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24 May 2023

Professor Grainne McAlonan announced as Deputy Director of NIHR Maudsley BRC

Professor McAlonan appointed to role in May, and will act as interim NIHR Maudsley BRC Director from August 2023.

Grainne McAlonan

Professor Grainne McAlonan has been appointed as Deputy Director of the NIHR Maudsley BRC.

Grainne McAlonan is a clinical Professor of Translational Neuroscience at the IoPPN, and Theme Lead for Child Mental Health and Neurodevelopmental Disorders within the NIHR Maudsley BRC.

The NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) is part of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and hosted by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King's College London

In addition to her role as Deputy Director, Professor McAlonan will take over from Professor Matthew Hotopf as interim BRC Director from this August. Professor Hotopf will start his new role as Executive Dean of the IoPPN from September.

A process to appoint a substantive BRC director will start in the Autumn.

Translating research into clinical practice has always been the focus of my career so I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead a research centre that is dedicated to this goal. We have a truly interdisciplinary team, working across mental health research and neuroscience, involving patients and public at every stage. This has enabled us to discover new and impactful intervention approaches to optimize mental health, based on a deeper understanding of the mechanisms behind mental health difficulties.

Professor Grainne McAlonan

Professor McAlonan is also a clinician in the National ADHD and Autism Service for Adults in the Maudsley Hospital and Research Lead for the Behavioural Developmental Psychiatry Clinical Academic Group, King’s Health Partners. She is a group leader within the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences at IoPPN and is a lead investigator within the EU-AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium – a European network hosting the world’s largest grant for autism research.

Congratulations to Grainne on her appointment to Deputy Director of the NIHR Maudsley BRC. We’re very proud of the work of our BRC which brings together researchers and clinicians from the IoPPN and South London and Maudsley to develop and trial innovative new approaches to transform patients' lives. Grainne has already done fantastic work as a theme and a cluster lead at the BRC and I am sure when she steps into the Interim Director role in the summer she will provide excellent support and leadership to our BRC clinicians and academics in this next stage of the Centre's development.

Professor Sir Simon Wessely, Interim Executive Dean, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Professor McAlonan studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London and completed a PhD in behavioural neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. After clinical and research posts in the UK, she worked for over a decade in the University of Hong Kong.

She returned to King’s at the end of 2011 and has studied the development of babies, from in utero imaging to infants, demonstrating that if foundational brain systems are altered, such as those which regulate sensory processing, then there can be knock on effects on more complex systems

Earlier this year, she gave her inaugural lecture on ‘Translating Neuroscience - across species, across development and into clinic’, and you can watch a video of this here.

The NIHR Maudsley BRC aims to accelerate the translation of the latest scientific discoveries into first-in-man clinical trials and other well-designed studies. The findings from these studies can then be developed and implemented to produce new tests and treatments for people with mental and neurological disorders. 

It was established in 2007, and is one of 20 Biomedical Research Centres across England. BRCs translate scientific discoveries into new treatments, diagnostic tests and medical technologies for patients.

The NIHR Maudsley BRC recently received a new round of funding of £41 million, which will allow the the centre to continue its work developing better and more targeted treatments across the spectrum of mental disorders and pain. The centre will develop new capabilities in digital therapeutics, alongside established and world-leading programmes on informatics, child mental health, psychosis and eating disorders.

More information about the impact of the NIHR Maudsley BRC’s research can be found on our Stories of Research website.

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Grainne  McAlonan

Professor of Translational Neuroscience

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