Very few new mental health treatments have been licensed and made available in the past decade. Our mental health theme aims to accelerate the translation of novel interventions and markers that support diagnosis and personalisation of treatment to late phase trials within the NHS.

We will do this by:

  • routine deep phenotyping (comprehensive analysis of traits)
  • large-scale patient data collection
  • driving delivery of early-phase trials
  • supporting the next generation of leaders in experimental medicine for mental health.

Our mental health theme is linked closely with UCL’s newly established Institute of Mental Health and Camden and Islington NHS Trust, and brings together psychiatrists, psychologists, pharmacists, neurosurgeons, engineers, data scientists and the UK’s largest single university group of preclinical neuroscientists, in collaborations focused on early translation.

A dedicated mental health theme embedded within a large BRC and multi-faculty university brings benefits. With the high ranking of UCL neuroscience and the scale and quality of partner NHS services, our translational mental health research capacity are forefront.

Our strategy focuses on health informatics, development of new treatments and precision medicine for mental health.

Building on the UCL Health Alliance’s achievements in:

  • informatics, bio-resources and genomics 
  • operationalised symptom targets and biomarkers 
  • cognitive and computational neuroscience and  
  • the design and conduct of clinical trials of drug, psychological and social interventions.

The programme focuses on seven key translational research areas.  

Our strategic rationale is to accelerate the translation of novel interventions and markers to support diagnosis and personalisation of treatment to late phase trials by exploiting the World-leading power of UCL’s Mental Health neuroscience and strong functional connections with clinical researchers within our large North Central London Mental Health NHS partners supported by the BRC.  

We have an established pipeline of outstanding early career clinical researchers that is nationally unique in breadth and quality, and capacity building in the experimental medicine of Mental Health is an important Theme priority.    

Our activity supported by UCL’s Division of Psychiatry, Psychology and Language Sciences, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research to apply innovation from artificial intelligence, genomics, medical, psychological, and social sciences uses a holistic approach unique to UCL.   

Although we will continue to support all experimental medicine research in Mental Health across UCLH’s University and NHS partners through capacity building, funding of PPIE and strategic initiatives and individual researcher posts, we will concentrate activity within seven Sub-Themes where UCL research is both World-leading and is currently placed to deliver translational benefits within the NHS.  

  • Optimising Drug Treatment Outcomes in Mental Health through Applied Health Informatics
  • Translational genomics in Mental Health 
  • Interventions to improve Loneliness in Serious Mental Illness 
  • Mental Health in Neurodegeneration 
  • Neurosurgery for Serious Mental Illness 
  • Preventative Interventions for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
  • Translational Computational Psychiatry

Professor Rob Howard
Mental Health Theme Director
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Operations Manager, Translational Neuroscience, Dementia, Mental Health and Hearing Health