Barbara Jacquelyn SahakianWednesday, November 20, 2019
Barbara Jacquelyn Sahakian, FBA, FMedSci is Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology at the Department of Psychiatry and Medical Research Council (MRC)/Wellcome Trust Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute, University of Cambridge. She is also an Honorary Clinical Psychologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge. She has an international reputation in the fields of cognitive psychopharmacology, neuroethics, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry and neuroimaging.
Professor Sahakian is a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. She is currently President of the International Neuroethics Society (INS), of which she is a founder member. She is Past-President of the British Association for Psychopharmacology (BAP), having served as President from 2012 to 2014.
Sahakian completed her PhD in Psychopharmacology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Following this, Sahakian studied for a Diploma in Clinical Psychology and became a Chartered Psychologist.
Sahakian is best known for her work on cognitive enhancement using pharmacological treatments, early detection of Alzheimer's disease, cognition and depression and neuroethics. Sahakian's research is aimed at understanding the neural basis of cognitive, emotional and behavioural dysfunction to develop more effective pharmacological and psychological treatments. The focus of her lab is on early detection of neuropsychiatric disorders, differential diagnosis and proof of concept studies using cognitive enhancing drugs and cognitive training.
In her research, Sahakian uses techniques such as psychopharmacological, neuropsychological and neuroimaging (fMRI and PET). Key research areas for her group are Alzheimer's disease, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), substance abuse, depression and mania.
In 2007, Sahakian raised concerns regarding the ethics of using drugs intended to help dementia and Alzheimer's sufferers to instead enhance cognitive function in healthy people. In May 2014, Sahakian published an article on the subject of achieving brain health for a flourishing society within the next decade. In this article, she included a list of experts from a range of areas, including neuroscience, innovation and technology. Sahakian was asked to write this article for Sir John Beddington, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government.
Sahakian has published over 400 papers covering these topics in scientific journals, including many publications in the prestigious scientific and medical journals Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, The Lancet, and the British Medical Journal. She is an Associate Editor of Psychological Medicine. The ISI Web of Science database credits her with a Hirsch (h) Index of 100.
Sahakian is co-author of 'Bad Moves. How decision making goes wrong and the ethics of smart drugs', published by Oxford University Press in 2013. She is also co-editor of 'The Oxford Handbook of Neuroethics', published in 2011 by Oxford University Press.
In addition to her Presidencies of the BAP and INS, Sahakian is also on the council of the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology (CINP) and on the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Review Board. She is also a London Imperial Affiliated Professor and a Distinguished Research fellow at the University of Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Previously, Sahakian has been a member of the MRC Neurosciences and Mental Health Board (2006–2010) and a member of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Committee on Women in Neuroscience. Recently, a Royal Institution article named Barbara Sahakian amongst the top women in science.