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I am an honorary consultant psychiatrist in the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) NHS Trust Perinatal Service, a senior clinical lecturer in neuroimaging and early psychosis and head of section of early psychosis with the department of psychosis studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London. I completed my honours degree (MD) in medicine and surgery in 1991, followed by completion of my training in psychiatry in 1995, both at the University of Cagliari in Italy. I became a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1998, and in 2002, I sat a masters (MSc) in psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. I received my certificate of completion of specialist training in general adult psychiatry (CCST) in 2003 and completed my PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry in 2006.
My main area of research interest is neuroimaging and its application to the study of early psychosis and psychoses after childbirth (postpartum psychosis). I am particularly interested in the relationship between magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and other biological measures such as neurodevelopmental indices, stress and reproductive hormones. I achieve this by working with a host of clinical samples: first, recruiting and evaluating cohorts of individuals at the first stages of psychosis and following them up to evaluate their response to treatment and clinical and functional outcomes, in studies such as AESOP, GAP, Wellcome Trust Childhood Trauma Study, EU-Optimise, and NIHR-BeNeMin; second, studying a model of increased risk of psychosis by evaluating women at risk of postpartum psychosis (PRAM-P study).
Across these studies, I use structural and functional neuroimaging to understand the brain structures underlying neurological abnormalities in psychosis, combining neuroimaging and clinico-epidemiological data to investigate how brain structural changes in psychosis may mediate the increased risk conferred by an hyperactivation of the stress response. I also use pharmaco-imaging in both clinical and healthy populations to investigate how antipsychotic drugs affect the brain's structure and function, and how this can help interpret neuroimaging findings in psychosis. I have also worked on evaluating the potential of various neuroimaging modalities to inform clinical practice and guide patient management.
2013 FRCPsych (Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists)
2007 Clinical Senior Lecturer, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK
1998 MRCPsych (Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists)
PhD, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
MD, School of Medicine, University of Cagliari, Italy
Msc, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK
My research within our BRC mostly takes place within the Clinical Disorder Cluster. I work with people with early psychosis and psychoses after childbirth (postpartum psychosis), informing personalised patient management, while providing a neurobiological basis for drug development and patient stratification.
To this end, my main research achievements within the BRC include the identification of brain-based neuroimaging biomarkers that can be used in the prediction of response to treatment with antipsychotic medications, and the application of such markers to inform personalised management of patients at the first episode of a psychotic illness. With further development, these findings have enormous potential for use in patient stratification in psychiatry, for example in clinical trials of new compounds.