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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Psychopharmacology Committee

About us



3 new vacancies:


About the committee

Professor Allan Young MB ChB, MPhil, PhD, FRCPsych, FRCPC

Professor Allan Young

Chair of Mood Disorders, Director of the Centre for Mental Affective Disorders, Department of Psychological Medicine, King’s College London, UK

Professor Allan Young holds the Chair of Mood Disorders at King’s College London where he is also Director of the Centre for Affective Disorders within the Department of Psychological Medicine in the Institute of Psychiatry. He has held academic appointments at the Universities of Oxford, Newcastle upon Tyne (latterly holding the Chair of General Psychiatry at Newcastle), UBC, Vancouver, Canada, where he held the Leading Edge Endowment Fund Endowed Chair in Research in the Department of Psychiatry and was also the Director of the Institute of Mental Health and Imperial College London where he held the Chair of Psychiatry and was Director of the Centre for Mental Health.

Professor Young’s research interests focus on the cause and treatments for severe psychiatric illnesses, particularly mood disorders. He has received research grant funding from the UK Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, the Stanley Medical Research Institute, and the Canadian Institutes for Heath Research (CIHR), the National Institutes of Health (USA) and numerous other funding agencies. He has published over 300 peer-reviewed publications and a number of books about psychopharmacology and affective disorders including ‘Bipolar disorders: basic mechanisms and therapeutic implications’ (2nd Ed.) with JC Soares, and ‘Practical management of bipolar disorder’ with IN Ferrier and E Michalak (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Professor Young is a member of a number of editorial boards and is a member of numerous professional and scientific societies. He is currently Treasurer of the International Society for Affective Disorders and Chair of the Psychopharmacology group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Declaration of Interests: 

Employed by King’s College London; Honorary Consultant SLaM (NHS UK).

Paid lectures and advisory boards for all major pharmaceutical companies with drugs used in affective and related disorders.

No share holdings in pharmaceutical companies.

Lead Investigator for Embolden Study (AZ), BCI Neuroplasticity study and Aripiprazole Mania Study.

Investigator initiated studies from AZ, Eli Lilly, Lundbeck, Wyeth.

Grant funding (past and present): NIMH (USA); CIHR (Canada); NARSAD (USA); Stanley Medical Research Institute (USA); MRC (UK); Wellcome Trust (UK); Royal College of Physicians (Edin); BMA (UK); UBC-VGH Foundation (Canada); WEDC (Canada); CCS Depression Research Fund (Canada); MSFHR (Canada); NIHR (UK).

Dr Maria Isaac Dr Maria Isaac(Vice-Chair)

Dr Maria Isaac is a Senior Scientific Officer and has been a member of the Scientific Advice team at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for the past seven years. During this time, her responsibilities have included conducting and overseeing reviews for a variety of indications including Depression, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Down syndrome, Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Pain. She has over 25 years’ international experience in academic, clinical and regulatory fields.

A UK citizen and native of Spain, Dr Isaac qualified in medicine at the University of the Basque Country and obtained a Master’s degree from Temple University, Philadelphia (USA). She is qualified as an Adult General Psychiatrist, Pharmaceutical Medicine physician and as a General Practitioner (UK & Spain).

She has wide experience in molecular biology research as Research Fellow at University of Pennsylvania and in the Institute of Psychiatry (University of London, UK), as well as in clinical research. Her career has focused on novel and innovative pharmacological treatment, biomarkers, economics and clinical management of mental illness.

Dr Isaac obtained her PhD in the psychopharmacology of depression at the University of London , and a Postgraduate Certificate in Economics (Birkbeck College, University of London, UK). She was a Consultant Psychiatrist & Co-Director of Psychopharmacology Evaluation Unit at the South London & Maudsley NHS Trust in London, and Hon Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, UK.

As a regulator, Dr Isaac continues to play a pivotal role in the development of a regulatory qualification procedure that successfully achieved EMA biomarker qualification. She also is part of CNSWP formulating CHMP Guidelines. Moreover, Dr. Isaac’s advisory role facilitates regulatory engagement of different groups such as C-Path and IMI.

Dr Isaac is fluent in Spanish and English and has a good working knowledge of French, Italian and Portuguese.

Thomas R. E. BarnesProfessor Tom Barnes,  MD FRCPsych DSc.

I am Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Imperial College, London, Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the West London Mental Health NHS Trust, and joint-head of the Prescribing Observatory for Mental Health (POMH-UK). In 1987, I set up one of the first tertiary-referral services for treatment-resistant schizophrenia. The main focus of my clinical research over the last 30 years has been schizophrenia, with a particular interest in the rational treatment of the condition. I have led investigations that have covered psychological and pharmacological treatment interventions for the condition and investigated antipsychotic drug side effects (particularly extrapyramidal movement disorders; the reliability, validity and clinical utility of the Barnes Akathisia Rating Scale have been independently demonstrated, and it is the scale most frequently used to assess this condition, world-wide), as well as phenomenology, neurocognition and comorbid substance use, including a Wellcome-funded, first-episode psychosis study. My work has generated over 250 publications. Recent research experience includes PI for the CUtLASS trial, and chair of the IDMECs for the BALANCE and CEQUEL trials. I am currently CI for the HTA-funded ACTIONS and AMICUS trials, PI for the BeneMin study, and chair of the Trial Steering Committees for the NESS and CIRCLE studies. I am a past member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, past Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Special Interest Group in Psychopharmacology, and past President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology. I was a member of the NICE schizophrenia guideline development group (and chair of the pharmacology subcommittee) in 2002 and for the guideline update in 2009.

David Christmas Dr David Christmas

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist in the Advanced Interventions Service, a Scottish National Specialist Service for the assessment and treatment of chronic, treatment-refractory depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I work in Dundee and have been in my current post since 2006. Prior to this, I was a clinical lecturer in the University of Dundee (2003-2006), and I did his basic specialist training in Forth Valley.

I was previously Financial Officer for the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland and I am one of the Academic Secretaries for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Faculty of General Adult Psychiatry, responsible for the academic programme of the GAP Faculty Conferences.

I also sit on the steering group overseeing the Scottish Suicide Information Database (ScotSID). Within NHS Tayside, I co-chaired a steering group for mental health information systems and continues to be involved in a range of quality improvement and mental health performance roles.

His research interests include the neuroimaging of mood disorders, and the neurosurgical treatment of chronic, treatment-refractory mood disorders and OCD. He often speaks about the use of antidepressants, the management of treatment-refractory mood disorders, and the importance of evidence-based approaches to the treatment of mental disorder. I am currently involved in looking at the evidence base for psychological treatments for severe and/or chronic depression and OCD.

Declaration of Interests:

Employment: I am employed by NHS Scotland to deliver specialist assessment and treatment (including neurosurgical treatment) for depression and OCD.

Research: I have been part of two research projects for which financial support was paid to my institution (University of Dundee) by medical device companies (Cyberonics, Inc., 2008; and St. Jude Medical, 2013).

Education and training: I have received support to attend educational meetings in the last 5 years (Medtronic, 2009), but no support has been received from companies in the last five years. I have received expenses associated with speaking from PULSE and Briefing Media Ltd. (2013). An honorarium for speaking from Lundbeck (2012) was donated to charity. I have received payment from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2012) and the British Association of Psychopharmacology (2014) to develop online learning modules.

Other payments: I have not received any payments or consulting fees from pharmaceutical companies in the last five years and I do not sit on any advisory boards.

Shares and patents: I have no shareholdings, patents, or financial interests relating to pharmaceutical or medical device companies.


Professor Naomi Fineberg

Professor Naomi Fineberg

In the past several years, Dr. Fineberg has received research support from Lundbeck, Glaxo-SmithKline, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), Servier, Cephalon, Astra Zeneca, Medical Research Council (UK), NationalInstitute for Health Research, Wellcome Foundation. Dr Fineberg has received honoraria for lectures at scientific meetings from Otsuka, Lundbeck, Servier, Astra Zeneca, Jazz pharmaceuticals, Bristol Myers Squibb, UK College of Mental Health Pharmacists, British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP). Dr Fineberg has received financial support to attend scientific meetings from Janssen, Lundbeck, Servier, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Cephalon, International College of Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders, International Society for Behavioural Addiction, ECNP, BAP, World Health Organization, Royal College of Psychiatrists. Dr Fineberg has received financial royalties for publications from Oxford University Press and Taylor and Francis.


Neither she nor any of her immediate family hold any shares in pharmaceutical companies.


Professor Chris Hollins

Professor Chris Hollis MBBS BSc PhD DCH FRCPsych

Chris is Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham and honorary consultant in Developmental Neuropsychiatry with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.  He trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and completed his PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry.  His clinical and research interests are lifespan neurodevelopmental disorders including ADHD, Tourette’s, ASD, child and adolescent-onset psychoses and psychopharmacology. 


Chris has recently been appointed Director of the NIHR MindTech Healthcare Technology Co-operative (HTC) in mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders and also leads the NIHR CLAHRC NDL Children and Young People’s research theme.  He was a member of the RAE 2008 panel for psychiatry, clinical psychology and neuroscience.  He chaired the NICE Guideline Development Group for schizophrenia and psychoses in young people and was also a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group (GDG) and Quality Standards Advisory Committee for ADHD.  Chris has been a training program director (TPD) in child and adolescent psychiatry in Nottingham and member of the CAP Faculty Executive and CAPFECC.


He is a member of the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP) and organizes and chairs the annual BAP Certificate Module in child and adolescent psychopharmacology based in Nottingham. 


Declaration of Interests:

Personal pecuniary: None Personal non-pecuniary: member of BAP; published research articles and chapters on drug treatments in children and young people. Non-personal pecuniary: Co-applicant on a research grant from Shire to investigate driving behavior in adults with ADHD.


Dr R Hamish McAllister-WilliamsDr R Hamish McAllister-Williams
BSc, MB, ChB, Ph.D., M.D., FRCPsych

Reader in Clinical Psychopharmacology, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist Regional Affective Disorders Service, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr McAllister-Williams has been employed by Newcastle University since 1995, initially as a Clinical lecturer, then as an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellow at Senior Lecturer level and from 2004 as a Reader in Clinical Psychopharmacology. Clinically, he is the lead consultant in the tertiary level Regional Affective Disorders Service based in Newcastle. This is the oldest and one of the largest such service in the UK providing outpatient and inpatient services for patients with treatment refractory mood disorders. Referrals to the service are received from across the UK to the service. Dr McAllister-Williams research focuses on the pathophysiology and treatment of both bipolar and unipolar affective disorders. He is a past General Secretary of the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) and was appointed in 2012 as the BAP Director of Education. He is a major contributor to their CPD programme.

Declaration of Interests:

Dr McAllister-Williams has received speaker and consultancy fees, support for attending meetings and independent investigator led research awards from a number of pharmaceutical companies over several years including AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Cyberonics, Eli Lilly, Ferrer, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen-Cilag, Lundbeck, Merck Sharp & Dohme, My Tomorrows, Otsuka, Pfizer, Roche, Servier, SPIMACO, Sunovion and Wyeth. The vast majority of such monies have been paid to his employer, Newcastle University. Neither he nor any of his immediate family hold any shares in, or have on-going financial relationships with, any pharmaceutical company.


Dr Allan Scott BSc, MPhil, MD, MBA, FRCPsych, has been a consultant psychiatrist in general adult psychiatry at the Royal  Edinburgh Hospital in Edinburgh since 1991. For most of that time he worked as a sector psychiatrist, but laterally specialized in in-patient psychiatry.  He has been responsible for the ECT clinic at the Hospital throughout.


Since 1985, Dr Scott has had a research interest in the neurobiology of ECT and over the years studied the treatment with the so-called neuroendocrine window, electroencephalogram, and brain imaging. He has conducted trials of antidepressant drugs, and written and taught about the pharmacotherapy of depressive illness and anxiety disorders.



Dr Ahmed Shoka

Dr Ahmed Shoka

Consultant in General Adult Psychiatry, North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust. I am also an honorary lecturer at the School of Health & Human sciences , Essex University. I have always viewed the art of psychopharmacology as the sclapel in the hands of a crafty surgeon. I run a Metabolic Clinic at my Trust to sddress issues of Physical health for those who suffer from Severe Mental Illness (SMI. I have a specialised training in the diagnosis and treatment of Adult ADHD and consequently I run a clinic in this specialised field.

I have a keen interest in Compliance, Concordance and Adherence when it comes to prescribing. I have publications in OCD, Depot antipsychotics and Physiccal Health monitoring. The relationship between Depression, Anxiety and Pain attracts my attention both clinically and from the research point of view. I am continuously developing my knowlegde and skills in the "interface between medical ethics and the law.


Declaration of Interests:

I have no direct business or shares with any pharmaceutical company.
I receive no grants for research.
I get paid agreed honoraria for delivering educational and not promotional talks both nationally and internationally.



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