Biological interventions, trial recruitment and safety

Investigating how the immune system and sleep disorders affect mental health.

Theme Mental health

A counsellor smiles happily at her client during a session

Researchers in this workstream are investigating whether problems with the immune system and with sleep contribute to causing certain types of mental illness.

For instance, we are studying whether anti-inflammatory medication can improve symptoms of psychosis in young people. We are also working to identify blood-based biomarkers that could help predict how patients will respond to new treatments for depression and psychosis. Finally, we are testing medication that changes sleep patterns. We want to see if it can improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Our analysis of large datasets will give us more information on the safety of medications in pregnancy. This is important because pregnant women are typically excluded from clinical trials testing the effectiveness of new medications.

Our researchers are also working on strategies to increase the number of people with neurodevelopmental disorders (such as autism spectrum disorder) taking part in clinical trials. This will allow well-designed trials to take place in this underserved group.