Centre for In Vivo Imaging

Staff Profiles

Professor Hamish McAllister-Williams

Professor of Affective Disorders



I am a clinical academic general adult Psychiatrist with a specific interest in mood disorders. 

Academically, I am Professor of Affective Disorders and lead the mood disorders research group.  I am also Joint Lead of the Mental Health, Dementia and Neurodegeneration (MHDN) Research Theme in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

Clinically I work in the highly specialised Regional Affective Disorders Service (RADS), based in the Cumbria, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), that provides tertiary level input to patients with complex and/or difficult to treat mood disorders.  I am also the Deputy Medical Director for Research in the CNTW Trust.

I lead the Northern Centre for Mood Disorders (NCMD) which is a collaboration between CNTW and Newcastle University.  The aims of NCMD are to enhance research and education related to mood disorders. As part of this collaboration I led the development of an on-line resource, Northern Mental Health, to help support people's mental health initially during the COVID pandemic and beyond. 


B.Sc. 1984. Pharmacology, University of Edinburgh

M.B., Ch.B. 1987. University of Edinburgh

Ph.D. 1993. Neuropharmacology, University of Edinburgh

M.R.C.Psych. 1995

M.D. 2004. Newcastle University

F.R.C.Psych. 2007


Previous Positions

1988 - 1992: Wellcome Clinical Research Fellow, Pharmacology, University of Edinburgh.

1992 - 1994: SHO, Lothian Psychiatric Training Rotation.

1994 - 1995: Registrar, South East Scotland Psychiatric Training Rotation.

1995 - 1999: Clinical Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

1999 - 2003: MRC Clinical Scientist Fellow at Senior Lecturer level, Newcastle University.

2003 – 2004: Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, Newcastle University

2004 – 2017: Reader in Clinical Psychopharmacology, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University

2017 onwards: Professor of Affective Disorders


Member of the British Medical Association.
Member of the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland.
Member of the British Association for Psychopharmacology.
Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Member of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Member of the Society for Biological Psychiatry

Roles and Responsibilities

2000 – 2013:      Executive Committee Member, Special Interest Group in Psychopharmacology, Royal College of Psychiatrists.

2000 - 2008:       Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust, Medicines Management Committee (Vice-Chairman from 2002 and Chair from 2004).

2001 - 2005:       Academic Secretary, Royal College of Psychiatrist, Northern and Yorkshire Division.

2002 - 2005:       Medical Research Council Advisory Board

2002:                  Health Service Ombudsman External Clinical Assessor

2003 - 2004:       Programme Director for Royal College of Psychiatrists Annual Meeting 2004

2004 – 2007:      Elected Council Member, British Association of Psychopharmacology

2005 - 2009:       Academic Secretary, Faculty of General and Community Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists

2007 – 2011:       Honorary General Secretary and Education Officer, British Association for Psychopharmacology

2008 – 2010:       Member, MHRN Industry Adoption Committee

2010 – 2011:       Member, MRC Panel of Medical Research Foundation's mental Health Clinical research training fellowship programme

2010 -Present:    Member, Organising Committee, Royal College of Psychiatrists’ International Congress: Brighton 2011; Liverpool 2012; Edinburgh 2013; London 2014; Birmingham 2015, London 2016, Edinburgh 2017, Birmingham 2018, London 2019, Edinburgh 2020

2010 -2015:        Associate Editor, Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology

2011 - 2017:       Member, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Membership Committee

2011 - 2020:       Member, Executive Committee, Academic Faculty, Royal College of Psychiatrists

2012 - Present:   Director of Education, British Association for Psychopharmacology

2012 – 2019:       Member, Wellcome Trust's Peer Review College

2013 – 2015:       Member, Department of Health Clinical Reference Group member for Specialist Mental Health Services

2013 – 2017:       Member, MRC Clinical Training & Career Development Panel

2014 – Present:  Appointed Member, Royal College of Psychiatrists Special Committee on Psychopharmacology

2014 – 2017:       Member European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Education Committee

2015 – Present   Elected Fellow of the European College of Nuropsychopharmacology

2018 – 2019:       Chair, Data Monitoring Committee, PREDICT study

2018 - 2020:        UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Panel Member

2019 – Present:  Appointed Member, Royal College of Psychiatrists Special Committee on ECT

2021 - Present:   Chair, Trial Steering Committee, SNAPPER study 


Research Interests

I lead a research group with a focus on mood disorders research across the life span.  We focus on studying the pathophysiology and phenotype of mood disorders, with developing expertise in the assessment of treatment and stratification biomarkers, including cognition, activity, social interaction, sleep and neuroimaging.  The group has an extensive track record in clinical trials, particularly of pharmacological and neuromodulatory treatments.  Currently, the group runs six MRC/NIHR, and two industry-funded multicentre trials, mainly in difficult to treat depression – both bipolar and unipolar.  ‘Patient and Public Involvement’ (PPI) structures are well established with over 800 individuals interested in taking part in research either as participants or as members of study teams.  The group’s recent success has been in part due to collaborative links with other major UK mood disorders research groups, including via the NIHR funded Translational Research Collaboration in Mental Health. 


I have previously been supported through a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellowship and an MRC Clinician Scientist Fellowship. I have had grants from the Nuffield Foundation, Newcastle University Hospital Special Trustess and Industry. Current funding includes awards from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment (HTA) panel and the NIHR/MRC Efficacy and Mechanism (EME) Panel. 



1995 - Present     Lecturer, tutor and research supervisor, Newcastle University

Medical undergraduates.  Affective disorders, psychopharmacology.  Personal Tutor.

Psychology undergraduates:  Supervise on average 2 students projects per year



1996 – 2012:      Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.  Psychopharmacology


2006 – Present    MRes degree

                           Module Organiser (from 2007-2016):  The biological basis of psychiatric illness

                           Lectures on:  Psychiatric illness; Pathophysiology; Examining monoamines in man; Exam preparation

                           Research project supervisor:  19 students since 2005.  All passed, 10 with distinctions in their projects and all others with merits.  One student won the year prize for his project in 2010.


2005 – Present    MPhil supervisor

                           3 completed on time.


1996 – Present    PhD supervisor

                           6 completed PhDs (Mei-See Man, Allan Hsu, Hamid Alhaj, Andy Hanson, Andy Bradley, Rachel Moss).  1 non-completion. 1 current student (Sophie Walker)


1995 – Present    MRCPsych. Course, Health Education North East

Module Organiser (since 2012):  Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology. 

Additional Lectures on:  Affective disorders, anxiety disorders, critical appraisal.


2004 – Present    Higher Specialist Trainee Educational Supervisor


Continuing Professional Development

1995 – Present    Lecturer on a variety of industry sponsored Continuing Medical Education events for GPs, psychiatric nurses, pharmacists and psychiatrists, including international meetings.

Subjects include the treatment and neurobiology of depression and bipolar disorder, sleep, anxiety disorders and pharmacogenetics.


1996 - Present    Lecturer and Course organiser, British Association of Psychopharmacology.

                          (NB – the BAP is the leading independent source of psychopharmacology CPD in the UK)

Certificate in Psychopharmacology Course (organiser since 2012):  “Neurobiology of depression”; “Treatment refractory depression”.

Masterclasses (Organiser since 2007):  “Acute Mania”; “Treatment refractory Depression”

In 2012 appointed Director of Education of BAP

Lead on development of BAP on-line CPD

Joint editor of: Fundamentals in Clinical Psychopharmacology, 4th Edition, 2015

Awarded first prize in Psychiatry at the 2016 BMA Book Awards (out of around 50 books).  Translated into Portuguese 2018.


2009 - 2019        Lecturer, European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Summer School, Oxford. “Antidepressants, Clinical Pharmacology”.

(This summer school is for senior trainee/young consultants across Europe who are recommended by their national societies as future leaders in the field)