The British NeuroPsychiatry Association (BNPA) is the principal academic and professional body for medical practitioners and professionals allied to medicine working at the interface of the clinical and cognitive neurosciences, and psychiatry.
As we leave the “Decade of the Brain” neuropsychiatry has emerged as one of the most exciting and challenging fields in which to work. The BNPA was founded in December 1987 at the suggestion of Dr Jonathan Bird. Professor W A Lishman, the founding Chairman, describes its formation as follows:
“The Association was created to provide a forum for cross-disciplinary discussion of matters of common interest among psychiatrists, neurologists, neuropsychologists and workers in the related neurosciences. All suitably qualified persons with an interest in brain function in relation to behaviour would be welcome to join. For this reason we did not seek formal affiliation with other bodies, such as the Royal College of Psychiatrists, but decided to stand as an independent association. Young members bringing fresh ideas would be particularly encouraged to join, by keeping fees to a minimum and the establishment of appropriate prizes”.
Now this dynamic and growing organisation provides a forum to assist its members maintain and extend their knowledge and skills and to improve the understanding and treatment of people with neuropsychiatric disorders.
BNPA Executive Committee
President, Chris Butler
Chris Butler is an MRC Clinician Scientist at the University of Oxford, and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
His research focuses on the mechanisms of human memory, and uses neuropsychology and brain imaging to understand memory impairment in epilepsy, limbic encephalitis and dementia. Chris trained in medicine at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and then at the University of Edinburgh.
He obtained his PhD for work conducted on the syndrome of Transient Epileptic Amnesia under the supervision of Adam Zeman, work which established the ongoing, UK-wide TIME (The Impairment of Memory in Epilepsy) project.
He undertook postdoctoral research in dementia at the University of California, San Francisco with Bruce Miller, and then returned to continue neurology training in Edinburgh, where he also completed a Masters in Philosophy of Mind.
He moved to Oxford in 2009, where he now runs the Oxford Memory Research Group and heads the multidisciplinary Oxford Clinic for Cognitive Disorders at the John Radcliffe Hospital.
Treasurer, Dr Hugh Rickards
Dr Hugh Rickards is a Consultant in Neuropsychiatry and Honorary Reader in Neuropsychiatry at Birmingham University.
He is interested in general clinical neuropsychiatry and is part of a service that offers assessment and treatment for the full range of neuropsychiatric disorders.
He is the course director for the UK’s only MSc course in clinical neuropsychiatry. From the research angle, he is interested in the interaction between motor and psychiatric disorders, particularly in relation to Tourette syndrome and Huntington’s disease. Hugh is the outgoing chair of the European Society for the Study of Tourette syndrome.
Secretary, Dr Tim Nicholson
Dr Tim Nicholson NIHR Clinician Scientist fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London and honorary consultant in Neuropsychiatry at the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust..
His main clinical and research interests are in conversion disorder / functional neurological symptoms and the organic causes of psychopathology, particularly via autoimmune mechanisms. He is currently investigating TMS as a potential treatment for motor conversion disorder.
Director, Dr Boyd Ghosh Consultant Neurologist
Dr Ghosh has specialist interests in cognitive neurology and atypical Parkinsonian disorders. He is part of the team of neurologists who review patients with complex cognitive disorders as part of the cognitive multi-disciplinary team.
Dr Boyd Ghosh graduated from St. Bartholomew’s and The Royal London Medical School in 2000. He was a Neurology clinical fellow in Frenchay (Bristol) before studying for a PhD in Cambridge in neuroscience, with James Rowe and John Hodges.
He is a consultant neurologist at Southampton General Hospital with an interest in cognitive disorders. He has a particular interest in atypical Parkinsonian disorders. Dr Ghosh has served as treasurer and secretary of the trainees committee of the ABN and is currently meetings secretary for the ABNs’ cognitive special interest group.
Director, Professor David Linden
Professor of Translational Neuroscience, Cardiff University. Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
David Linden read medicine, classics and philosophy in Germany. He obtained a DPhil from the University of Oxford for his work on medical ethics in antiquity and a PhD in neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research. He trained in psychiatry and has applied structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neurophysiological techniques to psychiatric research for the past 18 years.
His earlier work has included mapping the neural correlates of auditory hallucinations in schizophrenia and the sources of the P300 component of the event-related potential. He has also worked extensively on the neurophysiology and brain structure of schizophrenia and other mental and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Since 2011 he has been Professor of Translational Neuroscience at Cardiff University. He is also an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board with special interest in neuropsychiatry (Welsh Neuropsychiatry Service). Current research interests include functional imaging of psychopathology, neural substrates of social cognition, genetic imaging, emotion – cognition interactions, cognitive coordination in working memory, treatment and training effects on the brain, and neurofeedback.
David Linden is the author of “The Biology of Psychological Disorders” (2012) and “Brain Control” (2014) and over 100 scientific papers in the fields of biological psychiatry, functional brain imaging, visual and social cognitive neuroscience, and neurofeedback. He is currently coordinating trials of functional MRI-based neurofeedback in depression (funded by the Medical Research Council) and Parkinson’s disease.
He is also the coordinator of the European Consortium “BRAINTRAIN”, funded by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme, which develops and evaluates imaging-based neurofeedback methods for a range of mental disorders. David is a member of the steering committees of the Mental Health Research Network Cymru and the Neurodegenerative Disorders and Dementia Network (Neurodem) and a PI of the National Centre for Mental Health.
He has a keen interest in links between academic psychiatry and the NHS and is fostering research collaborations with clinicians across Wales in the areas of neuroimaging and cognitive neuroscience. He would like to expand these activities across the UK through the work of the British Neuropsychiatry Association.
Director, Dr Valerie Voon
Dr. Valerie Voon is a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Fellow in Clinical Neurosciences and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the University of Cambridge.
She completed her Medical Degree at the University of British Columbia and Psychiatry residency at the University of Toronto in 2002, subspecialising in neuropsychiatry in her final year. She practised as a consultant to 2004 in Toronto during which she set up the liaison service to the movement disorders service.
She completed a research fellowship at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, at the National Institutes of Health in the Human Motor Control Section in 2009 focusing on mechanisms underlying functional neurological disorders. S
he completed her PhD in neuroscience in 2010 from the University College London focusing on mechanisms underlying dopamine agonist-induced impulse control behaviours in Parkinson’s disease. Her current clinical practise focuses on neuropsychiatric disorders subspecialising in movement disorders. Her research focuses on mechanisms underlying behavioural and substance addictions.
Director, Dr Niels Detert
Niels Detert is a Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Psychological Medicine service at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Niels Detert is a Clinical Neuropsychologist in the Psychological Medicine service at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. He studied Philosophy and Psychology at St Anne’s College, Oxford, and went on to complete doctoral training as a Clinical Psychologist, also in Oxford.
He has special interests in using Mindfulness training with people with Neurological conditions and psychotherapy with people with Functional Neurological Symptoms.
Ex-Officio, Dr Alan Carson MBCHB, MPHIL, MD, FRCPSYCH
Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Robert Ferguson Unit, Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh
My interest in neuropsychiatry began during a spell working in Kenya as a Wellcome Research Registrar conducting a study on the psychiatric and cognitive effects of HIV infection.
I then completed my higher training in Edinburgh, under the guidance of Professors Michael Sharpe and Charles Warlow, where I developed an interest in functional neurological symptoms. I currently work as a Consultant Neuropsychiatrist in Edinburgh split between the brain injury units at the Astley Ainslie Hospital and the Regional Neurosciences Unit at the Western General Hospital.
My collaboration with Michael and Charles has continued and I hold a post as part time Senior Lecturer at Edinburgh University where, along with Dr Jon Stone, we are engaged in the Scottish Neurological Symptoms Study a multi-centre, prospective cohort study of 4000 new neurology outpatients examining the outcome of functional neurological symptoms.
Ex-Officio Member, Professor Zeman
Adam Zeman is Professor of Cognitive and Behavioural Neurology at the Peninsula Medical School.
His research interests focus on memory disorders in epilepsy, disorders of visual imagery and attitudes to the relationship between mind and brain.
He is the author of ‘Consciousness: a user’s guide’ and ‘A Portrait of the Brain’, both published by Yale UP. He was Chairman of the BNPA from 2008-2011.
Honorary Life President, Prof WA Lishman MB ChB Hons, DSc, FRCP, FRCPsych
Professor Lishman was the founder chairman of a neuropsychiatry association to stimulate interactions between neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and laboratory workers in the neurosciences, which has thrived ever since.
From an early age Alwyn Lishman was intent on being a musician but set this aside and enrolled as a medical student at Birmingham University. He soon found that he had made the right choice. Early on he took an intercalated degree in Anatomy and Physiology in Professor Solly Zuckerman’s department which set the stage for an enduring interest in the brain in relation to cognition and behaviour.
Upon qualifying he spent two years in obligatory national service at the army hospital for head injury at Wheatley near Oxford. There he came under the influence of the neurologist Professor Ritchie Russell and, on obtaining his Membership of The Royal College of Physicians, he was promoted to Junior Specialist in Neurology. On demobilisation he obtained further experience of neurology at The Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, also with Professor Russell.
Thereafter he decided to sample psychiatry and was encouraged to do so by Professor Aubrey Lewis at The Maudsley Hospital in London. The decision to write his medical doctorate on records held in the attic of the Churchill Hospital, concerning soldiers who had sustained penetrating head injuries during the 2nd word war, brought him back into contact with neurology and with Oxford in the course of visits to and fro.
After completing psychiatric training he was appointed Consultant in Psychological Medicine at the National Hospital, Queen Square, and later at The Hammersmith Hospital’s Royal Postgraduate Medical School. He then retuned to The Maudsley and joined the consultant staff, ultimately becoming Professor of Neuropsychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry. His clinical experience in these various settings led to the writing of his major publication -“Organic Psychiatry: The Psychological Consequences of Cerebral Disorder”, initially published in 1978. This was the first comprehensive account of how medical conditions can affect brain function and thereby come to the attention of psychiatrists. It quickly became indispensable to students of psychiatry and neurology alike and firmly established neuropsychiatry as a modern discipline. Two further single author editions followed. The fourth and most recent was updated in 2009 by a group of younger colleagues at the Institute of Psychiatry.
Research was almost an integral part of experience at The Maudsley at the time, not least because of the number of first class trainees eager to work towards higher degrees. He initiated extensive studies of memory including interactions between memory, emotion and personality variables and also investigations into possible anomalies of cerebral organisation in psychotic Illness.
The advent of brain imaging, along with refinements in clinical psychology, brought major new opportunities for research in neuropsychiatry. Efforts were made towards automation of scan analysis and detailed attention given to brain damage in patients with alcoholism and patients with schizophrenia.
During his time at The Maudsley and Institute of Psychiatry, Professor Lishman became an international influence in the field of neuropsychiatry. Locally, he supervised numerous research students and trained many of our present day leading neuropsychiatrists. His wide-ranging travel, to teach and lecture in many countries, brought valuable relationships with colleagues and first-hand experience of recent developments. In addition, he served on the majority of scientific committees and grant giving bodies. During his time on the Neurobiology and Mental Health Board of the Medical Research Council in the 1970s, he argued strongly and successfully for a resurgence of interest into fundamental aspects of research in the dementias.
In the 1980’s Jonathan Bird drew attention to the need for a neuropsychiatry association to stimulate interactions between neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and laboratory workers in the neurosciences. This was set up by a small group of friends in 1987 with Professor Lishman as founder chairman and it has thrived conspicuously ever since under a succession of leaders. There are now several such associations in other countries including the International Neuropsychiatric Association, but it would seem that the UK can claim to have produced the first.