UCL Psychology and Language Sciences

Prof Jonathan Roiser

Prof Jonathan Roiser

Professor of Neuroscience and Mental Health

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences

Joined UCL
19th Sep 2005

Research summary

Our aim is to understand the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying symptoms of mental illness, especially those relating to motivation. We utilise experimental techniques drawn from cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, and computational modelling, both in patient populations and healthy volunteers.

Teaching summary

Lectures on the following courses:

- BSc Psychology 1st year, Psychology of Individual Differences: (1) Introduction to Behavioural Genetics; (2) Genes Psychopathology and Cognition

- BSc Psychology 3rd year, Genes and Behaviour: Neuroimaging Genetics

- BSc Nutrition: Cognition and Neural Circuits in Depression

Undergraduate seminar leader for BSc in Psychology, 3rd year

Director of UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/labs-at-nimh/scientific-director/office-of-fellowship-and-training/nimh-ucl-graduate-neuroscience-program/index.shtml)

Director of UCL Wellcome 4-year PhD in Mental Health Science

Chair of Board of Examiners, MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience


University of Cambridge
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2004
University of Cambridge
First Degree, Bachelor of Arts (Honours) | 2001


Jonathan Roiser studied Natural Sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, as an undergraduate, and remained there for his doctorate in the Department of Psychiatry. His PhD focused on the effects of monoamine depletions on mood and cognitive performance, with a particular emphasis on demonstrating that genetic variations can explain some of the variability commonly observed between individuals in their vulnerability to perturbations of the serotonin system. He then spent a year conducting a pharmacological fMRI study at the National Institute of Mental Health, USA, in patients recovered from depression and controls.

Following a post-doctoral appointment at the UCL Institute of Neurology, London, where he investigated the neural mechanisms underpinning psychotic phenomena and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, he was appointed to a faculty post at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers and his laboratory is currently funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust. In 2008 he founded the UCL-NIMH Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience, which he co-directs. In 2020 he founded the UCL Wellcome 4-year PhD in Mental Health Science. His research interests remain focused on understanding the neurobiological basis of psychiatric symptoms, combining behavioural, psychopharmacological and genetic approaches with neuroimaging techniques. In the future he hopes to continue his work on understanding the sources of individual differences in responses to  pharmacological treatment in psychiatric conditions, particularly depression.