Dr Rachel Upthegrove MBBS, MRCPsych PhD

Senior Clinical Lecturer

Neurobiology

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Contact details

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

About

Rachel is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry within the Section of Neurobiology, 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.

Qualifications

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

Biography

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.

Teaching

  • Year 4 Specialty Lead Psychiatry
  • 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

Masters
Gurmokh Nagra
Sofia Zahid

PhD
Cark Krynicki

Research

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 HUSH Study: How we Understand Hallucinations. Charitable Trust Funded Study £26,000. C.I. Dr Rachel Upthegrove 2013-2015 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: NIHR EME funded RCT. C.I. Prof Bill Deakin £3.6 Million 2012-2015 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. 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.

Other activities

  • Consultant Psychiatrist Early Intervention Service, BSMHFT
  • Year 5 Welfare Tutor
  • NIHR Division 4 Specialty Lead West Midlands
  • ST4-6 Trainer in Psychiatry
  • ARCP Panel Member

Publications

Upthegrove R, Chard C, Jones, L, Gordon –Smith K, Forty L, Jones I and Craddock N (2014) Adverse Childhood Events and Psychosis in Bipolar Affective Disorder. Br J Psychiatry In press BJP/2014/152611

Upthegrove R, Manzanares-Teson N and Barnes NM (2014) Cytokine function in medication-naive first episode psychosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Schizophr Res 155(1-3):101-8

Upthegrove R, Ross K, Brunet K, McCollum R and Jones L (2014) Depression in first episode psychosis: The role of subordination and shame. Psychiatry Res 217(3):177-84

Upthegrove R (2014) On Nikolai Gogol’s Diary of a Madman - reflection. Br J Psychiatry 204(2):156

Patel M, Chawla R, Krynicki CR, Rankin P and Upthegrove R (2014) Health beliefs and carer burden in first episode psychosis. BMC Psychiatry 14:171

Kissame M, Szymanski L, Upthegrove R and Katona C (2014) Complex posttraumatic stress disorder in traumatised asylum seekers: a pilot study. Eur J Psychiat 28(3):137-44; ISSN 0213-6163

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

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

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