I am the director of the Psychopharmacology and Emotional Research Lab (PERL) based at the University Department of Psychiatry in Oxford. We are a multi-disciplinary team including cognitive neuroscientists, psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists and psychologists.
We focus on the psychological mechanisms of antidepressant drug action with conventional and novel candidate treatments, challenging the typical division between these different approaches. To do this, we apply an experimental medicine approach, focused on neurocognitive measures of emotional processing in both healthy volunteers and patient samples.
This research helps to integrate psychological and pharmacological views of depression and treatment and has challenged the way in which we typically consider drug treatment for depression to work (see Harmer et al 2017). In addition this research has led to the development of human experimental models to explore the effects of novel drugs for the treatment of depression and anxiety. This work has also been applied in the clinic to provide an earlier marker of SSRI non-response in primary care (Browning et al., 2021).
Executive Committee Officer, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP)
Council, British Neuroscience Association (BNA)
NIHR panel Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation panel member
Wellcome Trust Expert Review Panellist (2016-2019)
Associate Editor for Psychological Medicine
Editorial board membership Biological Psychiatry and Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
DPhil, MA, DipLATHE
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
- Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College
Read our Mental Elf blog on SSRIs and Psychotherapy for adolescent depression
Follow us on twitter @OxfordPERL
Experimental Medicine Hub
We will be hosting an AIMday in Experimental Medicine in Psychiatry on Wednesday 7th July 2021. This event will bring together academic excellence from across the University of Oxford together with industry to help answer the most pressing challenges in this area, as identified by industry.
This day marks the launch of our NIHR BRC experimental medicine hub linking academia and industry to facilitate the use of experimental medicine approaches for treatment development
AIM day Link
Emotional cognition in depression: Is it relevant for Clinical practice?
Harmer CJ. and Browning M., (2021), Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, 56, 1 - 3
PAX-D: study protocol for a randomised placebo-controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and mechanism of pramipexole as add-on treatment for people with treatment resistant depression.
Au-Yeung SK. et al, (2021), Evid Based Ment Health
No antidepressant-like acute effects of bright light on emotional information processing in healthy volunteers.
Kaltenboeck A. et al, (2021), Psychopharmacology (Berl)
Over-the-counter analgesics use is associated with pain and psychological distress among adolescents: a mixed effects approach in cross-sectional survey data from Norway.
Jonassen R. et al, (2021), BMC Public Health, 21
Accuracy in recognising happy facial expressions is associated with antidepressant response to a NOP receptor antagonist but not placebo treatment.
Dawson GR. et al, (2021), J Psychopharmacol
Déjà-vu? Neural and behavioural effects of the 5-HT4 receptor agonist, prucalopride, in a hippocampal-dependent memory task.
de Cates AN. et al, (2021), Transl Psychiatry, 11
Resting state functional connectivity patterns as biomarkers of treatment response to escitalopram in patients with major depressive disorder.
Martens MAG. et al, (2021), Psychopharmacology (Berl)
The knowns and unknowns of SSRI treatment in young people with depression and anxiety: efficacy, predictors, and mechanisms of action.
Murphy SE. et al, (2021), Lancet Psychiatry, 8, 824 - 835
Online behavioural activation during the COVID-19 pandemic decreases depression and negative affective bias.
Ruzickova T. et al, (2021), Psychol Med, 1 - 18