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IoMH Small Grants event. IoMH Symposium - Dementia. Applying for UCL-Wellcome 4 year PhD programme in Mental Health Science blog.
ISSUE 5 - Spring Term 2021


UCL Institute of Mental Health newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2021. Looking back over those published during 2020, it is clear that they form a kind of pandemic diary. As we edge closer to the terrible peak of the third wave we can look back with something like nostalgia on the first wave. I have previously described the Institute of Mental Health as an umbrella for the community of mental health researchers and professionals here at UCL. It is not an umbrella that can provide protection from coronavirus but it does mark out a space where work can continue in some form, scientific evidence and knowledge can be accrued and imparted, and where experiences can be shared. That will be our version of the vaccine. It won’t end the pandemic but it will be part of an ‘immune response’ against depression and despair and a more optimistic future.

A new round of small projects which our grants support is getting under way despite restrictions on face-to-face interactions. Another huge batch of applications have come in for the IoMH Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Programme which our new research coordinator, Ana Martins-Antunes will be helping to process. A new set of Clinical-Academic Symposia has been formulated with the next event on Dementia happening online on 3rd March.  We will be launching a system for ‘affiliation’ next month which, with the help of our information services colleagues, will allow like-minded researchers to find each other via our website and hopefully start new and fruitful collaborations.

In the last newsletter I reported on the stunning success of our first international conference. Now is the time to plan the second annual meeting for the autumn. I would be interested in hearing from you on whether we should go with another fully virtual conference, some kind of hybrid, or whether we should wait until we are sure we can meet in person? What topics apart from the usual ones might we cover? And how can we make the format even more engaging?

Prof Tony David
We would appreciate your feedback and ideas to help inform our planning for the next IoMH International Conference, including format and research themes you would like to see at our future events. 
IoMH Conference Survey


Catatonia is a rare but severe neuropsychiatric disorder. Dr Jonathan Rogers and Prof Tony David have produced a website hosted by the IoMH providing information about catatonia for patients and service users with support from the North London Service User Research Forum (SURF)
Catatonia Introduction by Dr Jonathan Rogers

Brain Explorer app

A new citizen science app explores the link between brain development and mental health and investigates why most mental health disorders start in adolescence. Led by UCL’s leading neuroscientists, the app tests brain functions using games for everyone to play. Find out more about the project at

You can download the app for apple or android.

Earwax sampling could measure stress hormone

3 November 2020
A novel method to sample earwax could be a cheap and effective way to measure the hormone cortisol, according to a study led by researchers at UCL and King’s College London.

Pessimistic tendencies predict bipolar disorder relapse

10 November 2020
Relapse in people with bipolar disorder can be predicted accurately by their tendency towards having pessimistic beliefs, according to a new study involving UCL researchers.

Loneliness a leading cause of depression in older adults

10 November 2020
Loneliness is responsible for 18% of depression among people over 50 in England, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.

Low fitness linked to higher depression and anxiety risk

11 November 2020
People with low aerobic and muscular fitness are nearly twice as likely to experience depression, finds a new study led by UCL researchers.

Duchess of Cambridge spearheads early years study involving UCL

30 November 2020
The Duchess of Cambridge has unveiled the findings of the biggest ever UK study on the early years, involving researchers at UCL and the Anna Freud Centre.

PTSD contributes to suicide risk, particularly for women

30 November 2020
Women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are nearly seven times more likely than other women to die by suicide, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.
Computational Psychiatry seminar series
Division of Psychiatry Seminar - Dr Tarek Younis
Thursday 21 January 2021, 2pm
At the next seminar, Teresa Katthagen and 
Florian Schlagenhauf (Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Berlin) will talk about: Alterations of learning and cognition in patients with schizophrenia. . 
Wednesday 20 January, 3pm–4pm
Seminar title: Beyond Bad Apples in Healthcare: Thinking Racism Through Policy. Registration via Eventbrite. 
IoMH Small grants 2019
UCL Catalyst Seminar Series in Children and Young People’s Mental Health
Wednesday 27 January 2021, 3pm
Join recipients of the IoMH small grants 2019 award, Alexandra Pitman and Gemma Lewis (UCL Psychiatry) as they discuss their projects and findings. Via Zoom. 
Wednesday 3 February 2021, 1pm-2.30pm
The first event focuses on the impact of early adversity on mental health vulnerability and features investigators from three different disciplines. 
How is Human Social Cognition Special?
IoMH Symposium - Dementia
Friday 19 February 2021, 3.15pm
Speaker: Dr Lasana Harris, Experimental Psychology, UCL
As part of the weekly Brain Meetings series
Wednesday 3 March 2021, 2pm-3.30pm
Join us for the Spring term Institute of Mental Health Clinical-Academic Symposium on Dementia, via Zoom. 

Applying for the UCL-Wellcome 4-year PhD Programme in Mental Health Science

PhD student, Humma Andleeb, wrote about her experience applying for the programme, the interview and lead up to enrolment stage of the programme as well as her experience of the programme and PhD.

Part of a series of blogs written by current PhD students in Mental Health Science. 

The importance of studying mental health disorders in adolescents

At the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, the Developmental Computational Psychiatry Team, led by Dr Tobias Hauser investigate why most psychiatric disorders arise before adulthood and how this is related to abnormal neurocognitive development.

Research Assistant, Johanna Habicht discusses the importance of studying mental health disorders earlier in life, and shares some of the team’s current work.

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