Annual Report 2023
Download the Department of Psychiatry Annual Report 2023 (read below for a text version)
Message from Head of Department
2023 has been a productive and busy year. I have visited many research groups and each is doing exciting and important work. The Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is at full speed, having celebrated its one year anniversary and the UK Mental Health Mission has launched.
There have been several spectacular showcase events, including the Oxford Neuroscience Symposium and our away day at St Catherine’s College. I have been blown away by the breadth and quality of our neuroscience research. I really enjoyed hearing from early career researchers and students as well as more senior staff and making new connections.
We continue to work hard to make the Department a place people want to come to work in and stay. We have celebrated the diversity of our team through our themed months and have been busy delivering on the key actions and recommendations from the anti-bullying and harassment reports that we commissioned last year.
We are continuing to analyse the results of this year’s staff survey but early indications suggest improvement on 2021 for the department, and that we are doing much better than the divisional and university averages in key areas. As we get more data, we will continue to make changes to make the department as inclusive and welcoming as possible and we are committed to addressing any areas identified for improvement.
Celebrating our work and raising our profile has been a further area of focus. The university’s Brain and Mental Health campaign saw a spotlight on the work of the department. We distributed our first ever alumni mailing, money raised from which enabled us to support early career researchers to develop their careers by attending and showcasing their work at major academic conferences.
We have had substantial donations to support the Brainwaves project, improving mental health in schools, and a single large philanthropic donation that enabled us to appoint two new Brain Science Fellowships to Sana Suri and Andrea Reinecke. They were selected from an incredibly competitive field of applicants.
This year we said goodbye to the amazing Moira Westwood, as she moved to our sister Department Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences after eight years as Head of Administration in Psychiatry. We owe her a huge debt of gratitude and to our professional support staff who are fundamental to the success of the Department.
Professor Belinda Lennox
- People and Culture Summary from Professor Catherine Harmer, Associate Head of Department for People and Culture
- Research Summary from Professor Paul Harrison, Associate Head of Department for Research
Facts and Figures
© Department of Psychiatry
Key appointments and staff changes
There have been 87 new starters in the department this year, 15 people have moved to a new role within the department. 49 people have left with an additional 24 transferring to another Oxford department.
Naomi Wray (pictured) was appointed to the Davys Chair, Seena Fazel has become Director of the Centre for Suicide Research (CSR), with Keith Hawton now Emeritus Director. Mark Woolrich is now the Director of the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity (OHBA). Husseini Manji has joined as Professor of Psychiatry and co-chairs the Mental Health Mission led by the Oxford Health BRC. Four new Associate Professors were appointed: Sarah Bauermeister, Ludovica Griffanti, Elizabeth Rapa and Louise Dalton.
We have also seen the departures of Daniel Freeman and his O-CAP team to Experimental Psychology, Alan Stein who is moving to the Blavatnik School of Government and Kia Nobre, who is now an honorary member of the department.
Read a summary of our news highlights during 2023, including:
- A new dementia risk score, developed by a team led by Sana Suri and Raihaan Patel, identified people at risk of developing the disease, outperforming three other widely used risk scores.
- Max Taquet and Paul Harrison led the discovery of two biomarkers in Covid patients who experienced cognitive dysfunction, indicating blood clots as a possible cause.
- Two digital tools developed by the TOPIC research group, led by Cathy Creswell, were recommended for use in the NHS to help children and young people with anxiety or low mood.
- A study led by Dr Vanessa Raymont found three or more concussions can have an impact on brain function.
- Clare Mackay spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour talking about her lived experience of hair pulling disorder and had a scientific paper published on the subject.
- A major study found beta blockers were associated with a reduction in violence. Led by Seena Fazel, alongside the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, researchers looked at data from 1.4m people.
- Research led by Willem Kuyken’s team found that young people’s mental health deteriorated at greater rate during the pandemic.
- A paper co-authored by Keith Hawton and Anne Stewart found viewing self harm images usually causes harm.
- The Oxwell Student Survey, led by Mina Fazel’s team, launched looking into the mental health and wellbeing of thousands of school and college students across the country.
- The STEP (Stratification & Treatment in Early Psychosis) programme, led by Philip McGuire, has begun. It is investigating the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) in treating people with psychosis or psychotic symptoms.
- The CHiMES Collaborative’s Co-Pics and Origin projects publicly launched. Attune, exploring young people’s mental health and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), held its first conference. Photographs taken by participants on the Co-Pact project were exhibited in Manchester and London.
- Dementias Platform UK held the Translation 2023 conference, the launch of the MND Accelerator, visits by Lord Cameron, President of Alzheimer’s Research UK, and a delegation from the Korean Brain institute.
- Members of the NEUROSEC team will be part of a new Wellcome research platform in ethics and humanities aimed at empowering researchers to overcome barriers holding back progress in their fields of research.
- The Global Alliance for Living Evidence on aNxiety, depressiOn and pSychosis, or GALENOS, launched. Led by Andrea Cipriani and supported by Wellcome, it aims to make it easier for patients, funders and researchers to access and review scientific literature.
Awards and prizes
Michael Sharpe - Hackett Prize, Academy of Consultant-Liaison Psychiatry & American Psychiatric Association’s Adolf Meyer Award.
Paul Harrison - Lifetime Achievement Award, British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP).
Kam Bhui - Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Psychiatry.
Leonardo Bonetti - Marco Capogna Young Neuroscientist Prize
Angharad De Cates - Communicator of the Year, British Association for Psychopharmacology.
Edward Harcourt - MBE for services to Interdisciplinary Research.
Husseini Manji - Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health, US National Academy of Medicine.
Rebecca Murphy - Technological Advances Through Research Award, Academy for Eating Disorders Technology & Innovations SIG (Special Interest Group)
Kate Saunders (as part of a team led by Christopher Kowalski) - Denis O’Leary Medical Educator Award.
Fellowships and Scholarships
Samantha Groves - Oxford-Hoffmann scholarship (Jesus College)
Kevin Matlock - Junior Research Fellowship in Social Sciences (Worcester College).
Andrea Luppi - Wellcome Early Career Award Fellowship.
Edoardo Ostinelli - Senior Hulme Scholarship (Brasenose College).
Emma Soneson - Junior Research Fellowship (Somerville College).
Roisin Mooney - OPEN (Oxford Policy Engagement Network) Fellowship.