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Riccardo De Giorgi

MD, DPhil, MRCPsych

Clinical Lecturer

  • Clinical Lecturer ST4-6 in General Adult Psychiatry

Repurposing immuno-metabolic drugs in mental disorders

I am a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry, and ST4-6 at Health Education England-Thames Valley, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. I am the academic representative for the European Federation of Psychiatric Trainees programme in Oxford and the Oxford Clinical-Academic Journal Club. I am a tutor in psychiatry and regularly teach medical students and trainees about the topics of research methodology and critical appraisal, psychopharmacology, and mood disorders. I am a section editor for BJPsych and BJPsych Advances.

I enjoy the interplay between clinical practice and research, which drives me to be a determined clinician and inspires my academic interests. I am invested in neuropsychopharmacology and the evidence-based treatment of mental illness, especially mood disorders. I am fascinated by the problem of "treatment resistance", i.e., when patients do not appear to respond to several lines of therapy. There is increasing evidence that immunological and metabolic factors play a role in the pathophysiology of bipolar and depressive illnesses, especially in patients who are treatment-resistant. Repurposing commonly used medical treatments (e.g., anti-inflammatory or metabolic medications) may therefore benefit those patients who respond poorly to conventional treatments and who might be identifiable a priori through measurement of inflammatory and metabolic markers.

Currently, I am working on experimental medicine studies for the repurposing of drugs with immuno-metabolic activity (e.g., statins, GLP1-RAs) in mental disorders. This work is informed by collaborative projects in evidence synthesis and pharmacoepidemiology with several other research teams at the department. I look at early markers of response, such as neuropsychological changes in emotional processing, reward, and general cognition, as well as  immuno-metabolic peripheral markers, to validate the use of these drugs in further clinical trials.