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Paul Allen


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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    The neurobiology of Ultra High-Risk (UHR) states for psychosis

    Since completing my PhD and post-doctoral work my research work has mainly focused on studies of individuals with an Ultra Hight Risk for psychosis (who exhibit early signs and symptoms of psychotic illness). By integrating different neurocognitive and neuroimaging techniques, and working closely with our associated clinical service (Outreach and Support in South London; OASIS), the aim of this research is to establish predictive factors conferring elevated risk for development of psychotic illness in UHR individuals. In particular, I have been at the forefront of a multimodal neuroimaging programme that aims to characterise neuropathology associated with psychosis at anatomical, physiological and neurochemical levels. This work has led to several peer review publications, oral presentation invites and successful funding applications. In particular, my work in this area has attracted prestigious funding awards form the Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation (formally NARSAD). The 2010 NARSAD Independent Investigator Award was one of only 49 awarded globally from over 800 application.


    Neurocognitive basis of auditory verbal hallucinations

    The focus of my doctoral and post-doctoral work, I have used functional neuroimaging and cognitive psychological techniques to study clinical and non-clinical subjects who are prone to hallucinations. This work has led to a number of peer review publications that have been cited over 350 times. Recently I was invited to contribute to a special edition of Schizophrenia Bulletin on this topic  ( and I am a founding member of the International Consortium of Hallucination Research ( I have been also written three book chapters on auditory hallucinations.


    The acute neurocognitive effects of cannabis

    Using neuroimaging the aim of this work is to examine the effects of acute Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) administration (active compounds of the cannabis plant) on cognition and associated neurofunction. I have published 6 papers on this topic in international peer reviewed journals and in 2009 our group's work was the subject of a television documentary programme (Horizon, British Broadcasting Corporation). I am currently involved in a study investigating the potential use of CBD as a treatment for people with an UHR for psychosis funded by the Guy's and St Thomas Challenge Fund UK. It is hoped that this work will lead to more effective, specific and safer early interventions in people with early signs and symptoms of psychosis.

    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being


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