NIHR Maudsley BRC Research Champions

 As part of NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC)’s commitment to the Athena SWAN and King’s Diversity and Inclusion charters, in early 2018 we appointed five Research Champions.

Each Champion leads and delivers innovation and transformative impact in the following areas of strategic priority:

  • Diversity and inclusion – Dr Faith Matcham
  • Industry partnerships and strategic alliances - Dr Paul Stokes
  • Mental-physical health interface - Dr Valeria Mondelli
  • Research impact and engagement - Dr Sally Marlow
  • Translational neuroscience - Dr Kinga Bercsenyi

The  Champions are responsible for promoting innovative approaches to enhance activity and improve productivity in their area of responsibility; facilitating connections between different stakeholder groups;

  • Mobilising resources to build capacity and increase productivity
  • Articulatating a compelling vision of the future and building supportto implement innovation and bring about positive change
  • Boosting skills and confidence in the research community by sign posting and facilitating relevant education and training
  • Identifying opportunities to reframe organisational culture and introduce innovative approaches

About the BRC Research Champions

Dr Faith Matcham is a post-doctoral research associate based in the Department of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London. She coordinates the depression work stream of the RADAR-CNS programme, which explores the potential for wearable devices and mobile phone sensors to predict outcomes in major depressive disorder.

Her research interests lie in the relationship between mental and physical health, and how we can use technology to improve the management of mental and physical comorbidity.

She completed her PhD in Psychological Medicine in early 2017. She has been a mentor for the BRC Youth Awards and panellist for the RISE initiative, aiming to engage local secondary school-aged students in research methods and encourage continued participation in sciences in higher education.

Dr Paul Stokes studied medicine at the University of Birmingham and completed clinical training in Psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, London. In his doctoral studies at Imperial College London, Dr Stokes used PET and fMRI neuroimaging to examine the role of neurotransmitter systems in mediating psychosis, addictions and mood disorders. Dr Stokes obtained his PhD in 2011 from Imperial College London and was awarded the 2013 Royal Society of Medicine Psychiatry Section Mental Health Research Prize. Dr Stokes joined the Centre for Affective Disorders in 2013 where his main research interest is to use neuroimaging to better understand the neurochemical brain mechanisms which mediate bipolar disorder and related co-morbid addictions. He is also very interested in the use of clinical trials and functional neuroimaging to assess treatments to improve mood and cognitive symptoms in mood disorders.

In his clinical work, Dr Stokes is a consultant psychiatrist with the National Affective Disorders Service at the Maudsley Hospital (a national specialist service for people with treatment resistant mood disorders) and is a specialist consultant psychiatric advisor in mood disorders for the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority.

Dr Stokes was elected to the British Association for Psychopharmacology governing council in 2016. He is the Frontiers in Psychiatry Specialty Chief Editor for Affective Disorders Research. Dr Stokes is the Integrated Academic Training Lead for Psychiatry at King's College London and is also the NIHR CRN South London Lead for Mental Health.

Dr Valeria Mondelli is a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and a Liaison Consultant Psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital. In 2009, she completed her PhD at King’s College London, UK, and she was then awarded an NIHR Clinical Lectureship. Her research interest focuses on the in the interplay between physical and mental health and on the role biological systems involved in the stress response – including neuroendocrine and immune systems – in the pathogenesis of psychiatric disorders.

She is currently leading a project to investigate the involvement of inflammation in the pathogenesis and treatment response in depression and starting a new project aiming to understand biological mechanisms involved in the link between obesity and depression.

Dr Sally Marlow is Public Engagement Fellow in the Addictions Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London.  She is a BBC Broadcaster specialising in mental health, and is currently working on ‘Storm and Stress’, a documentary series for BBC Radio 4.  Sally also works on arts and mental health projects, and is Associate Editor for Culture at The Psychologist

Dr Kinga Bercsenyi obtained her masters degree in Human biology and Neuroanatomy at Lorand Eotvos University in Hungary. She also studied systems biology at University of Luxembourg. Kinga completed her PhD in Professor Giampietro Schiavo's lab at the London Research Institute and the Institute of Neurology, UCL. Kinga is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. She is studying the process of interneuron apoptosis during early postnatal development, a process, which might have profound implications in the healthy development of both rodent and human neocortex.

[Caption from left to right, Dr Sally Marlow, Dr Kinga Bercsenyi, Dr Faith Matcham, Dr Valeria Mondelli and Dr Paul Stokes. Image by David Tett]