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Lauren Atkinson

BSc(Hons), MSc

DPhil Student

I am a DPhil student at the Brain & Cognition Lab, supervised by Kia Nobre and Paul Harrison and a member of New College, Oxford. I am funded by the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute (SCNi) and also by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award - Collaborative Oxford Network for Bipolar Research to Improve Outcomes (CONBRIO; 

I am interested in the cognitive neuroscience of Bipolar Disorder and other psychiatric disorders that demonstrate mood instability. My research focuses on understanding whether mood instability develops in response to disruption in regulatory neural mechanisms that sustain and balance emotional and cognitive functions, particularly attention and working memory. In order to understand these concepts, I use a range of techniques including automated mood monitoring, longitudinal behavioural testing, and magnetoencephalography (MEG).

My current project aims to explore the potential of a calcium channel antagonist drug as a mood stabiliser in Bipolar Disorder, with a range of cognitive and neural outcomes measured with behavioural tasks and MEG.

These findings may provide targets for experimental medicine interventions and help to transform the understanding and treatment of Bipolar Disorder.

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 was a Research Assistant working to develop and implement 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 have a particular interest in evidence synthesis and am working as part of a group in the Department of Psychiatry that collates published and unpublished evidence of medicines in psychiatry for network meta-analyses.