About us

The immunopsychiatry research group investigates the role of inflammation in psychiatric disorders, neurodevelopment, cognition, and in physical and psychiatric multimorbidity across the life course using population data, genetics, and early-phase clinical trials. The aim of our work is to identify and validate novel immunological mechanisms and treatment options for psychiatric disorders, with a focus on depression and schizophrenia. This work is clinically important because depression and schizophrenia affect one in four people in lifetime, but one in three people affected by these illnesses do not respond to currently available treatments.

The group is led by Golam Khandaker, Professor of Psychiatry and Immunology, and MRC Investigator at Bristol Medical School, Head of Immunopsychiatry Programme at the MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit, and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

We are happy to hear from people interested in mental health research including prospective students, staff, collaborators, study participants, the media, and people with lived experience of mental illness.


Professor Golam Khandaker (Group Leader)

Dr Hannah Jones (Senior Research Fellow)

Dr Chloe Slaney (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Christina Dardani (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Holly Fraser (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Ruby Tsang (Postdoctoral Research Associate)

Dr Nick Donnelly (Postdoc/Academic Clinical Fellow)

Dr Ruby Tsang (Senior Research Associate)

Eimear Foley (PhD Student)

Sophie Fairweather (PhD Student)

Tim Larsen (PhD Student)

Dr Aws Sadik (Academic Clinical Fellow)

Lucy Hartfield (Administrator)

Selected Grants

1. MRC. Immunopsychiatry Programme: Investigating the role of inflammation in depression and other psychiatric disorders. £1.5M (PI, Khandaker). 2023-2028

2. NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre. £11.9M (PI, Sterne; Co-I and Mental Health Theme Co-Lead, Khandaker). 2022-2027

3. MRC: Psychosis Immune Mechanisms Stratified Medicine Study (PIMS). £1.4M (PI, Rachel Upthegrove, Birmingham; Co-PI, Khandaker); 2019-2024

4. MRC: Physical and mental health multimorbidity across the lifespan (LIfespaN multimorbidity research Collaborative or LINC). £3.6M (PI, Van den Bree, Cardiff; Co-I and Work-Package Lead, Khandaker). 2021- 2025

Selected Publications

1.Osimo EF, Perry BI, Mallikarjun P, Pritchard M, Lewis J, Katunda A, Murray GK, Perez J, Jones PB, Cardinal RN, Howes OD, Upthegrove R, Khandaker GM. Predicting treatment resistance from first-episode psychosis using routinely collected clinical information. Nat Ment Health. 2023 Jan 19;1(1):25-35. doi: 10.1038/s44220-022-00001-z. PMID: 37034013

2.Foley ÉM, Griffiths SL, Murray A, Rogers J, Corsi-Zuelli F, Hickinbotham H, Warwick E, Wilson M, Kaser M, Murray GK, Deakin B, Jadon D, Suckling J, Barnes NM, Upthegrove R, Khandaker GM; PIMS Collaboration. Protocol for the Psychosis Immune Mechanism Stratified Medicine (PIMS) trial: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of single-dose tocilizumab in patients with psychosis. BMJ Open. 2023 Mar 24;13(3):e067944. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-067944. PMID: 36963796

3.Slaney C, Sallis HM, Jones HJ, Dardani C; Charge Inflammation Working Group; Tilling K, Munafò MR, Davey Smith G, Mahedy L, Khandaker GM. Association between inflammation and cognition: Triangulation of evidence using a population-based cohort and Mendelian randomization analyses. Brain Behav Immun. 2023 May;110:30-42. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2023.02.010. Epub 2023 Feb 13. PMID: 36791891

4.Foley ÉM, Parkinson JT, Mitchell RE, Turner L, Khandaker GM. Peripheral blood cellular immunophenotype in depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Mol Psychiatry. 2023 Mar;28(3):1004-1019. doi: 10.1038/s41380-022-01919-7. Epub 2022 Dec 28. PMID: 36577838

5.Osimo EF, Lewis J, Cardinal RN, Khandaker GM. Clozapine treatment and risk of COVID-19. BJPsych Open. 2022 Jul 11;8(4):e131. doi: 10.1192/bjo.2022.537.PMID: 35815763 

6.Sadik A, Dardani C, Pagoni P, Havdahl A, Stergiakouli E; iPSYCH Autism Spectrum Disorder Working Group, Khandaker GM, Sullivan SA, Zammit S, Jones HJ, Davey Smith G, Dalman C, Karlsson H, Gardner RM, Rai D.NatParental inflammatory bowel disease and autism in children. Med. 2022 Jul;28(7):1406-1411. doi: 10.1038/s41591-022-01845-9. Epub 2022 Jun 2.PMID: 35654906 

7.Williams JA, Burgess S, Suckling J, Lalousis PA, Batool F, Griffiths SL, Palmer E, Karwath A, Barsky A, Gkoutos GV, Wood S, Barnes NM, David AS, Donohoe G, Neill JC, Deakin B, Khandaker GM, Upthegrove R; Inflammation and Brain Structure in Schizophrenia and Other Neuropsychiatric Disorders: A Mendelian Randomization Study  PIMSCollaboration.JAMA Psychiatry. 2022 May 1;79(5):498-507. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.0407.PMID: 35353173 

8.Kappelmann N, Perry BI, Khandaker GM. Prenatal and Childhood Immuno-Metabolic Risk Factors for Adult Depression and Psychosis. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2022 Jan-Feb 01;30(1):8-23. doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000322.PMID: 34995032 

9.Textbook of Immunopsychiatry. Editors: Golam Khandaker, Neil Harrison, Edward Bullmore and Robert Dantzer. Cambridge University Press, 2021. doi: 10.1017/9781108539623.

10.Milaneschi Y, Kappelmann N, Ye Z, Lamers F, Moser S, Jones PB, Burgess S, Penninx BWJH, Khandaker GM. Association of Inflammation with Depression and Anxiety: Evidence for Symptom-Specificity and Potential Causality from UK Biobank and NESDA Cohorts. Molecular Psychiatry. 2021 Jun 16. doi: 10.1038/s41380-021-01188-w. PMID: 34135474

11.Perry BI, Osimo EF, Upthegrove R, Mallikarjun PK, Yorke J, Stochl J, Perez J, Zammit S, Howes O, Jones PB, Khandaker GM. Development and external validation of the Psychosis Metabolic Risk Calculator (PsyMetRiC): a cardiometabolic risk prediction algorithm for young people with psychosis. Lancet Psychiatry. 2021 Jul;8(7):589-598. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(21)00114-0. PMID: 34087113

12.Perry BI, Stochl J, Upthegrove R, Zammit S, Wareham N, Langenberg C, Winpenny E, Dunger D, Jones PB, Khandaker GM. Longitudinal Trends in Childhood Insulin Levels and Body Mass Index and Associations With Risks of Psychosis and Depression in Young Adults. JAMA Psychiatry. 2021 Apr 1;78(4):416-425. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4180. PMID: 33439216

13.Perry BI, Burgess S, Jones HJ, Zammit S, Upthegrove R, Mason AM, Day FR, Langenberg C, Wareham NJ, Jones PB, Khandaker GM. The potential shared role of inflammation in insulin resistance and schizophrenia: A bidirectional two-sample Mendelian randomization study. PLoS Medicine. 2021 Mar 12;18(3):e1003455. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003455. PMID: 33711016

14.Chaplin AB, Jones PB, Khandaker GM. Association between common early-childhood infection and subsequent depressive symptoms and psychotic experiences in adolescence: a population-based longitudinal birth cohort study. Psychological Medicine. 2020 Nov 13:1-11. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720004080. PMID: 33183379

15.Khandaker GM, Oltean BP, Kaser M, Dibben CRM, Ramana R, Jadon DR, Dantzer R, Coles AJ, Lewis G, Jones PB. Protocol for the insight study: a randomised controlled trial of single-dose tocilizumab in patients with depression and low-grade inflammation. BMJ Open. 2018 Sep 21;8(9):e025333. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025333. PMID: 30244217

16.Khandaker GM, Dalman C, Kappelmann N, Stochl J, Dal H, Kosidou K, Jones PB, Karlsson H. Association of Childhood Infection With IQ and Adult Nonaffective Psychosis in Swedish Men: A Population-Based Longitudinal Cohort and Co-relative Study. JAMA Psychiatry. 2018 Apr 1;75(4):356-362. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4491. PMID: 29450471

17.Kappelmann N, Lewis G, Dantzer RD, Jones PB, Khandaker GM. Antidepressant Activity of Anti-Cytokine Treatment: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Clinical Trials of Chronic Inflammatory Conditions. Molecular Psychiatry. 2018 Feb;23(2):335-343. doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.167. PMID 27752078

18.Khandaker GM, Zammit S, Lewis G, Jones PB. Association of Serum Interleukin 6 and C-Reactive Protein in Childhood with Depression and Psychosis in Young Adult Life: A Population-Based Longitudinal Study. JAMA Psychiatry. Oct 2014; 71(10):1121-8. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.1332. PMID: 25133871

Immunopsychiatry Group in Media

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs might someday treat depression. By Susan Scutti, CNN (link)
  • Depression and Me: Alastair Campbell, BBC Documentary (link)

Contact us: Lucy Hartfield (

We are looking for people within the
first 3 years of diagnosis of psychosis
and aged 18-40 years for this study.
To find out more please email:  

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