Dr Rachel Upthegrove MBBS, MRCPsych PhD

Senior Clinical Lecturer



Contact details

Telephone +44 (0)121 301 2355

Fax +44 (0) 121 301 2351

Email r.upthegrove@bham.ac.uk

School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
The Barberry National Centre for Mental Health
25 Vincent Drive
B15 2FG


Rachel is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry within the Section of Neurotrauma and Neurodegeneration, Psychiatry Theme.

Rachel has published over 30 papers, book chapters and book reviews within the field of major mental illness; particularly schizophrenia, affective disorders and suicide. Clinically Rachel has worked for over 17 years in psychiatry, 10 of which within the field of Early Intervention in Psychosis and Youth Mental Health.

She is active in undergraduate medicine teaching, including Year 4 Psychiatry, Graduate Entry Course and the intercalated BMedSc in Psychological Medicine.


  • PhD University of Birmingham 2011
  • MPhil University of Birmingham 2001
  • Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1999
  • MBBS University of London 1993


Rachel qualified with MBBS at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine in 1993, and after house jobs and two years of general medicine in London moved to Birmingham to begin a career in Psychiatry. In the closing days of the asylum era, exposure to severe mental illness piqued a longstanding interest in understanding these disorders, comorbidities and predictors of poor and fatal outcomes. Gaining Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1999, Rachel was also awarded the Cloake Medal in Research.

Beginning as a Consultant psychiatrist in 2006, Rachel developed and lead the South Birmingham Early Intervention Service, and latterly served as Head of Profession for the Youth Service.


  • Undergraduate Psychiatry
  • GEC Expert
  • BMedSc Psychological Medicine: Neurobiology of Mental illness and Psychiatry and The Arts module co-ordinator
  • SP1 Social, Cultural and Ethnic Aspects of Mental Disorder
  • SP1 Biological Basis of Madness

Postgraduate supervision

Rachel regularly supervises BMedSc and Masters students, and is an examiner for both.

Rachel would be interested in supervising MPhil and Doctoral research students in the areas of early psychosis and schizophrenia, suicide, self-harm, mood disorders and dimensions of psychosis.


Rachel’s primary research interests and background encompass the investigation of schizophrenia and psychosis, with particular emphasis on the importance of symptoms, co-morbidities and outcomes.

Current projects include:

1. The AVH Study: Using phenomenological interviews and ethnographic diary methods, The AVH study aims to gain a deeper insight of the experience of hearing voices. The techniques used for data collection have previously been shown to encourage reflexive thinking and foster open discussion. Results obtained will inform further qualitative and neuroimaging work to explore whether themes emerging from this phenomenological approach map onto our current understanding of the biological processes underpinning AVH in schizophrenia and non-psychotic illness.

2. BeneMin Study: BeneMin is a multisite, double blind, randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of minocycline in addition to standard care in preventing the development or worsening of negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Led by the University of Manchester, C.I. Prof Bill Deakin, this study builds on the demonstrated proof of concept of the efficacy of minocycline on negative symptoms in two placebo-controlled clinical trials in patients on stable treatment.

3. Neuroinflamatory Markers in First Episode Psychosis: Cytokine profile. This pilot study aims to investigate immune dysfunction, including newer identified Th cell subsets, monocyte/macrophage subset function and cytokine expression, in the peripheral blood of patients with psychosis, prior to first neuroleptic exposure.

4. Mood Disorders: Rachel is also member of the senior research team with the Bipolar Disorders Research Network (BDRN), a group of researchers and research participants in the UK involved in investigating the underlying causes of bipolar disorder.

ITV Fixers: Documentary about Schizophrenia

Other activities

  • Consultant Psychiatrist Early Intervention Service
  • Previous Assistant Clinical Director Youth Service, BSMHFT
  • ST4-6 Trainer in Psychiatry
  • ARCP Panel Member


Upthegrove R and Barnes NM (2014) Immune Dysfunction in Schizophrenia. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 20: 83-91

Kam S, Singh S and Upthegrove R (2013) What needs to follow Early Intervention? Predictors of relapse and functional recovery following first episode psychosis. Early Intervention in Psychiatry  [Epub ahead of print]

Sandhu A, Ives J, Birchwood M and Upthegrove R (2013) The subjective experience and phenomenology of depression following first episode psychosis: A qualitative study using photo-elicitation. Journal of Affective Disorders 149(1-3):166-74

Upthegrove R, Atulomah O, Brunet K and Chawla R (2013) Cultural and social influences of negative illness appraisals in first‐episode psychosis. Early intervention in psychiatry 7(4)399-406

Brunet K, Birchwood M, Upthegrove R, Michail M and Ross K (2012) A prospective study of PTSD following recovery from first-episode psychosis: The threat from persecutors, voices, and patient hood. British Journal of Clinical Psychology 51(4):418-33

Upthegrove R, Jones L and Oyebode F (2011) Ed Tom Brown and John Eagles, Teaching Psychiatry to Undergraduates Royal College Publication, London

Upthegrove R, Birchwood M , Ross K, Brunett R, McCollum R and Jones L (2010) The evolution of depression and suicidality in first episode psychosis. Acta Psych Scandinavica 122(3):211-218

Upthegrove R (2009) The Importance of Depression in Schizophrenia and Early Psychosis: practical implications for assessment and treatment. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment 15:372-379

Patel K, Upthegrove R (2009) Self-harm in first-episode psychosis. Psychiatric Bulletin 33(3):104-7

Burley K, Upthegrove R, Birchwood M, Patterson P and Skeate A (2009)‘Schizophrenia postdrome’: a study of low-level psychotic experience after remission of first-episode schizophrenia. Early Intervention in Psychiatry 3(4):296-9.

Birchwood M, Iqbal Z and Upthegrove R (2005) Psychological pathways to depression in schizophrenia Studies in acute psychosis, post-psychotic depression and auditory hallucinations. Eur Arch Psychiatry and Clin Neurosci 255(3):202-212

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