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Sara Costi


Wellcome Trust Doctoral Fellow

As a DPhil candidate supported by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship at the Psychopharmacology and Emotion Research Lab (PERL) I am working under the guidance of my Supervisors Professor Catherine Harmer, Professor Susannah Murphy, and Professor Philip Cowen. My academic journey is driven by a profound interest in the field of clinical neuroscience and psychopharmacology, especially in the context of treatment resistance.

At the heart of my research is the question: How does ketamine, an NMDAR antagonist, trigger a rapid antidepressant effect? Recent studies in animals hint at ketamine's potential to modulate negative memory biases. My work aims to test if these findings apply also to humans using an experimental medicine model and implementing behavioural and neuroimaging (fMRI) approaches to investigate the neuroclinical effect of ketamine.

My research interests stem from my background as a psychiatrist and I am currently based at the Interventional Psychiatry Service at Oxfordhealth NHS Foundation Trust led by Professor Rupert McShane. Beyond my clinical practice, I co-chair of the Ketamine International Journal Club and I am a member of the steering committee for the Ketamine International Conference. I continue to collaborate with the Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment as Clinical Instructor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, USA

My hope is that my work can inform how rapid acting antidepressant work, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the development of novel, rapid-acting treatments for mood and anxiety disorders.

Recent publications

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