Department of Psychology

Visiting address
2034 Parkstead House, Whitelands
Contact

Phone: +44 (0)20 8392 5147

Biography

Paul Allen completed his Ph.D. in Neuropsychology (University of London) in 2005. Since then Paul has held the posts of lecturer and senior lecturer in the department of Psychosis Studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (formally the Institute of Psychiatry), King's College London where he currently holds a Visiting Professorship. Paul has co-authored over eighty papers in peer reviewed international journals on the topics of schizophrenia and psychosis, auditory verbal hallucinations and the effects of cannabis on the brain. This work has been funded by NARSAD (Brain and Behavior Research Foundation ,USA), the Medical Research Council (UK), the Wellcome Trust (UK), Guy's and St. Thomas Charitable Trust (UK) and King's Health Partners (UK). Paul's current work aims to develop and trial a real time fMRI neurofeedback system for cognitive training and clinical applications.

Qualifications

BSc, MSc, Ph.D, FHEA

Research interests

The neurobiology of Ultra High-Risk (UHR) states for psychosis

By integrating different neurocognitive and neuroimaging techniques, and working closely with the SlaM clinical service (Outreach and Support in South London; OASIS), the aim of this research is to establish predictive factors conferring elevated risk for development of psychotic illness in at-risk individuals. In particular, I have been at the forefront of a multimodal neuroimaging programme that aims to characterise neuropathology associated with psychosis at anatomical, physiological and neurochemical levels.

Neurocognitive basis of auditory verbal hallucinations

During my doctoral and post-doctoral work, I used functional neuroimaging and cognitive psychological techniques to study clinical and non-clinical subjects prone to hallucinations. I am a founding member of the International Consortium of Hallucination Research (http://hallucinationconsortium.org/) and have written three book chapters on auditory hallucinations. Currently, I am using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to developing a real-time fMRI neurofeedback system to help treat patients with refractory auditory hallucinations.

The acute neurocognitive effects of cannabis

Using neuroimaging the aim of this work is to examine the effects of acute Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) administration (active compounds of the cannabis plant) on cognition and associated neurofunction. In 2009 our group's work was the subject of a television documentary programme (Horizon, British Broadcasting Corporation). I am currently involved in a study investigating the potential use of CBD as a treatment for people with an UHR for psychosis funded by the Guy's and St Thomas Challenge Fund UK. It is hoped that this work will lead to more effective, specific and safer early interventions in people with early signs and symptoms of psychosis. I am also interested in the effects of early onset cannabis use on brain development and cognitive function.

Research projects

British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant (PI): Atttentional bias modification using Closed Loop Training: A pilot study: £9,400

Kings Health Partners 2015-2017 (PI) Real time fMRI neurofeedback as a treatment for auditory hallucinations: A proof of concept study. £100,000

NIHR Mental Health Biomedical Research Centre Neuroimaging Theme 2014-2016 (PI). Progressive factors underlying the neurobiology of psychosis. £26,000

Guy's & St Thomas Challenge Fund 2012-2013 (Co-I). A Preliminary investigation of Cannabidiol (CBD) as a novel treatment for prodromal psychosis. £99,500

National Association for Research into Schizophrenia And Depression (NARSAD) Independent Investigator Award 2010-2103: (PI). Dopamine prefrontal function and transition to psychosis. £60,000

Wellcome Trust Programme Grant (2010 - 2015): (Acting PI). Neurobiological factors underlying the onset of psychosis. £1,054,000

Guy's & St Thomas Charitable Foundation (2010-2012): (Co-I). The long-term outcome of early detection for psychosis. £98,000

Royal Society Conference Grant (2009) £1,300

Medical Research Council UK Project Grant (2008-2012): (Co-I). Social adversity, dopamine, cognition and psychosis. £872,000

NARSAD Young Investigator Award (2007-2009) (PI) Effective connectivity in individuals at high risk of psychosis. $60,000

Wellcome Trust Project Grant: Mechelli et al (2009-2011): (Co-I) Integrating functional and DTI MRI data in patients with schizophrenia. £250,000

Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Programme Grant 2012-2017 (Colaborator). Hearing the voice (http://hearingthevoice.org/our-research-team/). £1,300,000

Professional affiliations

Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS)

International Early Psychosis Association (IEPA)

Links

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