Professor Rachel Upthegrove MBBS, FRCPsych, PhD

Professor Rachel Upthegrove

School of Psychology
Professor of Psychiatry and Youth Mental Health
Consultant Psychiatrist Early Intervention in Psychosis

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Rachel is Professor of 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 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 phases of developing mental ill health.


  • PhD Birmingham 2011
  • MPhil Birmingham 2001
  • FRCPsych 2017
  • MRCPsych 1999
  • MBBS University of London, Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine 1994


Rachel qualified from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine and after house officer and general medical SHO posts began training Psychiatry in Birmingham in the beginning of service developments for assertive community care. Rachel completed general and specialist adult psychiatry training working part time, whilst developing active research interests in Schizophrenia and First Episode Psychosis.

Postgraduate supervision

  • Carl Krynicki
  • Markella Griogoriou
  • Paris Lalousis
  • Rowena Jones
  • Margaret Hardiman
  • Emily Fisher


Neuroimmunology and Psychosis: Immune dysfunction, particularly low-grate inflammation could be causally linked to psychosis: our evidence suggests inflammation is present prior to psychosis onset and is unrelated to medication effects. Recent trials of anti-inflammatory agents in psychosis have yielded mixed results. Current research projects aim to identify the stage of illness and phenotypic profile of patients with psychosis that is related to aberrant immune function. Thus future trials of novel or repurposed agents may be conducted with a refined, targeted approach. 

Personalised Prognostic Tools for Early Psychosis Management. PRONIA EUFP7 funded PRONIA uses 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 is available via the Pronia website.

Depression in Schizophrenia: NIHR and EU funded research has developed the evidence base for the frequency, importance and prognostic implications of depression in First Episode Psychosis, including that of poor functional outcomes and increased risk of completed suicide. Recent meta-analysis led by this group confirm that antidepressants are effective for patients with schizophrenia and depression. Current projects will develop the evidence base for preventative interventions and whether stopping depression developing in the early phases of psychosis can improve a range of outcomes.

Research Groups and Centres:

Other activities

  • NIHR CRN Specialty Lead for the West Midlands
  • Council Member of the British Association for Psychopharmacology
  • Deputy Editor for the British Journal of Psychiatry


Highlight publications

PRONIA Consortium, Lalousis, PA, Schmaal, L, Wood, S, Reniers, R, Barnes, N, Chisholm, K, Griffiths, L, Stainton, A, Wen, J, Hwang, G, Davatzikos, C, Wenzel, J, Kambeitz-Ilankovic, L, Andreou, C, Bonivento, C, Dannlowski, U, Ferro, A, Liechtenstein, T, Riecher-Rössler, A, Romer, G, Rosen, M, Bertolino, A, Borgwardt, S, Brambilla, P, Kambeitz, J, Lencer, R, Pantelis, C, Ruhrmann, S, Salokangas, RKR, Schultze-Lutter, F, Schmidt, A, Meisenzahl, EM, Koutsouleris, N, Dwyer, D & Upthegrove, R 2022, 'Neurobiologically based stratification of recent-onset depression and psychosis: identification of two distinct transdiagnostic phenotypes', Biological Psychiatry, vol. 92, no. 7, pp. 552-562.

Upthegrove, R, Marwaha, S & Birchwood, M 2017, 'Depression and schizophrenia: cause, consequence or trans-diagnostic issue?', Schizophrenia bulletin, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 240-244.

PIMS collaboration 2022, 'Inflammation and brain structure in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric disorders: A Mendelian randomization study', JAMA psychiatry, vol. 2022, no. 5, pp. 1-11.

Morales-Munoz, I, Palmer, E, Mallikarjun, P, Marwaha, S & Upthegrove, R 2021, 'Persistent childhood and adolescent anxiety and risk for psychosis: a longitudinal birth cohort study', Biological Psychiatry.

PRONIA Consortium 2020, 'The psychopathology and neuroanatomical markers of depression in early psychosis', Schizophrenia bulletin, vol. 2020, sbaa094.

Recent publications


Griffiths, SL, Bogatsu, T, Longhi, M, Butler, E, Alexander, B, Bandawar, M, Everard, L, Jones, PB, Fowler, D, Hodgekins, J, Amos, T, Freemantle, N, McCrone, P, Singh, SP, Birchwood, M & Upthegrove, R 2023, 'Five-year illness trajectories across racial groups in the UK following a first episode psychosis', Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Morales-Muñoz, I, Mallikarjun, PK, Chandan, JS, Thayakaran, R, Upthegrove, R & Marwaha, S 2023, 'Impact of anxiety and depression across childhood and adolescence on adverse outcomes in young adulthood: a UK birth cohort study', British Journal of Psychiatry , pp. 1-9.

Osimo, EF, Perry, BI, Mallikarjun, P, Prichard, M, Lewis, J, Katunda, A, Murray , GK, Perez, J, Jones, P, Cardinal, RN, Howes, OD, Upthegrove, R & Khandaker, G 2023, 'Predicting treatment resistance from first-episode psychosis using routinely collected clinical information', Nature Mental Health, vol. 1, pp. 25-35.

Morales-Muñoz, I, Upthegrove, R, Lawrence, K, Thayakaran, R, Kooij, S, Gregory, AM & Marwaha, S 2023, 'The role of inflammation in the prospective associations between early childhood sleep problems and ADHD at 10 years: findings from a UK birth cohort study', Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Shields, GE, Buck, D, Varese, F, Yung, AR, Thompson, A, Husain, N, Broome, MR, Upthegrove, R, Byrne, R & Davies, LM 2022, 'A review of economic evaluations of health care for people at risk of psychosis and for first-episode psychosis', BMC Psychiatry, vol. 22, no. 1, 126.

the PRONIA consortium 2022, 'Clinical, brain, and multilevel clustering in early psychosis and affective stages', JAMA psychiatry, vol. 79, no. 7, pp. 677-689.

Watson, AJ, Giordano, A, Suckling, J, Barnes, TRE, Husain, N, Jones, PB, Krynicki, CR, Lawrie, SM, Lewis, S, Nikkheslat, N, Pariante, CM, Upthegrove, R, Deakin, B, Dazzan, P & Joyce, EM 2022, 'Cognitive function in early-phase schizophrenia-spectrum disorder: IQ subtypes, brain volume and immune markers', Psychological Medicine.

Rosen, M, Betz, LT, Kaiser, N, Penzel, N, Dwyer, D, Lichtenstein, TK, Schultze-Lutter, F, Kambeitz-Ilankovic, L, Bertolino, A, Borgwardt, S, Brambilla, P, Lencer, R, Meisenzahl, E, Pantelis, C, Salokangas, RKR, Upthegrove, R, Wood, S, Ruhrmann, S, Koutsouleris, N & Kambeitz, J 2022, 'Detailed clinical phenotyping and generalisability in prognostic models of functioning in at-risk populations', British Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 220, no. 6, pp. 318-321.

Jones, R, Upthegrove, R, Price, M, Pritchard, M, Chandan, J, Legge , S & MacCabe, J 2022, 'Duration of prior psychotic illness and clozapine response: a retrospective observational study using electronic health records', Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology, vol. 12, pp. 1-12.

Perry, BI, Bowker, N, Burgess, S, Wareham, NJ, Upthegrove, R, Jones, P, Khandaker, GM & Langenberg, C 2022, 'Evidence for shared genetic aetiology between schizophrenia, cardiometabolic and inflammation related traits: genetic correlation and colocalization analyses', Schizophrenia Bulletin Open, vol. 3, no. 1, sgac001.

Haas, SS, Doucet, GE, Antoniades, M, Modabbernia, A, Corcoran, CM, Kahn, RS, Kambeitz, J, Kambeitz-Ilankovic, L, Borgwardt, S, Brambilla, P, Upthegrove, R, Wood, SJ, Salokangas, RKR, Hietala, J, Meisenzahl, E, Koutsouleris, N & Frangou, S 2022, 'Evidence of discontinuity between psychosis-risk and non-clinical samples in the neuroanatomical correlates of social function', Schizophrenia Research: Cognition, vol. 29, 100252.

Koutsouleris, N, Pantelis, C, Velakoulis, D, Mcguire, P, Dwyer, DB, Urquijo-Castro, MF, Paul, R, Dong, S, Popovic, D, Oeztuerk, O, Kambeitz, J, Salokangas, RKR, Hietala, J, Bertolino, A, Brambilla, P, Upthegrove, R, Wood, SJ, Lencer, R, Borgwardt, S, Maj, C, Nöthen, M, Degenhardt, F, Polyakova, M, Mueller, K, Villringer, A, Danek, A, Fassbender, K, Fliessbach, K, Jahn, H, Kornhuber, J, Landwehrmeyer, B, Anderl-Straub, S, Prudlo, J, Synofzik, M, Wiltfang, J, Riedl, L, Diehl-Schmid, J, Otto, M, Meisenzahl, E, Falkai, P & Schroeter, ML 2022, 'Exploring links between psychosis and frontotemporal dementia using multimodal machine learning: Dementia Praecox revisited', JAMA psychiatry, vol. 79, no. 9, pp. 907-919.

Upthegrove, R 2022, 'From co-morbidity to transdiagnostic potential and novel immunotherapies for psychosis', Psychiatry Research, vol. 317, 114866.

Review article

Griffiths, SL, Lalousis, PA, Wood, SJ & Upthegrove, R 2022, 'Heterogeneity in treatment outcomes and incomplete recovery in first episode psychosis: does one size fit all?', Translational Psychiatry, vol. 12, no. 1, 485.

Dunleavy, C, Elsworthy, RJ, Upthegrove, R, Wood, SJ & Aldred, S 2022, 'Inflammation in first-episode psychosis: The contribution of inflammatory biomarkers to the emergence of negative symptoms, a systematic review and meta-analysis', Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, vol. 146, no. 1, pp. 6-20.

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