Dr Andrew Sommerlad

Dr Andrew Sommerlad

Principal Research Fellow

Division of Psychiatry

Faculty of Brain Sciences

Joined UCL
7th Aug 2013

Research summary

Dr Sommerlad uses multiple methodologies including observational research using longitudinal cohorts and routinely collected electronic health records, qualitative research, systematic review and meta-analysis to examine clinically relevant outcomes in dementia and cognition for older people.

His main research theme aims to untangle the relationship between social functioning and dementia through multiple approaches:

  • estimating the potential beneficial effect of social participation on cognition and dementia risk using data from established prospective cohort studies (Whitehall II and Longitudinal Aging study Amsterdam).
  • improving measurement of social function in people with dementia by developing and testing the psychometric properties of the first instrument aiming to measure social functioning in people with dementia. The SF-DEM scale can be found here: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/psychiatry/sfdem and we continue to collaborate with researchers translating and validating the scale in China, Japan, and Germany.
  • understanding patient, carer, and disease-related factors affecting social function in people with dementia through quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Dr Sommerlad's research has been funded by Wellcome Trust, University College London Hospitals NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and the UCL/Wellcome Trust Strategic Support Fund. His research has won prizes including the Alzheimer's Association International Conference Psychosocial Research poster prize, the Royal Society of Medicine's Psychiatry Trainee prize, and the Mental Health Foundation research prize.

Teaching summary

Dr Sommerlad is Deputy MBBS Lead for year 1 and 2 psychiatry teaching at UCL Medical School, leading development of new curriculum teaching materials and assessments, and on engagement with the UCL medical student body in co-curricular activities. He creates and delivers lectures, small group work and examination content for UCL medical school, masters courses, and the Membership of Royal College of Psychiatrists examination course.

Dr Sommerlad supervises students on the UCL Division of Psychiatry MSc in Dementia and MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences, and supervises PhD students in UCL Division of Psychiatry.


University College London
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2019
University College London
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2015
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), ATQ01 - Successfully completed an institutional provision in teaching in the HE sector | 2014
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Doctorate, Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists | 2013
University College London
Doctorate, Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery | 2008
University College London
First Degree, BSc (Hons) Open | 2006


Dr Andrew Sommerlad is a Principal Research Fellow at UCL Division of Psychiatry and Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist. He completed his medical degree at University College London with an intercalated BSc in History of Medicine and then undertook general medical and surgical training in East London before commencing old age psychiatry training on the University College London Partners rotation.

After completing a Masters degree in Psychiatric Research at UCL in 2015, he obtained a Research Training Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. During this fellowship, he completed a PhD examining the influence of social contact on risk of dementia and cognitive decline using observational cohort data.

He obtained his PhD in 2019, and was then appointed as a postdoctoral fellow, funded by the UCL/Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and the University College London Hospitals NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.

Dr Sommerlad has clinical experience working in a range of inpatient and outpatient psychiatry settings including in diagnostic memory clinics, community mental health teams and liaison/consultation psychiatry. He is approved under section 12 of the Mental Health Act.