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 neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychiatric symptoms. We utilise experimental techniques drawn from cognitive psychology, functional neuroimaging, psychopharmacology and genetics, both in patient populations and healthy volunteers. Currently members of the cognitive neuropsychiatry laboratory are focusing on the neurobiology of depression, especially with respect to reward and punishment processing. We also collaborate with the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit to analyse our behavioural and brain imaging data.

Teaching summary

Lectures on the following courses: MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience ((1) Depression; (2) Schizophrenia); MSc in Research Methods in Psychology ((1) Neuroimaging Genetics); BSc in Psychology 1st year (Psychology of Individual Differences: (1) Introduction to Behavioural Genetics; (2) Genes Psychopathology and Cognition); BSc in Psychology 3rd year ((1) Genes and Behaviour: Endophenotype Research: Imaging Genetics; (2) Topics in Clinical Psychology: Neuroimaging in Psychiatric Disorders)

Undergraduate seminar leader for BSc in Psychology, 1st and 2nd year.

Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Deputy Postgraduate Tutor

Faculty of Life Sciences Postgraduate Tutor (Taught)

Director of UCL-NIMH/NINDS Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience

Director of UCL 4-year PhD in Mental Health


University of Cambridge
PhD, Cognitive Science | 2004
University of Cambridge
BA Hons, Natural Sciences | 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 40 peer-reviewed papers and his laboratory is currently funded by the Medical Research Council and the British Academy. In 2008 he founded the UCL-NIMH/NINDS Joint Doctoral Training Program in Neuroscience, which he co-directs. 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 and schizophrenia.