Director, Psylife

Reader in Epidemiology

Dr James Kirkbride

James kirkbride

Welcome to the PsyLife research group website, founded in the Division of Psychiatry at UCL in 2014 by me, James Kirkbride. We are a dynamic, diverse, supportive and growing research team who investigate how social and environmental factors affect the risk of mental health problems using epidemiological methods.

The group is founded on the principles of research-led learning. This means that all learning takes place in the context of application to real-world problems we aim to solve related to population mental health. All students and early career researchers are trained to develop their skills, knowledge and expertise in social and psychiatric epidemiology by tackling research questions of national and international importance. We aim to publish all suitable research in peer-reviewed  publications, and provide PsyLife group members with critical, transferable skills as they continue on their path to independence.

We are committed to academic excellence in social and psychiatric epidemiology to identify and prevent the social and environmental causes of mental health problems. We encourage and promote open science and translation of our findings into actionable public mental health and policy, wherever possible. We involve the public in our research in a variety of ways.

On this page you can find out more about our current team as well as alumni from our group.

Staff

Clicking on our images will take you to our UCL profiles

James B. Kirkbride

Director, Reader in Epidemiology

Jean Stafford

BRC Research Fellow

Keltie McDonald

Research fellow

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Publications
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Citations
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PhD students supervised
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MSc students supervised

PhD students

Ka-Young Ban

Ka-Young Ban

PhD student

Zeijing Shao

Zeijing Shao

PhD student

(Department of Statistical Sciences)

odessa_400px

Odessa Hamilton

Rotation PhD student 

(ESRC DTP)

Humma Andleeb

Rotation PhD student (WELLCOME MH)

Nathalie Rich

Nathalie Rich

Rotation PhD student

(ESRC DTP)

Placement students

Placements are offered to MSc students on our Division’s MSc courses on an ad hoc basis. This provides students with extracurricular voluntary research experience during their course.

DanPittaway

Dan Pittaway

Msc clinical mental health sciences

Wing Tung Chung

Wing Tung Chung

MSC CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH SCIENCES

Alumni

Postdoctoral

  • Dr Francesca Solmi (2015-18)

    Francesca worked in the PsyLife group between 2015-18, before becoming a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellow to start her own independent research into the epidemiology of eating disorders.

  • Dr Hannah Jongsma (2018-20)

    Hannah joined us as an ESRC research fellow, before gaining a permanent position at the Centre for Transcultural Psychiatry in the Netherlands

  • Dr Gemma Lewis (2018)

    Gemma is a lecturer in the Division of Psychiatry and joined us for a period of research in 2018.

PhD

  • Dr Hannah Jongsma (2014-17)

    Hannah undertook her PhD in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr James Kirkbride and Professor Peter Jones. She published novel, important findings from the EU-GEI study.

  • Dr Jen Dyxkhoorn (2015-18)

    Jen joined the PsyLife group in 2015 to undertake her PhD in psychiatric epidemiology. She has published new findings on psychosis aetiology using Swedish register data. She went on to become a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Public Health Research.

  • Dr Jean Stafford (2016-19)

    Jean was an MRC 4-year PhD student in the PsyLife group, who conducted transformative epidemiological research into our understanding of very-late onset psychosis, using Swedish register data. She is now a BRC Fellow in the group.

Visiting researchers

  • Dr Anna-Clara Hollander (Karolinska Institutet), 2015
  • Dr Daria Monteforte (University of Verona), 2016
  • Dr Martina Rattin (University of Verona), 2018

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

  • Rayanne Jean-Baptiste Bastien (DEPICt study), 2019-20
  • Hannah Ker (PsyMaptic-A study), 2019
  • Rebecca Dliwayo (PsyMaptic-A study), 2017-18

MSC

UCL MSc students on Clinical Mental Health Sciences, unless otherwise indicated. 

  • 2019-20: Angela Chase, Merle Schlief
  • 2018-19: Zsofi Dombi, Nura Bejani, Felicity Callender (LSHTM), Alfonso González-Valderrama (IoPPN)
  • 2017-18: Dafni Katsampa, Sarah Ledden, James Terhune, Verity Fox, Shereen Charles (UCL PALS)
  • 2016-17: Syeda Akhter, Samantha Harris
  • 2015-16: Lucy Richardson, Tom Steare, Dawid Gondek, Mohammadi Abdolali
  • 2014-15: Ho-Yun Lee, Lisa Laeber, Anita Chandra

Prospective students

PhD Students

James is happy to accept potential PhD students to study in the PsyLife groups. Potential students should have an interest in the epidemiology of psychotic disorders, and using quantitative techniques to answer questions related to the social determinants of these disorders.  Students who wish to learn and apply causal inference methods in epidemiology are particularly encouraged to get in touch. An MSc in Epidemiology, Public Health, Biostatistics or related disciplines is particularly desirable. 

Interested students should send an outline of their proposed PhD idea to James in the first instance. Further details about studying for a PhD within the UCL Division of Psychiatry can be found here. Students will normally be expected to secure funding for their PhD separately. A number of competitive scholarships are offered by major funders.

You can find details of current PhD students and other researchers working in the group here.

MSc Students

MSc students on the Division of Psychiatry’s Clinical Mental Health Sciences or Mental Health Sciences Research programmes can select a research project offered by Dr Kirkbride or another member of the PsyLife team each year. Projects are usually advertised on the MSc in late December each year, for uptake from around March onwards. Students who have their own research project ideas are welcome to get in touch with Dr Kirkbride at an early stage to discussion potential supervision.

MSc students on other courses who are interested in being supervised by a member of the PsyLife group for their dissertation project should also get in touch with Dr Kirkbride at an early stage to discuss their ideas.  

MSc students typically work on a real research question as part of the PsyLife group’s commitment to research-led learning. They will be embedded into the team, and contribute to regular team meetings during their placement. Wherever possible, we encourage and support the publication of MSc dissertations as peer-reviewed research. Some examples are given on this page. 

Study in the Psylife group

Student publications

1.
Jongsma HE, Gayer-Anderson C, Lasalvia A, et al. Treated Incidence of Psychotic Disorders in the Multinational EU-GEI Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(1):36. http://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3554
1.
Richardson L, Hameed Y, Perez J, Jones PB, Kirkbride JB. Association of Environment With the Risk of Developing Psychotic Disorders in Rural Populations: Findings from the Social Epidemiology of Psychoses in East Anglia Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(1):75-83. http://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.3582
1.
Solmi F, Mohammadi A, Perez JA, Hameed Y, Jones PB, Kirkbride JB. Predictors of disengagement from Early Intervention in Psychosis services. Br J Psychiatry. 2018;213(2):477-483. http://doi.org/10.1192/bjp.2018.91
1.
Gondek D, Kirkbride JB. Predictors of mental health help-seeking among polish people living the United Kingdom. BMC Health Serv Res. 2018;18(1):693. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3504-0
1.
Price C, Dalman C, Zammit S, Kirkbride JB. Association of Residential Mobility Over the Life Course With Nonaffective Psychosis in 1.4 Million Young People in Sweden. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018;75(11):1128-1136. http://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2233
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Dykxhoorn J, Hollander AC, Lewis G, Magnusson C, Dalman C, Kirkbride JB. Risk of schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar disorders by migrant status, region of origin, and age-at-migration: A national cohort study of 1.8 million people. Psychological Medicine. 2018;49(14):2354–2363. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291718003227
1.
Dykxhoorn J, Hollander AC, Lewis G, Dalman C, Kirkbride JB. Family networks during migration and risk of non-affective psychosis: A population-based cohort study. Schizophrenia Research. 2019;208:268–275. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2019.01.044
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Stafford J, Howard R, Dalman C, Kirkbride JB. The Incidence of Nonaffective, Nonorganic Psychotic Disorders in Older People: A Population-based Cohort Study of 3 Million People in Sweden. Schizophrenia Bulletin. 2019;45(5):1152–1160. http://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sby147
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Harris S, Dykxhoorn J, Hollander A-C, Dalman C, Kirkbride JB. Substance use disorders in refugee and migrant groups in Sweden: A nationwide cohort study of 1.2 million people. Alegria M, ed. PLOS Medicine. 2019;16(11):e1002944. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002944
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Dykxhoorn J, Lewis G, Hollander AC, Kirkbride JB, Dalman C. Association of neighbourhood migrant density and risk of non-affective psychosis: a national, longitudinal cohort study. The Lancet Psychiatry. 2020;7(4):327–336. http://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(20)30059-6
1.
Jongsma HE, Gayer-Anderson C, Tarricone I, et al. Social disadvantage, linguistic distance, ethnic minority status and first-episode psychosis: Results from the EU-GEI case-control study. Psychological Medicine. Published online March 2020:1–13. http://doi.org/10.1017/S003329172000029X
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Ban K-Y, Osborn DPJ, Hameed Y, et al. Personality disorder in an Early Intervention Psychosis cohort: Findings from the Social Epidemiology of Psychoses in East Anglia (SEPEA) study. Guloksuz S, ed. PLOS ONE. 2020;15(6):e0234047. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234047
1.
Terhune J, Dykxhoorn J, Mackay E, Hollander A-C, Kirkbride JB, Dalman C. Migrant status and risk of compulsory admission at first diagnosis of psychotic disorder: a population-based cohort study in Sweden. Psychological Medicine. Published online June 2020:1–10. http://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720002068
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Fox V, Dalman C, Dal H, Hollander A-C, Kirkbride JB, Pitman A. Suicide risk in people with post-traumatic stress disorder: A cohort study of 3.1 million people in Sweden. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2021;279:609-616. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2020.10.009