Driving new therapeutics in psychiatry: "wet-lab" psychiatry is essential

Professor Jeremy Hall, Professor Jonathan Cavanagh, Dr Mary-Ellen Lynall

75 minutes


June 2022

Congress webinar


With a few exceptions, there is a dearth of new pharmaco-therapeutic interventions in Psychiatry. There is also a significant and growing skills gap and capacity deficit in training clinicians who can bridge the clinical and biological discovery arena and link mechanism to phenotype. While the remarkable progress in other disease area is attributable to increasing understanding of the biological mechanisms, Psychiatry has not traditionally been an area where clinicians experience research training in mechanistic biology. The great strides in psychiatric genetics and neuroimaging need mechanistic studies in order to drive translation to new therapies. In this session we will highlight the methodologies that are being used to explore mechanistic pathways of direct relevance to psychiatric phenotypes. These will include studies that use molecular, cellular and circuit-level analysis of model systems (animal models and human inducible pluripotent stem cells) modelling new candidate molecules and translational neuroscience studies at the neuro-immune interface. Methodologies that will be discussed will include: Cutting edge spatial transcriptomics and proteomics; Optogenetics and chemogenetics; Novel transgenic animal models and behaviour; Developing biomarkers across transdiagnostic categories. Practical consideration around how trainee psychiatrists can develop these skills will be discussed throughout the session.

Chair: Professor Jeremy Hall, Cardiff University and Professor Carmine Pariante, King’s College London

Molecular biology in the exploration of the impact of immune-mediated inflammation on the brain: new therapeutic targets? - Professor Jonathan Cavanagh, Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, University of Glasgow

Innate and adaptive cellular immunology in psychiatry: prospects for biomarkers - Dr Mary-Ellen Lynall, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge


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