UCL News


Spotlight on... Glyn Lewis

20 November 2019

This week we talk to Glyn Lewis from the UCL Division of Psychiatry, who tells us about his work on antidepressant resarch and the SENSE mental health survey of UCL students.

Professor Glyn Lewis from the UCL Division of Psychiatry

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am Professor of Epidemiological Psychiatry and Director of the Division of Psychiatry. My research is concerned with both the causes of depression and the effectiveness of treatments for depression.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I arrived in 2013 and came from the University of Bristol where I held a similar position.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

The PANDA randomised controlled trial is the largest study of an SSRI antidepressant carried out independently of the pharmaceutical industry. It took over 8 years between first proposing the study to publishing the results this year. We found that the antidepressant sertraline was effective in a much broader group of people than previously thought. However, the main benefit was on anxiety symptoms rather than depressive symptoms.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list

The SENSE study is a mental health survey of all UCL students, undergraduate and postgraduate. We want to describe the extent of mental health problems, understand what aspects of student life might affect mental health and what kind of help should be provided. It is a collaboration between the Division of Psychiatry, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, the Institute of Education and the UCL Students’ Union.

Please encourage your students to take part. We want the results to improve the situation for students and the more people who take part the more influential the results.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

Album: Headhunters by Herbie Hancock
Film: The Third Man with Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles

Novel: Emma by Jane Austen

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

Why do bees hum? ...Because they don’t know the words!

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Aneurin Bevan, Michelle Obama, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, George Orwell.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be patient!

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I play Jazz saxophone.

What is your favourite place? 

The Black Mountains, part of the Brecon Beacons National Park in South Wales.