Dr Andrew Sommerlad

Dr Andrew Sommerlad

Principal Research Fellow

Mental Health of Older People

Division of Psychiatry

Joined UCL
7th Aug 2013

Research summary

Dr Sommerlad's research investigates the nature, causes and consequences of social functioning impairment in people with dementia. He uses multiple methodologies including observational research using clinical and population-based cohorts and routinely collected electronic health records; qualitative methods; psychometric research; systematic review and meta-analysis to examine clinically relevant outcomes in dementia and cognition for older people.

His current main studies include:

  • The SOCIAL (Social Cognition and Functioning in Alzheimer's Disease) study as part of a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship aiming to clarify the nature and consequences of impairment in social cognition in people with Alzheimer's disease.
  • The SONNET (Social Connection in Long-term Care Home Residents) study which aims to improve the measurement of social connection in care homes using systematic review, qualitative research, measurement tool development and psychometric testing. More information about the SONNET study can be found on the study website.
  • The SF-DEM (Social Functioning in Dementia) which is first valid and reliable instrument aiming to measure social functioning in people with dementia. The scale can be accessed from the study website, and there are ongoing collaborations between the SF-DEM team and researchers translating and validating the scale internationally.

Dr Sommerlad's research is currently funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Alzheimer's Association and Brain Canada. His research has won prizes from the Royal Society of Medicine, the Alzheimer's Association, 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 an Associate Professor at UCL Division of Psychiatry and Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist in Islington Memory Service. He studied Medicine at University College 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 first by the UCL/Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund and the University College London Hospitals NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, and then by a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship.

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.