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Paul Harrison

MA, BM. BCh, DM (Oxon), FRCPsych

Professor of Psychiatry; Associate Head of Department (Research)

  • Chair, Oxford Neuroscience Committee
  • Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Emeritus Fellow, Wolfson College

Translational neurobiology of psychiatric disorders

My research addresses several aspects of translational psychiatric neuroscience. It has been funded mainly by grants from the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, and NIHR. The research is a team effort, relying on the expertise and commitment of many exceptional colleagues and collaborators in the Department, elsewhere in the Medical Sciences Division, and beyond Oxford. 

An important starting point for the work is that many genes which affect risk of developing psychiatric disorders have been identified, but much less is known about how, why, and when, these factors increase risk. Underlying my research is the assumption that they operate to affect brain development, plasticity, and function, and our work is designed to investigate this. I have a particular interest in the risk genes which represent potential treatment targets, such as voltage-gated calcium channels

As well as neurobiological research into genetic mechanisms, I am involved in several clinically focused projects, including functional neuroimaging (using fMRI and MEG), experimental medicine, and randomised clinical trials. I have carried out systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and conduct large-scale pharmacoepidemiological studies. During the pandemic, I have also been researching the psychiatric and neurological sequelae of Covid-19 and their mechanisms.

I trained in medicine and psychiatry in Oxford and London, and was a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow before being appointed to my present post in 1997. I was awarded a Chair in 2000. I have published over 360 papers (Scopus h-index 82; Google scholar 103; 43,000 citations), and several books, including The Neuropathology of Schizophrenia, The Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry, Lecture Notes: Psychiatry, and Schizophrenia with Daniel Weinberger. I am a Deputy Editor for Biological Psychiatry and Biological Psychiatry Global Open Science. I have served on various Wellcome and MRC funding committees, chaired an NHS Research Ethics Committee, and sat on the REF 2021 Unit of Assessment 4 sub-panel. I have supervised 22 DPhils. Awards include the CINP/Paul Janssen Schizophrenia Prize (1998), the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP) Senior Clinical Prize (1999), the A.E. Bennett Award of the Society of Biological Psychiatry (2004), the Joel Elkes Research Award of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2005), the CINP Lilly Clinical Neuroscience award (2010), the ECNP Clinical Neuropsychopharmacology award (2012), and the BAP Lifetime Achievement Award (2023). I was President of the BAP from 2014-2016. 

I am a Theme Leader in the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre, and a Group Leader in the Oxford Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. I hold an Adjunct Faculty position at the Lieber Institute of Brain Development in Baltimore. 


Recent publications

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