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John Suckling

John Suckling

Director of Research in Psychiatric Neuroimaging

Office Phone: (3)36063


John Suckling has been involved in imaging research for more than 25 years, initially with Positron Emission Tomography in the monitoring of tumours during chemotherapy, and in the implementation of image reconstruction techniques for over scanner geometries. After a period working for the UK National Breast Screening Programme on the automatic detection of soft-tissue masses he was seconded to Industry from UCL to work on advanced computer graphics for the teaching of anatomy and physiology, leading to award winning multimedia content that is still in use today in over 20 countries for patient, practitioner and student education. In 2013, over half a million students learnt anatomy using this software.

His interest in psychiatric imaging began in 1997 when he was employed by Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ medical school to develop and undertake analysis at the Institute of Psychiatry of data from the then newly arrived magnetic resonance imaging technology capable of acquiring blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) sensitive datasets: what is now known as functional MRI (fMRI). He also developed methods for structural MRI segmentation and randomization-based statistical inference that are still widely used in the field.


Departments and Institutes

Director of Research

Research Interests

John has over 200 peer-reviewed articles in medical image processing and psychiatric neuroimaging, including large-scale multicentre studies of autism spectrum condition, psychosis, drug addiction, and affective disorders. His current focus is on the neurobiological and neurodevelopmental bases for child and adolescent psychiatry with specific involvement of new neuroimaging techniques as a primary outcome variables for studies of brain development and maturation, characterization of psychopathologies, and for clinical trials of investigational medical products (CTIMPs).

In addition to his research activities, John is Chair of the University of Cambridge Psychology Research Ethics Committee that approves all non-patient studies of human behavior and cognitive neuroscience; some 150-200 application each year. He also teaches research ethics to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Key Publications

Publications 2015

Lisiecka DM, Holt R, Tait R, Ford M, Lai MC, Chura LR, Baron-Cohen S, Spencer MD, Suckling J (2015). Developmental white matter microstructure in autism phenotype and corresponding endophenotype during adolescence. Transl Psychiatry. 5: e529.

Lisiecka DM, Suckling J, Barnes TR, Chaudhry IB, Dazzan P, Husain N, Jones PB, Joyce EM, Lawrie SM, Upthegrove R, Deakin B (2015). The benefit of minocycline on negative symptoms in early-phase psychosis in addition to standard care - extent and mechanism (BeneMin): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 16: 580.

Hagan CC, Graham JM, Tait R, Widmer B, van Nieuwenhuizen AO, Ooi C, Whitaker KJ, Simas T, Bullmore ET, Lennox BR, Sahakian BJ, Goodyer IM, Suckling J (2015). Adolescents with current major depressive disorder show dissimilar patterns of age-related differences in ACC and thalamus. Neuroimage Clin. 7: 391-399.

Scoriels L, Salek RM, Goodby E, Grainger D, Dean AM, West JA, Griffin JL, Suckling J, Nathan PJ, Lennox BR, Murray GK, Bullmore ET, Jones PB (2015). Behavioural and molecular endophenotypes in psychotic disorders reveal heritable abnormalities in glutamatergic neurotransmission. Transl Psychiatry 5: e540.

Lisiecka DM, O'Hanlon E, Fagan AJ, Carballedo A, Morris D, Suckling J, Frodl T (2015). BDNF Val66Met polymorphism in patterns of neural activation in individuals with MDD and healthy controls. J Affect Disord 184: 239-244.

Hart M, Price SJ, Suckling J (2015). Preoperative Brain Mapping in Neuro-oncology With Graph Theory Analysis of the Functional Connectome. Neurosurgery. 62: 211.

Sahakian BJ, Bruhl AB, Cook J, Killikelly C, Savulich G, Piercy T, Hafizi S, Perez J, Fernandez-Egea E, Suckling J, Jones PB (2015). The impact of neuroscience on society: cognitive enhancement in neuropsychiatric disorders and in healthy people. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 370: 1677.

Paterson LM, Flechais RS, Murphy A, Reed LJ, Abbott S, Boyapati V, Elliott R, Erritzoe D, Ersche KD, Faluyi Y, Faravelli L, Fernandez-Egea E, Kalk NJ, Kuchibatla SS, McGonigle J, Metastasio A, Mick I, Nestor L, Orban C, Passetti F, Rabiner EA, Smith DG, Suckling J, Tait R, Taylor EM, Waldman AD, Robbins TW, Deakin JW, Nutt DJ, Lingford-Hughes AR; ICCAM Platform (2015). The Imperial College Cambridge Manchester (ICCAM) platform study: An experimental medicine platform for evaluating new drugs for relapse prevention in addiction. Part A: Study description. J Psychopharmacol. Aug 5 [Epub ahead of print].

Roman-Urrestarazu A, Lindholm P, Moilanen I, Kiviniemi V, Miettunen J, Jääskeläinen E, Mäki P, Hurtig T, Ebeling H, Barnett JH, Nikkinen J, Suckling J, Jones PB, Veijola J, Murray GK (2015). Brain structural deficits and working memory fMRI dysfunction in young adults who were diagnosed with ADHD in adolescence. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 26. [Epub ahead of print]

Simas T, Chattopadhyay S, Hagan C, Kundu P, Patel A, Holt R, Floris D, Graham J, Ooi C, Tait R, Spencer M, Baron-Cohen S, Sahakian B, Bullmore E, Goodyer I, Suckling J (2015). Semi-Metric Topology of the Human Connectome: Sensitivity and Specificity to Autism and Major Depressive Disorder. PLoS One. 10: e0136388