Professor William Deakin
Research profile and key clinical specialties
Bill Deakin heads Neuroscience Research in the Division of Psychiatry. An important focus of his group is to use modern imaging techniques to directly visualise 5HT and glutamate working in the brain.
Patients and volunteers lie in a magnetic resonance imaging scanner and the images show which parts of the brain respond to drugs chosen to probe 5HT or glutamate functioning and how it performs mental tasks.
The group can show, for example, that a single dose of an antidepressant drug lights up areas of the brain concerned with anxiety responses and turns off other areas concerned with memory in healthy volunteers.
The group can also visualise how these neurotransmitters modify how the brain processes information. For example, viewing the image of a fearful face engaged regions of the brain concerned with emotion; a pre-dose of an antidepressant specifically affects this part of the response while not affecting fear responses in other brain regions.
They are now investigating these effects in patients with anxiety, depression and antisocial behaviour.
Bill Deakin is the experimental medicine lead of the UK Mental Health Research Network, a NIHR Senior Investigator and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He has over 200 refereed publications and an H-factor of 60.
His current research funding encompasses the role of inappropriate neutrophil activation in COPD and ARDS, the impact of hypoxia on neutrophil function, and the role of PI3K delta in immune cell and airway biology.
Two key publications
- Lythe KE, Moll J, Gethin JA, Workman CI, Green S, Lambon Ralph MA, Deakin JFW, Zahn R (2015) Self-blame-selective hyperconnectivity between anterior temporal and subgenual cortices and prediction of recurrent depressive episodes. JAMA Psychiatry 72(11), 1119-1126.
- Juhasz G, Hullam G, Eszlari N, Gonda X, Antal P, Anderson IM, Hokfelt TGM, Deakin JFW, Bagdy G (2014) Brain galanin system genes interact with life stresses in depression-related phenotypes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111(16), E1666-E1673.
Possible PhD projects
- Cognitive and pharmacological remediation of anhedonia in addiction and psychosis; a transdiagnostic experimental medicine approach.
Currently sits on grant awarding committees for Wellcome Trust, the Lister Foundation and the EME/NIHR. This enables Bill to provide excellent training in generic presentational and writing skill and career strategies.
Keywords: Neuroscience, Psychiatry, 5HT, glutamate, brain, neurotransmitters, COPD, and ARDS, hypoxia, neutrophil, PI3K, anterior, temporal, subgenual, cortices