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Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit

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At the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit (CPU) researchers are addressing the following questions:

  • How do drugs act on the brain to affect human cognition, behaviour and emotion?
  • Why are some individuals more vulnerable than others to the harmful effects of drugs?
  • What mechanisms underpin the transition from occasional drug use to addiction?
  • How well can drugs, given acutely or chronically, model psychotic symptoms and what implications does this have for treating psychoses?
  • Can we find an effective pharmacological treatment for cannabis addiction?
  • Can maladaptive reward memories be re-written to treat drug addiction?
  • Is it possible to use neuroimaging to measure when memories are updating? 
  • What are the receptor pathways involved in memory plasticity and can these be targeted in humans?

We use a wide range of methods:

  • RCTs (Randomised Controlled Trials) to investigate new treatments for addiction,
  • Behavioural and neuropsychological assessments
  • Psychophysiological recordings
  • Neuroimaging (fMRI, PET & EEG)

We work in:

  • 3 laboratories which are equipped for clinical trials, biological sampling, eye-movement and other types of psychophysiological measurements
  • Drug treatment services in the local area
  • Imaging facilities at UCL and with our collaborators at IMANOVA
  •  …We have been known to set up laboratories in nightclubs