Dr Rachel Upthegrove MBBS, MRCPsych, PhD

Dr Rachel Upthegrove

Institute of Clinical Sciences
Reader in Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health
Consultant Psychiatrist Early Intervention in Psychosis
In affiliation: Institute for Mental Health, School of Psychology & Centre for Human Brain Health

Contact details

Institute for Mental Health
52 Pritchatts Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Rachel is a Reader in Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health at the University of Birmingham, and Consultant Psychiatrist in the Birmingham Early Intervention Services. Her research interest is within the field of major mental illness; particularly schizophrenia and the identification, importance and treatment of co-morbid depression in early phases of illness. Recent projects have developed the investigation of inflammatory models of psychosis and machine learning in prognostic indicators in early psychosis. Through detailed clinical work the day to day challenges of a paucity of therapeutic options for patients with psychosis is apparent, with the need for new pharmaceutical options, targeted interventions and personalised approach.


  • PhD University of Birmingham 2011
  • MPhil University of Birmingham 2001
  • FRCpsych
  • RCPsych
  • MBBS University of London, Royal Free Hospital, School of Medicine 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. As a Consultant Psychiatrist from 2006, Rachel developed and lead the South Birmingham Early Intervention Service, and latterly served as Head of Profession for the Youth Service.


Postgraduate supervision

PhD Students

Carl Krynicki 
Markella Grigoriou 
Alexander Tate
Emily Fisher


Rachel’s primary research interests and background encompass the investigation of schizophrenia and psychosis, with particular emphasis on the importance of symptom dimensions and outcomes.

Current projects include:

HuSH: How we Understand Hallucinations. Charitable Trust Funded Study £32,000. 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.

BioPoP: Biological correlates of dimensional symptoms of psychosis. C.I. Rachel Upthegrove. This study aims to discover whether neuroimaging and cellular biomarkers can be identified for specific symptom dimensions in first episode psychosis. This has important implications for the accurate early identification of patients with poor prognosis and the development of novel, targeted, treatments.

PRONIA: EU FP7 Funded: Personalised Prognostic Tools for Early Psychosis Management. C.I. Nikos Koutsolerious. PRONIA will use routine brain imaging and complementary data to optimise candidate biomarkers for the prediction and staging of psychoses and aim to generate a prognostic system that generalises well across different mental health services. We will also implement new multi-modal risk quantification tools to predict mental health-related disability in young help-seekers. The fusion of these tools with clinical knowledge will produce cybernetic prognostic services that accurately identify help-seekers at the highest risk of psychosis, poor functioning and suicide-related mortality. More information available here

ECLIPSE/CIRCUITS: NIHR PGfAR funded Building Resilience and Recovery through Enhancing Cognition and quality of Life in the early PSychosEs (ECLIPSE) - Study 9: Implementation of Cognitive Remediation into Early Intervention.  C.I. Til Wykes and Eileen Joyce. More information available here

Other activities


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

Upthegrove R, Ives J, Broome MR, Caldwell K, Wood SJ and Oyebode F. (2016). Auditory verbal hallucinations in first-episode psychosis: a phenomenological investigation. British Journal of Psychiatry Open, 2(1), 88-95.

Marwaha S, Thompson A, Upthegrove R, Broome MR (2016). 15 Years on- Early Intervention for a new generationThe British Journal of Psychiatry 209 (3), 186.

Upthegrove R, Marwaha S, Birchwood M. (2016) Depression in Schizophrenia: Depression and schizophrenia: cause, consequence or trans-diagnostic issue?  Schizophrenia Bulletin 43 (2), 240-244.

Gregory A, Mallikarjun P and Upthegrove R. Treatment of Depression in Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. (2017). The British Journal of Psychiatry 211(4) 198-204

McGinty J, Haque MS and Upthegrove R. (2017) Depression during first episode psychosis and subsequent suicide risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Schizophrenia Research 

Upthegrove R, Ives J, Broome MR, Caldwell K, Wood SJ and Oyebode F. (2016). Auditory verbal hallucinations in first-episode psychosis: a phenomenological investigation. British Journal of Psychiatry Open, 2(1), 88-95.

Marwaha S, Thompson A, Upthegrove R, Broome MR. 15 Years on- Early Intervention for a new generation. British Journal of Psychiatry 209 (3) 186-188

Upthegrove R, Marwaha S and Birchwood M. Depression and schizophrenia: cause, consequence or trans-diagnostic issue? Schizophrenia Bulletin doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbw097

Upthegrove R, Chard C, Jones L, Gordon –Smith K, Forty L, Jones I and Craddock N. (2015) Adverse Childhood Events and Psychosis in Bipolar Affective DisorderBritish Journal of Psychiatry 206 (3) 191-197.

Further publication details available here

View all publications in research portal


Consultant Psychiatrist and Academic with clinical and research expertise in psychosis and youth mental health.


  • First Episode Psychosis: Management and Novel interventions
  • Identification and Treatment of Co-morbid Mood disorder in severe mental illness
  • Self-Harm and Suicidal Behaviour in young people with psychosis

Policy experience

Research has informed NICE guidelines: Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults: prevention and management, and development of British Association for Psychopharmacology interventions for Schizophrenia. Rachel has also served as an expert panel member for the NCEPOD Mental Health: Treat as One document (http://www.ncepod.org.uk/2017mhgh.html