Robb Rutledge awarded MRC Career Development Award
Robb Rutledge, cognitive and computational neuroscientist based at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research, has been awarded an MRC Career Development Award to study the effects of depression.
Rutledge recently showed that it is possible to predict momentary subjective states like happiness. In 2014, his team published a report showing that happiness depends not on how well people are doing, but on whether they are doing better than expected. This result was replicated on a large scale using a smartphone app with over 18,000 users worldwide. His research has also demonstrated that happiness can be manipulated with dopaminergic drugs and related to neural activity in dopamine projection areas measured with neuroimaging.
The prestigious 5-year fellowship supports talented post-doctoral researchers to lead their own research plans and establish their own research team to make the transition from post-doctoral researcher to independent investigator. Research supported by the MRC Career Development Award will ask if an improved understanding of mood and its relation to behavior can be used to better understand how depression arises. His research will examine the neural circuits that determine mood in depressed individuals, and assess previously depressed individuals longitudinally to try to predict which individuals are most likely to become depressed again.
Collaborators for this research include Professor Peter Dayan (UCL Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit) and Dr Roland Zahn (King’s College London).