Lauren Atkinson

BSc(Hons), MSc, DPhil


Postdoctoral Researcher

I am working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Brain & Cognition Lab, with Prof Kia Nobre and Prof Paul Harrison. I am funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre (OHBRC).

My main project aims to explore the the candidacy of L-type calcium channel (LTCC) antagonists as a potential treatment for mood instability (OxCaMS). In an experimental medicine framework, we are exploring the effect of Nicardipine SR (an LTCC antagonist) versus placebo on a range of outcome measures including mood, cognition and neural activity measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).

I am also actively involved in collaborative efforts to understand the mechanisms underlying the impact of COVID-19 on long-term mental health and neurocognitive outcomes. My work on these projects combines MEG and fMRI investigations into brain health and relates these findings to inter-individual differences in COVID-19 severity and symptomatology.

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I completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Birmingham and went on to complete an MSc in Psychiatric Research at Kings College London. Prior to becoming a DPhil student, I worked as a Research Assistant developing and implementing automated mood-monitoring for patients with Bipolar Disorder (OXTEXT and True Colours) and researching differences in both self-reported and physiological measures of mood instability between Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and healthy individuals (Automated Monitoring of Symptom Severity - AMoSS). I was awarded the Junior Scientist Award at the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder (BIGSPD) conference in 2016 for work investigating differences in the characteristics of mood instability between bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder patients. I undertook a DPhil in the Brain and Cognition Lab under the supervision of Prof Kia Nobre and Prof Paul Harrison, graduating in 2020. My DPhil focused on understanding the behavioural, cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying mood instability, using a range of techniques including use a range of techniques including automated mood monitoring, longitudinal cognitive testing, and magnetoencephalography (MEG).

I have a particular interest in evidence synthesis and am part of a working group at the Department of Psychiatry that collates published and unpublished evidence of medicines in psychiatry for systematic review and network meta-analyses.