Professor Barbara Sahakian

Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge

Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge

Professor Sahakian's research is aimed at understanding the neural basis of cognitive, emotional and behavioural dysfunction in order to develop more effective pharmacological and psychological treatments. The focus of her lab is on early detection, differential diagnosis and proof of concept studies using cognitive enhancing drugs. This research utilises neuropsychological tests, such as the CANTAB tests, which she co-invented and a focus remains on the development of novel tests.

Current study participants include healthy volunteers and patient groups with brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder, substance abuse, depression and mania. Techniques used include psychopharmacological, neuropsychological, neuroimaging (fMRI and PET) and genetic ones. Results from recent studies of ecstasy use and cognitive enhancement using methylphenidate, modafinil and atomoxetine have led to an interest in pharmacogenomics and neuroethics.

See here for Barbara's the article written for Sir John Beddington, former Government Chief Scientific Adviser, on the subject of achieving brain health for a flourishing society within the next decade.

In the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024, Barbara Sahakian was honoured with the title of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in recognition of her services to Research in Human Cognitive Processes.

  • 2 December 2014

    Professional Development Policy Workshop for Behavioural Scientists

    In partnership with Cambridge Neuroscience, the Centre for Science and Policy is organising a workshop for early career researchers in neuroscience and behavioural sciences at the University of Cambridge. This event will take place at Downing College on the 2 December 2014.

  • 15 March 2011

    Research, policy and practice for innovation in the high-tech economy

    Discussions on research, policy and practice for innovation in the high-tech economy between researchers, policy makers and practitioners of innovation in Cambridge and Massachusetts, as part of the State Governor of Massachusetts Innovation Economy Mission to the UK