Head of Department
- Professor of Psychiatry
- Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist
Early psychosis, Neuroimmunology
Early Psychosis Research Group
Our group's research is on discovering the causes of psychotic illness, and improving its treatment.
Psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are serious mental illnesses of unknown cause. There is an urgent need to discover the basis of these illnesses, and to develop new treatments
We undertake a wide range of research, all aiming to improve outcomes for people with first episode psychosis. We are undertaking studies of alteration of microbiome in psychosis, and whether treatment with probiotics is helpful. We are undertaking studies of devices to improve monitoring of physical health outcomes, and we undertake health services research studies of new service models in the care of people with early psychosis.
A particular focus is on the possible neuroimmunological basis of psychotic disorders. We have described the prevalence of antibodies against the NMDA receptor, and other neuronal targets, in people with a first episode of psychosis. We are a running clinical trial to see whether immunotherapy is an effective treatment approach for people with psychosis and these antibodies, as well as studies to examine immune system functioning in psychosis and the mechanism of action of these antibodies.
Our research is possible because we work closely with, and within the Early Intervention in Psychosis service for Oxford Health NHS FT. This busy clinical service provides early, assertive community treatment for all people experiencing a first episode of psychosis across Oxfordshire.
We also lead the implementation of NICE quality standards for early psychosis for NHS England across the South of England (www.time4recovery.com)
We collaborate with academic groups and clinicians from across the UK and internationally to advance our understanding of these disorders and to treat patients with the best evidence based treatments.
Bitta MA. et al, (2023), BJPsych Open, 9
Minichino A. et al, (2023), Biol Psychiatry
Williams R. et al, (2023), BMJ Ment Health, 26
Lennox B., (2023), Schizophr Bull, 49, 829 - 830
Whiting D. et al, (2023), BMJ Ment Health, 26