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Maudsley '100 years' and establishing the mental health biomedical research centre

MARCH 21, 2008

A celebratory ‘Maudsley Mission: Yesterday, today & tomorrow’ event took place at the Institute of Psychiatry (IOP), King’s College London on Thursday 20th March.  Hosted by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SlaM) on behalf of both organisations, the event also marked the establishment of their joint National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre for mental health. 

Directed by Professor Simon Lovestone, this Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health was founded in April 2007 as one of eleven new centres set up by the new National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and funded by the Department of Health.  The centre is working on new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating mental health problems by ensuring advances in biomedical research are used to benefit service users and carers.  For more information on the Biomedical Research Centre please go to:

100 Years of Maudsley
The Maudsley Mission event was introduced by Madeline Long, SLaM Chair, as an opportunity to reflect on 100 years since the origins of the Maudsley Hospital, and to look to the future of mental health research and care.   The evening included a series of talks to an invited audience of scientists, as well as mental health professionals and NHS Maudsley and IOP Research staff. 

Professor Graham Thornicroft, SLaM’s Director of R&D, presented an overview of the close working relationship between SLaM and the IOP, setting out the on-going priorities in treatment and care provision as well as the importance of anti-stigma campaigning for those living with a mental health condition.  Stuart Bell, SLaM’s Chief Executive, reflected on how treatment provision has developed in the last 100 years since Henry Maudsley first established his hospital.  

A film entitled the Maudsley Mission film gave a flavour of the exciting and unique work undertaken by the Maudsley and IOP in collaboration. 

Professor Simon Lovestone, Director of the Specialist Biomedical Research Centre, gave a presentation on the future of mental health research, reflecting on when it first began and summarising what may one day be possible.  Thanks to advances in genetic research in the not too distant future, diagnosis and individuals’ treatment responses may be easier to predict and personalise.  Professor Lovestone summarised: ““Maudsley’s mission was to create a centre where research, teaching and clinical care could be conducted to the highest possible standards. Our mission today is to carry that ideal into the next century of this institution."

Partnership Collaborations
The event concluded with presentations from two arts project, ActionDog and The Opera Group, illustrating the collaborative work between the Specialist Biomedical Research Centre and partners to disseminate science to wider audiences.  

ActionDog, a public engagement company, is working on a collaborative partnership which includes the BRC on a Design and Gerontology (D&G) project that uses the science of ageing to inspire young people to design and translate ideas into exciting clothing collections. Exploring the process of ageing and examining key biomarkers, the young people will learn about the ageing process and translate this information into garments which demonstrate the biomedical facts of ageing.

The Opera Group is developing a new opera exploring the social, emotional and physical impacts of dementia, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease.  Working in partnership with Professor Simon Lovestone’s team, The Opera Group will deliver a series of activities which will enable research and development of the new opera and, it is hoped, to build support and partnerships for the larger project across both cultural and scientific communities.  
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