Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.


This video shows an interview conducted by Prof Andrea Cipriani.

Philip Cowen

Professor of Psychopharmacology

My research focuses on the psychopharmacology of depression. I am interested in the biochemical changes that are associated with depression and how drugs work to alleviate the symptoms that depressed patients experience.  

Clinical depression is an important public health problem and one of the leading contributors to the global burden of disease. Current treatments, although  very helpful, are not effective for an important minority of patients, particularly those referred to mental health services. The rate of discovery of new drug treatments for depression is low partly because our knowledge of the underlying neurobiology is limited.

My group uses a variety of brain imaging methods as well neuropsychological technigues to clarify the brain changes in depression. We also study the effects of psychotropic drugs in these models. We study people who are acutely unwell as well as those at risk of depression because, for example, they have a previous history of the illness or a family history of mood disorder. In the latter respect much of our current work focuses on identifying neurobiological risk factors for young people at risk of depression in the hope of finding simple interventions to help prevent the onset of depression.  

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications