Research Groups > Experimental and Clinical Neuroscience Psychiatric Imaging

“Our research focuses on understanding the causes of mental illnesses to improve their treatment. We primarily use functional imaging and experimental models in patients and controls”

Mental illness is a major cause of ill health and premature death. It accounts for four of the six leading causes of adult disability in the world and one in every ten hospital beds in the UK is allocated for the treatment of psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

We investigate the brain changes that underlie the onset of psychosis and response to treatment. There are two converging themes. The first theme centres around dopamine dysfunction in the development of psychotic disorders. This includes studying high risk groups, and the impact of risk factors for schizophrenia on dopaminergic function. The second theme investigates the role of dopamine and glutamate in treatment response. Studies are predominantly in patients or subjects at clinical risk of psychosis and use positron emission tomography to index neurochemical function in vivo. A key component of the Group’s approach involves integrating complex datasets from clinical, PET and related measures to probe the neural systems underlying psychosis.

Brain scan showing increases in brain dopamine accumulation in people as they develop psychosis.

 Psychiatric Imaging
Group head

Oliver Howes (Dr)

Telephone 38546/33160
Group members

Katherine Beck

Peter Bloomfield (Mr)

Robert Ali McCutcheon

Elias Mouchlianitis (Dr)

Sudhakar Selvaraj (Dr)

Telephone 33703
Visiting worker

Danilo Arnone

Ilaria Bonoldi

Sean Froudist Walsh

Sameer Jauhar

Fiona Pepper

Admin contact

Angela Whyte (Mrs)

Telephone 33446 and 33774
Contact details
Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8383 1023
Facsimile: +44 (0) 20 8383 1783
Selected publications
Selvaraj, S., Mouchlianitis, E., Faulkner, P., Turkheimer, F., Cowen, P. J., Roiser, J. P., Howes, O., 2014. Presynaptic serotoninergic regulation of emotional processing: A multimodal brain imaging study. Biological PsychiatryAbstract

Howes, O. D., Murray, R. M., Dec. 2013. Schizophrenia: an integrated sociodevelopmental-cognitive model. LancetAbstract

Demjaha, A., Murray, R. M., McGuire, P. K., Kapur, S., Howes, O. D., (2012). Dopamine synthesis capacity in patients with Treatment-Resistant schizophrenia. The American journal of psychiatry.  Abstract

Selvaraj, S., Turkheimer, F., Rosso, L., Faulkner, P., Mouchlianitis, E., Roiser, J. P., McGuire, P., Cowen, P. J., Howes, O., (2012). Measuring endogenous changes in serotonergic neurotransmission in humans: a [11C]CUMI-101 PET challenge study. Molecular psychiatry 17 (12), 1254-1260. Abstract

Howes, O., Bose, S., Turkheimer, F., Valli, I., Egerton, A., Stahl, D., Valmaggia, L., Allen, P., Murray, R., McGuire, P., (2011). Progressive increase in striatal dopamine synthesis capacity as patients develop psychosis: a PET study. Molecular psychiatry 16 (9), 885-886. Abstract

Stokes, P. R., Shotbolt, P., Mehta, M. A., Turkheimer, E., Benecke, A., Copeland, C., Turkheimer, F. E., Lingford-Hughes, A. R., Howes, O. D., (2012) Nature or nurture? determining the heritability of human striatal dopamine function: an [18F]-DOPA PET study. Neuropsychopharmacology aop Abstract

Howes, O. D., Kambeitz, J., Kim, E., Stahl, D., Slifstein, M., Abi-Dargham, A., Kapur, S., (2012). The nature of dopamine dysfunction in schizophrenia and what this means for treatment. Archives of general psychiatry 69 (8), 776-786. Abstract

Howes, O. D., Montgomery, A. J., Asselin, M.-C. C., Murray, R. M., Valli, I., Tabraham, P., Bramon-Bosch, E., Valmaggia, L., Johns, L., Broome, M., McGuire, P. K., Grasby, P. M. (2009). Elevated striatal dopamine function linked to prodromal signs of schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry 66, 13–20. Abstract

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