Dr Tom Russ

Reader in Old Age Psychiatry

  • Division of Psychiatry, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences
  • Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, PPLS
  • Neuroprogressive and Dementia Network, NHS Research Scotland

Contact details



Kennedy Tower
Royal Edinburgh Hospital
Morningside Terrace

Post code
EH10 5HF

Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre
7 George Square

Post code


  • I usually have clinical work on a Monday afternoon, some Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Friday mornings.


I trained in medicine and psychiatry in Edinburgh, the Highlands and London and work clinically with older people with dementia. My PhD was in dementia epidemiology. I am an honorary Consultant Psychiatrist (NHS Lothian), Network Champion of the Neuroprogressive and Dementia Research Network (NHS Research Scotland), and Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre (PPLS, University of Edinburgh).

I would like to encourage any students interested in dementia research, whether or not it happens to be in connection with an SSC block, to contact me about potential projects. I am or have recently supervised projects on temporal trends in dementia rates, music and dementia, and the concept of personhood in dementia so I’d be very pleased to hear from students whatever their focus of interest.


Bachelor of Science, University of Edinburgh: Medical Science with Honours in Psychology

Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, University of Edinburgh

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Edinburgh: An integrated investigation into dementia risk factors: insights from geography, record linkage, and individual participant meta-analysis

Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice , University of Edinburgh

Responsibilities & affiliations

Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland

Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, FRCPsych

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA

Associate Member of the Institute of Group Analysis

Certificate of Completion of Training in Old Age Psychiatry, CCT


Specialty Training Committee for Old Age Psychiatry, NHS Education for Scotland

Health Improvement, Protection and Services (HIPS) Research Committee, Chief Scientist Office

Medical Review Panel, Scottish Episcopal Church

Society, Religion, and Technology (SRT) Project, Church of Scotland

Medical Member, Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland

Dementia experts panel, Global Burden of Disease (GBD) collaborator network

World Young Leaders in Dementia

Scottish Philosophy and Psychiatry special interest group

Undergraduate teaching

Year 1 MB ChB Social and Ethical Aspects of Medicine, Medical Ethics, Legal, and Professional Responsibilities

Final Year MB ChB students on clinical placements in psychiatry

Developmental and Clinical Neuroscience (Honours)

Genetic and Environmental Influences on Behaviour and Mental Heath (Honours)

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised

Anna Bryan                       ACRC Academy                                   2021—      

Jonny Flint                          ACRC Academy                                    2021—      

Otto-Emil Jutila                 MRC                                                         2021—      

Sasha Lewis-Jackson      ACRC Academy                                   2022—      

Dr Donncha Mullin            Royal College of Psychiatrists      2020—    

Luisa Parkinson                ASDRC                                                   2018—      

Martha Pollard                  ASDRC                                                    2018—      

Rosie Vincent                       Alzheimer’s Society                          2020—      

Dr Katherine Walesby    ASDRC/CCACE                                     2015—

Past PhD students supervised

Dr Sahan Mendis*        ASDRC                                                        2019—       next steps: NHS

Helen Corby                   ESRC/SGSSS                                            2017–23     Postdoctoral researcher (UoE)

Jure Mur                          WT Translational Neuroscience      2019–23     Academia

Miles Welstead                Age UK                                                       2019–22     Postdoctoral researcher (UoE)

Stina Saunders               EPAD                                                           2017–22     Commercial research

Dr Ruth Sibbett                 ASDRC                                                       2013–19     Career break

Dr Lucy Stirland             PsySTAR                                                    2016–19     SCREDS Clinical Lecturer

Jude Gibson                    WT STRADL                                              2015–19     Withdrawn (health)

* Thesis to be submitted imminently, viva to be arranged

Primary supervisor

Research summary

I have been investigating geographical variation in dementia risk for a number of years and we have found substantial variation with increased risk in the north of Scotland, Sweden, and Italy, compared to the south. In Sweden, even after taking account of genetic effects, the risk of dementia was still two-to-three times higher in the north compared to the south which suggests an environmental effect. Therefore, I am now focusing on environmental risk factors for dementia, including air pollution and vitamin D deficiency (which relates to sunlight).

  • Dementia epidemiology, including geographical variation in dementia, environmental risk factors, and the life course approach
  • Psychological distress as a risk factor
  • Individual participant meta-analysis