Professor Stephen Lawrie

Chair of Psychiatry and Neuro-Imaging


Stephen MacGregor Lawrie is a Professor of Psychiatry in Edinburgh, mainly interested in early detection and the development of interventions to enhance outcomes and possibly even prevent psychosis, and remains clinically active in a geographically sectorised general adult psychiatry service. 

Leadership roles have included directing a regional autism diagnostic service, chairing a regional drug formulary, and running a national research network. As Head of Psychiatry from 2010-20, he oversaw an expansion of PIs and Profs in Psychiatry (which was rated 3rd in the UK in REF2014 and REF2021 with Neuroscience & Psychology). 

He has published more than 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals, many of which have been highly cited (Web of Science h-index >75, with >20,000 citations; Google Scholar >100 and >40, 000), including notable contributions using structural and functional brain imaging to predict schizophrenia, to elucidate the neurobiology of schizophrenia and develop multi-centre neuroimaging capabilities, as well as to the practice of evidence-based psychiatry. 

He has supervised more than 30 doctoral and 30 masters students to completion, including three now full Professors, and obtained PhD funding for another 60 or so through PsySTAR, Translational Neuroscience and other PhD programmes. In crude financial terms, his career PI/Co-PI grant income is >£80M. 

These achievements have been recognised in Fellowships of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. As a Beltane Public Engagement Fellow, he has made several appearances and contributions in various media to increase knowledge and reduce stigmatisation of mental illness, including shows on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has been profiled twice in The Lancet (2011 378:1911 & 2017 389:1090) and twice in The Lancet Psychiatry (2016 3:931 & 2018 5:e26).  He has published 7 books and recently co-authored ‘The Beginners Guide to Sanity: a self-help book for people affected by psychosis’ with Erica Crompton, which was shortlisted for the People’s Book prize. 

His main current preoccupations are co-producing a psychosis detection and management system in Malawi, and co-authoring the next edition of the OUP VSI to Schizophrenia.

Responsibilities & affiliations

Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS Lothian

Research tutor, SE Scotland Psychiatry Training Scheme

Editorial Board of six Journals including The Lancet Psychiatry

Field editor (Neuro-Imaging) for the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry

Regular reviewing etc for Wellcome, ERC etc

Research summary

Professor Lawrie’s overarching goal is to develop research tools to provide objective diagnoses and improve the management of major psychiatric disorder.

He is particularly interested in clinical applications of brain imaging in psychosis and in the development of novel treatments that might enhance outcomes in established schizophrenia and possibly even prevent psychosis in high risk populations.

Research activities

View all 37 activities on Research Explorer

View all 405 publications on Research Explorer