, biological, behavioural and genetic risks for mental illness (Population)

Dr Daisy Fancourt

Associate Professor of Psychobiology & Epidemiology

Links between social, cultural and community engagement and psychological, biological, social and behavioural factors (Population)

Prof Eirini Flouri

Professor of Developmental Psychology

Social and biological influences on children’s emotional and behavioural problems (Population)

Dr Steven Jivraj

Associate Professor in Epidemiology and Public Health

Mental health of ageing populations and social inequality (Population)

Dr James Kirkbride

Associate Professor

Social epidemiology of psychotic disorders, including migration, ethnicity and urbanization (Population)

Dr Karoline Kuchenbaecker

Associate Professor

The genetics of depression in diverse populations (Population)

Dr Gemma Lewis

Senior research fellow and lecturer in psychiatric epidemiology

Epidemiology of common mental health disorders (Population)

Prof Glyn Lewis

Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry

Epidemiology of psychiatric disorders and randomised clinical trials of depression (Population)

Dr Clare Llewellyn

Associate Professor

How genes and the environment impact habits, obesity and mental health (Population)

Prof Janaina Mourão-Miranda

Professorial Research Fellow

Development and application of machine learning models to neuroimaging (Population)

Prof Irwin Nazareth

Professor of Primary Care and Population Science

Mental health in lower & middle income countries (Population)

Prof Courtenay Norbury

Professor of Developmental Disorders of Language and Communication

Developmental relationships between language disorder and social, emotional, and mental health outcomes (Population)

Dr Bonamy Oliver

Associate Professor in Developmental Psychology

Children’s socio-emotional development, psychological adjustment and mental health (Population)

Prof David Osborn

Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology

Mental health epidemiology including outcomes in psychosis and physical comorbidity (Population)

Dr Praveetha Patalay

Associate Professor

Mental health across the lifecourse; developmental trajectories, antecedents and consequences (Population)

Prof Irene Petersen 

Professor of Epidemiology and Health Informatics

Links between physical and mental health in primary care (Population)

Dr Jean-Baptiste Pingault

Associate Professor

Genetic and environmental pathways to childhood and adolescent mental health (Population)

Prof George Ploubidis

Professor of Population Health and Statistics

Antecedents and consequences of common mental disorders over the lifecourse (Population)

Prof Andrew Steptoe

Professor of Psychology and Epidemiology

Determinants and consequences of mental ill-health in population cohorts of middle-aged and older participants (Population)

Prof Kate Walters

Professor of Primary Care & Epidemiology

Predicting and improving mental health outcomes in people with complex needs  (Population)

Prof Ian Wong

Professor of Pharmacy Practice / Medicines Use

Population-based studies of medication use in child mental illness (Population)

Dr Georgina Charlesworth

Senior Lecturer

Caring and coping in later life (Intervention)

Prof Anthony David

Professor of Mental Health

Insight and awareness, depersonalisation disorder and functional neurological disorders (Intervention)

Dr Jessica Deighton

Reader in Child Mental Health and Wellbeing

Evaluation of interventions to support mental health and well-being in children (Intervention)

Prof Peter Fonagy

Professor of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and Developmental Science

Psychosocial treatments for youths and individuals with persistent mental disorders (Intervention)

Prof Gill Livingston

Professor of Psychiatry of Older People

Life course interventions to prevent and delay dementia, treat neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia and improve mental health of family carers (Intervention)

Dr Rebecca Gould

Senior Research Associate

Psychological interventions in mental and physical health disorders (Intervention)

Prof Angela Hassiotis

Professor of  Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability

Interventions and epidemiology of neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disability (Intervention)

Dr Amy Harrison

Lecturer in Psychology

Developing treatments for eating disorders through understanding their cognitive, social and emotional mechanisms (Intervention)

Dr Joseph HayesPrincipal Research FellowEpidemiology and social psychiatry, data science (Intervention)

Prof Robert Howard

Professor of Old Age Psychiatry

Improving treatment for psychosis, anxiety, depression and symptoms of dementia (Intervention)

Prof Sonia Johnson

Professor of Social and Community Psychiatry

Development, evaluation of psychosocial interventions; social influences on mental health (Intervention)

Prof Eileen Joyce

Professor of Neuropsychiatry

Novel treatments in neuropsychiatric disorders: schizophrenia (cognitive remediation), OCD (deep brain stimulation) (Intervention)

Prof Sunjeev Kamboj

Professor of Translational Clinical Psychology

Memory modification as a therapeutic strategy for psychological disorders (Intervention)

Prof Helen Killaspy

Professor of Rehabilitation Psychiatry

Evaluation of effectiveness of specialist services for people with complex mental health needs (Intervention)

Dr John King

Associate Professor

Virtual reality embodiment as a tool for modifying self-compassion in mental illness (Intervention)

Dr Bryn Lloyd-Evans

Senior Lecturer

Mental health services research, especially crisis care (Intervention)

Dr Will Mandy

Associate Professor

Improving recognition and clinical care of autistic people (Intervention)

Dr Natalie Marchant

Senior Research Fellow 

Influence of lifestyle factors in neurodegeneration, cognitive impairment and dementia (Intervention)

Prof Nick Midgley

Professor of Psychological Therapies with Children and Young People,

Child and adolescent psychotherapy (Intervention)

Dr Vasiliki Orgeta

Associate Professor in

Psychological and psychosocial interventions for people with dementia (Intervention)

Prof Stephen Pilling

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Clinical Effectiveness

Effectiveness of psychological interventions, including prognosis and prediction of response (Intervention)

Prof Greta Rait

Professor of Primary Care and Health Services Research

Common mental disorders in primary care and complex interventions: epidemiology and trials (Intervention)

Prof Liz Sampson

Clinical Reader in Psychiatry

Palliative care, pain and symptom management for people with dementia (Intervention)

Prof Katrina Scior

Professor of Clinical Psychology and Stigma Studies

 

Stigma associated with disability and mental health problems (Intervention)

Prof Roz Shafran

Professor of Translational Psychology

Development and evaluation of psychological interventions (Intervention)

Prof Aimee Spector

Professor of Old Age Clinical Psychology

Development and evaluation of psychosocial interventions and outcome measures for people with dementia (Intervention)