Professor of Psychiatric & Social Epidemiology
James B. kirkbride
Meet the team
Welcome to the PsyLife research group website, founded in the Division of Psychiatry at UCL in 2014 by Professor James B. 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.
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.
Marina Antoniadou & Ella Rose
MSc Clinical Mental Health Sciences
Dr Jean Stafford (2020-21)
Jean was a BRC Research Fellow in the group, having completed her PhD with Dr Kirkbride in 2019. She researches the causes and consequences of very late onset psychosis.
Dr Keltie McDonald (2019-21)
Keltie worked in the PsyLife group on the PsyMaptic-A project, where she coordinated and led analyses on incidence prediction for first episode psychosis, now used in NICE guidelines for EIP services in England.
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.
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.
Dr Ka-Young Ban (2016-22)
Kay's PhD was primarily supervised by Prof David Osborn (UCL) where she undertook studies to characterise the socioenvironmental determinants of personality disorders and their outcomes using clinical records data.
- Dr Anna-Clara Hollander (Karolinska Institutet), 2015
- Dr Daria Monteforte (University of Verona), 2016
- Dr Martina Rattin (University of Verona), 2018
- Vera Brink (University Medical Centre Groningen), 2022
- Dr Federico Moretti (University Milan-Bicocca), 2023
- Yanakan Logeswaran (EPICare), 2021-23
- Rayanne Jean-Baptiste Bastien (DEPICt study), 2019-20
- Hannah Ker (PsyMaptic-A study), 2019
- Rebecca Dliwayo (PsyMaptic-A study), 2017-18
UCL MSc students on Clinical Mental Health Sciences, unless otherwise indicated.
- 2022-23: Hannah Gray, Ishrat Pabla, Lauren Turner
- 2021-22: Lilian Burr
- 2020-21: Roleah Jacinto, Yanakan Logeswaran, Spyros Spyridonidis, Dan Pittaway
- 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
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 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.