Professor Stephen Wood MA PhD

Professor Stephen Wood

School of Psychology
Honorary Professor of Adolescent Brain Development and Mental Health

Contact details

School of Psychology
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My research aims to understand the health paradox of adolescence - the years between 12 and 25 are a time of great physical fitness, yet this is the period during which 75% of all mental disorders have their onset. Why should this be the case? Clearly changes in the brain are likely culprits, but how they interact with genetic and environmental factors to produce illness is unclear.

The disorder I have spent most time investigating is schizophrenia, largely through the study of young people at very high risk of developing the disorder. I am now interested in understanding what predicts their functional outcome, and how abnormalities of specific brain networks can be corrected through psychological and pharmaceutical interventions.

Most of my work involves the interface between neuroimaging, cognitive science and psychiatry.


MA (Cantab), PhD


Born in Wales, grew up in Cardiff and rural Shropshire. Undergraduate degree at Cambridge, followed by PhD at the Institute of Child Health (University of London). Migrated to Australia in 1997, where I worked at the Mental Health Research Institute, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne. Returned to the UK to take up a position at Birmingham in mid-2010.


  • MRes/PhD Foundation course
  • Learning and abnormal psychology B: introduction to mental health and psychological problems


Youth mental health; Schizophrenia; Adolescent brain development; Vulnerability and resilience markers of severe mental illness


Fornito, Zalesky, Bassett, Meunier, Ellison-Wright, Yücel, Wood, Shaw, O’Connor, Nertney, Mowry, Pantelis, Bullmore (2011). Genetic influences on cost-efficient organization of human cortical functional networks. Journal of Neuroscience 31: 3261-3270

Gogtay, Vyas, Testa, Wood, Pantelis (2011). Age of onset of schizophrenia: Perspectives from structural neuroimaging studies. Schizophrenia Bulletin 37: 504-513

Mechelli, Riecher-Rössler, Meisenzahl, Tognin, Wood, Borgwardt, Koutsouleris, Yung, Stone, Phillips, McGorry, Valli, Velakoulis, Woolley, Pantelis, McGuire (2011). Neuroanatomical abnormalities that predate the onset of psychosis: A multi-centre study. Archives of General Psychiatry 68: 489-495

Olabi, Ellison-Wright, McIntosh, Wood, Bullmore, Lawrie (2011). Are there progressive brain changes in schizophrenia? A systematic review and meta-analysis of structural magnetic resonance imaging studies. BiologicalPsychiatry 70: 88-96

Wood, Yung, McGorry, Pantelis. Clinical staging in psychotic disorders: Evidence from neuroimaging and treatment studies. Biological Psychiatry (in press) 

Wood, Kennedy, Phillips, Seal, Yücel, Nelson, Yung, Jackson, McGorry, Velakoulis, Pantelis (2010). Hippocampal pathology in individuals at ultra-high risk for psychosis: A multi-modal magnetic resonance study. NeuroImage 52: 62-68

Yung, Nelson, Thompson, Wood (2010). Should a “Risk Syndrome for Psychosis” be included in the DSM-V? Schizophrenia Research 120: 7-15

Wood, Allen, Pantelis eds (2009). The Neuropsychology of Mental Illness, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK. 443pp

Pantelis, Wood, Proffitt, Testa, Mahony, Brewer, Buchanan, Velakoulis, McGorry (2009). Attentional set-shifting ability in first-episode and established schizophrenia: Relationship to working memory. Schizophrenia Research 112: 104-113

Wood, Pantelis, Velakoulis, Yücel, Fornito, McGorry (2008). Progressive changes in the development towards schizophrenia: studies in subjects at increased symptomatic risk. Schizophrenia Bulletin 34: 322-329

Chanen, Velakoulis, Carison, Gaunson, Wood, Yuen, Yücel, Jackson, McGorry, Pantelis (2008). Orbitofrontal, amygdala and hippocampal volumes in teenagers with first-presentation borderline personality disorder. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging Section 163: 116-125

Thompson, Wood, Doyle, Warfield, Lodygensky, Anderson, Egan, Inder (2008). Neonate hippocampal volumes: Prematurity, perinatal predictors & 2-year outcome. Annals of Neurology 63: 642-651

View all publications in research portal


Adolescent brain development and the onset of mental illness, with a focus on brain imaging and cognitive assessment; psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia; the biological study of youth mental health more generally

Related media experts

Alternative contact number available for this expert: contact the press office