Neuroscience and mental health - insights from mechanistic studies that will bridge the gap to therapeutic advances

Date: Wednesday 19 June
Time: 3.40pm - 4.55pm
Stream: New Science


While there are some exciting developments, there remains a dearth of new pharmaco-therapeutic interventions in Psychiatry with few truly transformative medicinal developments.  There is also a significant and growing skills gap and capacity deficit in training clinicians who can bridge the clinical and biological discovery arena and link mechanism to phenotype. While the remarkable progress in other disease areas is attributable to increasing understanding of the biological mechanisms, Psychiatry has not traditionally been an area where clinicians experience research training in mechanistic biology. The great strides in psychiatric genetics and neuroimaging need mechanistic studies to drive translation to new therapies. In this session we will highlight the methodologies that are being used to explore mechanistic pathways of direct relevance to psychiatric phenotypes and to therapeutic advance. These will include developments in animal models, modelling new genetic findings and translational neuroscience studies at the neuro-immune interface.

Methodologies that will be discussed will include: Cutting edge spatial transcriptomics and proteomics; Optogenetics; Novel and transgenic animal models and behaviour; Developing biomarkers across transdiagnostic categories.

Practical consideration around how trainee psychiatrists can develop these skills will be discussed throughout the session.


This session aims to:

  • To reflect on the advances in animal behaviour that more accurately reflect psychiatric phenotypes.
  • To update on the rapid advances in the interface between inflammation biology and neuroscience and how this can inform new drug development in psychiatry 
  • To explore the methods used to take the latest genetic findings from GWAS into neurobiological studies.
  • How psychiatry trainees can become involved in this work.


Chair: Professor Jonathan Cavanagh, University of Glasgow, Glasgow

Professor Emma Robinson, University of Bristol, Bristol

Dr Rhona McGonigal, University of Glasgow, Glasgow

Dr Cezar Tigaret, Cardiff University, Cardiff

Please email or call 020 8618 4120 with any enquiries.