UCL School of Pharmacy


Professor Robert Horne

Professor of Behavioural Medicine

Tel: 020 7874 1293


  • Director of the Centre for Behavioural Medicine
  • UCL Academic Lead for Centre for Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI)
  • CLAHRC Theme Lead Optimising Behaviour and Engagement with Care
  • Cluster Lead - Behavioural Medicine and Treatment Optimisation
  • UCL School of Pharmacy Research Committee
  • Executive Committee Member, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change
  • Steering Group Member for Population Health Domain
  • Personal Chair in Psychology in Behavioural Medicine, UCL School of Pharmacy, 2006

Research interests

  • Developing, theory-based, pragmatic interventions to optimise treatment adherence and engagement with care in long-term conditions
  • The role of psychosocial factors as determinants of response to medication and other treatments
  • Placebo and nocebo effects
  • Understanding and optimising medication related behaviours including prescribing and adherence
  • Behavioural factors influencing the process and adoption of medical innovations
  • Measurement in behavioural medicine including the assessment of patients’ perceptions, expectations and experiences of illness and treatment

Teaching interests

  • Teaching: MPharm, UCL SoP - ‘Medicines Adherence’
  • Teaching: MSc Clinical Pharmacy, International Practice and Policy - ‘Adherence’
  • Teaching: MSc Health Psychology, UCL – ‘Adherence to treatment: Conceptual and Methodological Issues’
  • Teaching: MSc Clinical Application of Pharmacogenetic Tests, UCL ‘Why patients don’t take their medicines’
  • Teaching: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, UCL – ‘Adherence to Treatment’
  • Supervision of 3 PhD students, UCL SoP
  • Academic supervisor: Mpharm years 1-4

Current collaborations and partnerships

  • NIHR Centre for Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) - Professor Horne is a co-applicant on the successful North Thames CLAHRC bid 2013 valued at approximately £30 million (including matched funding). He is a member of the CLAHRC Management Board and is theme lead for Optimising Behaviour and Engagement with Care (OBEC), one of the five research themes within the CLAHRC, With Professor Stephanie Taylor (QMUL) as Deputy Theme Lead(website in preparation, link to be added soon)
  • Centre for Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI) a joint venture with the University of Oxford to provide new knowledge to advance sustainable medical innovation that meets the needs of individuals and society. CASMI is led by Professor Sir John Tooke and Professor Sir John Bell
  • Asthma UK Applied Research Centre http://www.asthma.org.uk/applied-research-centre - a collaboration between Asthma UK and 13 UK universities. Professor Horne is a co-applicant on the Centre and is leading on one of the three research themes with Professor Andy Bush Imperial college London
  • UCL Lancet commission on Culture and Health (2013-2014) ,in collaboration with Professor David Napier UCL Department of Anthropology http://www.ucl.ac.uk/anthropology/people/academic_staff/d_napier
  • Optimized TacrolimuS and MMF for HLA Antibodies after Renal Transplantation (OuTSMART) – A six year NIHR funded RCT (from 2013) to determine if a combined screening /treatment programme can prevent premature failure of renal transplants due to chronic rejection in patients with HLA .Professor Horne is a co-investigator with Professor Anthony Dorling, King’s College London as the PI
  • Supporting UPtake and Adherence to antiretroviral therapy (SUPA) - NIHR five year Programme for Applied Research. Professor Horne is the Principal Investigator. A collaboration between six centres of excellence in clinical provision of HIV care and four universities (Queen Mary University London, Imperial College London, King’s College London and the University of Sussex)
  • Promoting safer provision of care for elderly residents (PROSPER) - A research project with UCL-Partners in collaboration with Professor Martin Marshall (Improvement Science London) and Dr Li Wei (UCL SoP). The project will evaluate initiatives to improve safety and reduce harm for care home residents across North East and West Essex
  • Evaluating the implementation of vaccinating healthy school-aged children against seasonal influenza – Co-investigator on a research project commissioned by the UK Department of Health. Professor Martin Utley (UCL Clinical Operation Research Unit) is leading the project


  • BSc Hons (CNAA) Pharmacy, 1983
  • MSc (Clinical Pharmacy) School of Pharmacy, University of London (Distinction,) 1987
  • PhD Health Psychology, GKT Medical School, King’s College London, 1997

Prof Robert Horne


UCL School of Pharmacy
BMA House
Tavistock Square


  • Professor of Behavioural Medicine
    Practice & Policy
    UCL School of Pharmacy

Joined UCL


Professor Horne’s research focuses on the role of psychological and behavioural factors in explaining variation in response to treatment.  He has developed a range of tools and models for assessing patient perspectives of illness and treatment (e.g. the Beliefs about Medicines Questionnaire [BMQ] and the Medication Adherence Report Scale [MARS] and frameworks (a Necessity-Concerns Framework) for understanding treatment-related behaviours with a particular focus on adherence to medication.  This work translates into a portfolio of theory-based pragmatic interventions to help patients get the best from treatments by supporting optimal adherence and self-management.  Studies are ongoing in a range of long term conditions including asthma, COPD, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, HIV, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatologic disease, bipolar disorder and cancer.  Professor Horne’s work extends into broader aspects of health and illness such as the placebo/nocebo effect and the role of language, emotion and emotional disclosure in illness related behaviours and outcomes.  

Professor Rob Horne is Professor of Behavioural Medicine at the University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy where he is Director of the Centre for Behavioural Medicine. In 2006, he joined the UCL School of Pharmacy where he established the Centre for Behavioural Medicine within the Research Department of Practice and Policy and was Head of Department between 2008 and 2012.  

Following an initial decade in clinical pharmacy and medicines management within the NHS he completed a PhD in health psychology at Guys Medical School followed by a 17-year programme of research in behavioural medicine, focusing on the role of psychological and behavioural factors in explaining variation in response to treatment. His current interests centre on the development of interventions to support optimal engagement with essential treatments and effective medical innovations and on optimising the non-specific effects (placebo and nocebo components) of medicines. 

In the last decade, his research has generated over 140 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters and grants of over £7 million, £4.9 million of which was awarded as Principal Investigator.  Professor Horne was appointed as a Founding Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain in 2010 and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in 2013.  In 2011 he was designated as a National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator. In 2012, Professor Horne became UCL's academic lead for the Centre for the Advancement of Sustainable Medical Innovation (CASMI), a joint undertaking with the University of Oxford.