Sleep and Circadian Disruption (SCRD), where sleep timing is disrupted, is high prevalent clinically, drives more complex mental and physical illness, and is relevant in, for example shiftwork. Work will apply novel science and support innovative trials to improve the health and quality of life of individuals with SCRD.
It will focus on the scientific/clinical interface to create, and test, accurate tools for measuring brain structure and function to improve risk identification, early diagnosis, outcome prediction and targeted treatments.
Work will improve the current treatment of mental illness in a one-size-fits-all, trial and error approach to make use of clinical trial data, remote monitoring and long-term outcomes from real-world datasets. Processes, pipelines, clinical models and algorithms will be developed, and refined, to customise and personalise treatment.
Two major challenges will be addressed: (i) identifying individuals in whom new approved drugs, alongside non-pharmacological interventions, are likely to be beneficial and (ii) developing sensitive, robust measures for earlier diagnosis and clinical trial outcomes.
Depression is a leading cause of disability with current treatments often leaving patients with incomplete recovery. Animal models have not been able to predict clinical effects so we are developing human neurocognitive models of antidepressant action to allow study of novel, and repurposed, compounds in both healthy and depressed people.
Flourishing & Wellbeing
Will develop flourishing and evidence-based interventions by understanding the mechanism(s) of action. It will use non-clinical approaches to engage with minoritized populations and groups under-represented in research, support the enthusiasm for “social prescribing” and demonstrate how community resources such as outdoor spaces, public institutions and workplaces could be used to deliver preventative initiatives and mental health interventions.
Mental Health in Development
Focusing on how understanding the biological, social, and psychological mechanisms underlying common mental health problems in children and young people can be translated into more targeted, effective and accessible prevention and treatment.
To identify, and test, new therapeutic targets for psychiatric disorders using genomics and other discovery neuroscience.
Chronic pain is one of the largest global health problems. Work will provide the evidence-base for using a brain targeted, and mechanism- based approach, to personalised management and treatment of chronic pain.
Preventing Multiple Morbidities
There will be a focus on (i) co-designing and testing policy interventions to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the general population and (ii) designing interventions to help those with mental illness reduce behavioural risks for NCDs by addressing the underlying social and neuropsychological difficulties.
Blended digital interventions and automated virtual reality therapies will be created that can be accessed by patients from their homes at convenient times and require less input from healthcare staff.