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About the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences

The Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences is one of Europe’s largest research groups focusing on the development of prosocial and antisocial behaviours across the lifespan. We believe that it is essential to investigate the determinants of normal development in order to understand abnormal behaviour (or illness).

Our academics have expertise from basic animal models through to the latest neuroimaging techniques. We align this expertise in biological approaches with epidemiology and the social sciences. Our group are world leaders in brain imaging of infants, and in relating differences in brain structure and function to social and cognitive development. We also study the genetics, epidemiology, psychopathology, neurobiology and psychopharmacology of autistic spectrum disorders and ADHD across the lifespan, conduct disorder and callous unemotional behaviour in children, and offending and antisocial personality disorder in adulthood. 

The Department has extensive collaborative links with other centres nationally and internationally, including large EU funded training networks linking the IOPPN to China, the USA, and the Netherlands.   Our work is supported by large scale grants from leading agencies including the Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, National Institute of Health Research, National Institutes of Health (USA), The Sackler Foundation, and the European Union.   We currently hold approximately £45 million in research funding, and publish consistently in the world’s best neuroscience, psychology and psychiatric journals.  

In order to ‘translate’ our findings into practice our work is directly integrated with clinical services within the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, through the Behavioural and Developmental Clinical Academic Group (CAG). For example, together we run national research based clinical services in (respectively) ‘at risk’ infants, individuals with ASD or ADHD, and mentally disordered offenders (including prison mental health). The integration of the research and clinical groups drives us to translate breaking basic science research as quickly as possible into clinical applications which improve patient care. It also ensures that research and teaching reflect current clinical priorities, and that clinical practice is informed by the latest research findings.

The integration of our research programme with our clinical services is reflected in the department’s MSc, PhD and education programmes. These programmes are consistently highly rated in the postgraduate teaching and research assessments. One year full time or two year part time MSc courses teach you everything you need to know and understand in the area in order to enhance your clinical practice, provide a foundation for your DClinPsy application or to set you on an academic path through our PhD programme.


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