President's lectures 

On this page you can find out about the next fantastic lectures given for College members at the invitation of our President, Professor Wendy Burn - and catch up on previous ones.  

Forthcoming President's lectures


Catch up with previous President's lectures

'The Trouble with Goats and Sheep' by Joanna Cannon 

Date: 29 November

'40 years of Psychiatry, and how it can inform the next 40' by Professor David Nutt

Date: 23 November

Synopsis: Professor David Nutt has spent over 40 years practicing and researching  psychiatry with involvement in national and international organisations involved in the development of new treatments and improvingPrpolicies.

He is currently the Edmund J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Centre for Academic Psychiatry in the Division of Brain Sciences, Dept of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London. He is also visiting professor at the Open University in the UK and Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

After 11+ entry to Bristol Grammar he won an Open Scholarship to Downing College Cambridge, then completed his clinical training at Guy's Hospital London. After a period in neurology to MRCP he moved to Oxford to a research position in psychiatry at the MRC Clinical Pharmacology Unit where he obtained his MD. On completing his psychiatric training in Oxford, he continued there as a lecturer and then later as a Wellcome Senior Fellow in psychiatry. He then spent two years as Chief of the Section of Clinical Science in the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in NIH, Bethesda, USA.

He returned to England in 1988 to set up the Psychopharmacology Unit in Bristol University, an interdisciplinary research grouping spanning the departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, before moving to Imperial College London in December 2008 where he leads a similar group with a particular focus on brain imaging and translational medicine studies on these disorders.

David has edited the Journal of Psychopharmacology for over twenty five years and acts as the psychiatry drugs advisor to the British National Formulary. He has published over 500 original research papers and a similar number of reviews and books chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 31 books, including one for the general public, ‘Drugs Without the Hot Air’, which won the Transmission book prize in 2014 for Communication of Ideas.

David broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television; highlights include being a subject for The Life Scientific on BBC radio 4, several BBC Horizon programs and the Channel 4 documentaries Ecstasy and Cannabis Live. David is much in demand for public affairs programs on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their harms and their classification. In 2016 he was advisor to the BBC Religious affairs dept on their groundbreaking programme on psychedelics in religion.

He also lecturers widely to the scientific and medical communities as well as to the public e.g. at the Cheltenham Science and Hay How the Light Gets In Festivals, Glastonbury and other music festivals as well as many Café Scientifiques and Skeptics in the Pub. He also speaks regularly to schools.

In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine voted him one of the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist in the list. In 2013 he was awarded the Nature/Sense about Science John Maddox prize for Standing up for Science and in 2016 an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Bath for contributions to science and policy.

This talk reflected on some key learnings from the different elements of David's career.

‘Becoming human: an idiosyncratic guide to 1,000 million years of the evolution of consciousness’ by Dr Derek Tracy

Date: 23 October 2018

Synopsis: Dr Tracy’s talk tracks 1,000 million years of the evolution of nervous systems in a single hour, taking an idiosyncratic approach to how our brains developed, what made us human, and how that links in with psychopathology.

It leaps from basic multicellular organisms with primitive sensory responses, through primal drivers of appetite and sex, to look at the emergence of emotion and memory in the brain.

The talk considers how humans differed from other hominids, especially Neanderthal, and what that tells us about who we are today, and our unique abilities, particularly at mentalisation.

It asks what other forms of consciousness might exist, and whether we could even recognise them if they do. .

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, OBE, DBE: Back to the future - on the road less travelled

Date: 21 March 2018

Lecture synopsis: We all know that where we live will impact radically on the quality of our lives. Across the world the challenge of achieving values and evidenced based, affordable, sustainable health care for all, has become so overwhelming we increasingly risk becoming crisis junkies.

Are we currently condemning prevention and sustainability to the too difficult to do box? How do we deal with diverse views as to whether increased utilisation of Artificial Intelligence in health care will make all things possible, threaten the livelihoods, remove all semblance of citizen confidentiality and rights or deliver the data patterns, that can advance the science of medicine and improve patient outcomes?

Professor Louis Appleby CBE: Things we know about suicide prevention but aren't true’

Date: 6 December 2017

Lecture synopsis: Suicide rates vary by country, within countries and over time, influenced strongly by economic and social factors. What therefore can clinicians do to prevent suicide? This lecture will cover evidence on suicide prevention by health services, especially in mental health, from individual clinical staff to organisations.

It will examine suicide by middle-aged men, who have the highest risk, and by young people, who attract the greatest public concern. It will discuss what we mean by risk assessment, whether the answer is in talking, training or something else, and whether suicide ever happens out of the blue. It will ask: Are mental health services in crisis? Does the blame lie with social media? And have the public had enough of experts?

Joanna Cannon: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Date: 14 September 2017

Lecture synopsis: In this lecture, Joanna will explain how a love of narrative encouraged her to return to education in her thirties, her unusual route to becoming a doctor, and how she used creative writing as an antidote to life, once she arrived on the wards.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep was inspired by the time she spent working in psychiatry, and was written just for fun, mainly during her lunch breaks. Joanna will discuss the motivation behind the story, why she felt it needed to be written, and the journey of a book written in an NHS car park, which went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller.

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry