There are numerous pharmacological and psychological therapeutic options available for treating psychiatric disorders. However current therapies are often suboptimal, and a major goal for psychiatric research is developing improved treatments. This includes new medications for patient subgroups whose symptoms do not respond to standard treatment, medications with fewer side-effects, or therapies to address symptom domains which are not well-addressed by current interventions or can further improve overall quality of life and well-being. In this module students will gain a deep understanding of how new therapies are developed from basic science, biological psychiatry or epidemiological research into clinical practice.
The module first develops understanding of the fundamental principles of pharmacology, brain neurotransmission and psychological intervention in relation to the rationale for the current use or future development of these approaches across the psychiatric disorders. Students will then learn about and explore the different stages of research that occur in translating scientific research to clinical practice, - from studies in animal and cellular models, to experimental medicine studies in healthy volunteers, clinical trials in patient groups and finally incorporation into enhanced clinical care.
Specific topics include:
- Fundamental principles of pharmacology, neurotransmission and pharmacotherapy.
- Fundamental principles of psychotherapy.
- Translational research using cellular, animal and human models of psychiatric disorders.
- Clinical trials design and methodology.
- Clinical scales and biomarkers for measuring outcome.
- Translating research into clinical practice.
- Challenges and innovation in therapeutic research.
The focus on innovation throughout the module encourages students to identify the challenges that occur along this translational pathway, and engage critical thinking and problem-solving skills to discover solutions to overcome these challenges. Exemplars of on-going research will be presented by internationally acclaimed academics, to provide real-life examples of therapeutic research in action. This is supported by sessions on the importance of involving key stakeholders in the research process, including the pharmaceutical industry, clinicians, patients, patients' families and the general public.
Dr Sagnik Bhattacharyya
Module assessment - more information