Professor David Linden


Research group:
+44(0)29 2087 6785
CUBRIC, Maindy Road

Research summary

1) Biomarkers for mental disorders
Mental disorders are defined at the level of phenotypes/ clinical presentation but relatively little is known about the underlying biological mechanisms. At the same time, there is a huge interest in biomarkers of mental disorders such as schizophrenia to improve diagnosis and treatment monitoring. We aim to identify such biomarkers by combining the tools of cognitive neuroscience (behavioural paradigms, functional imaging, non-invasive electrophysiology) with molecular genetics, for example using the genetic variants identified in genome-wide association studies. This research programme is embedded in the activities of the University’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI). We also collaborate with the Schizophrenia Research Groups at the Dept. of Psychiatry, Frankfurt University Medical School and at Erasmus Medical College, Rotterdam.

2) Neurobiology of cognition/emotion interactions
Our cognitive performance is greatly influenced by the emotional salience of the processed material and our motivational states. We investigate such emotion-cognition interactions in the domain of visual working memory, focusing on threat-cues such as angry faces. We combine behavioural and imaging techniques with molecular genetics, pharmacology and patient studies (e.g. in Parkinson’s disease). This research is funded by a BBSRC grant in conjunction with Bangor University (Prof Jane Raymond, Dr John Hindle, Dr Margaret Jackson).

3) Social cognitive neuroscience
Humans are prototypically social animals. One aspect of our social fabric is that we constantly compare ourselves with other conspecifics. We investigate the neural mechanisms and consequences of such comparisons on judgements and decision making with behavioural, imaging and genetic methods. This research is funded by a bilateral ESRC/DFG grant in conjunction with Cologne University (Prof Thomas Mussweiler, Dr Gayannee Kedia). Local collaborator is Dr Niklas Ihssen. We also collaborate with the Social Cognition and Affective Neuroscience group at the Dept. of Psychiatry of the Charite Medical School, Berlin (Dr Ullrich Wagner, Prof Henrik Walter).

4) Clinical applications of functional imaging
We develop protocols for the clinical application of real-time fMRI. Through this method patients can be trained in the self-regulation of brain networks, which may help overcome dysfunctional or impaired physiological processes. We are piloting this technique in affective disorders, movement disorders and addiction. This work is partly funded by a NIHSCR PhD studentship to Isabelle Habes. We collaborate with Maastricht University (Prof Rainer Goebel, Dr Bettina Sorger) and Bangor University (Prof Miles Cox).

Other research helps to understand how social values get translated into action. This research is being undertaken in collaboration with colleagues in the Values in Action (ViA) Centre, at Cardiff University.

Teaching summary

Biological Psychiatry
Clinical applications of functional imaging

Selected publications (2014 onwards)


Full list of publications



NISCHR, MRC, Wellcome Trust, European Commission

Research group

Neurofeedback/ Brain-Computer Interface Research Group
Dr Leena Subramanian
Dr Joseph Whittaker
Angharad Williams

Genetic Imaging/ Behavioural Genetics Research Group
(in collaboration with the National Centre for Mental Health, Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute and DEFINE Wellcome Trust Strategic Award)
Kali Barawi 
Dr Stavros Dimitriadis
Dr Mark Drakesmith
Dr Thomas Lancaster

Research collaborators

Within Cardiff University:
Psychology: Prof Krish Singh, Prof Derek Jones, Prof Greg Maio, Dr Xavier Caseras, Dr Paul Keedwell, Dr John Evans, Dr Gavin Perry
Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neuroscience: Prof Mike Owen, Prof Julie Williams, Prof Mike O’Donovan, Prof Nick Craddock, Prof David Healy, Prof Peter Holmans, Dr Andrew Pocklington, Dr Stan Zammit, Prof Anne Rosser, Prof Jeremy Hall, Dr Stefanie Linden

Other UK Universities:
Bangor University: Prof Miles Cox, Dr Christoph Klein
Birmingham University: Prof Jane Raymond, Prof Kimron Shapiro
University College London: Dr Nikolaus Weiskopf, Prof Huw Morris
Kings College London: Dr Jennifer Lau, Dr Kathrin Cohen-Kadosh
Aberdeen University: Dr Margaret Jackson
Swansea University: Dr Stephen Johnston
City University London: Dr Corinna Haenschel
University of East London: Prof Duncan Turner
Durham University: Dr Niklas Ihssen

Maastricht University, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Cologne University, Humboldt University Berlin, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University Frankfurt, University of Coimbra, Twente University, University of Tuebingen, University of Tel Aviv

Postgraduate research interests

Genetic imaging
Behavioural pharmacology
Cognitive neuroscience

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application here.

Current students

George Zacharopoulos
Jilu Mole
David Mehler
Clara Humpston
Ana Isabel Silva

Clinical Fellows (co-supervision)
Dr Tobias Bracht
Dr Joanne Doherty
Dr Duncan McLauchlan
Dr Judith Harrison

Undergraduate education

Medicine, Classics, Philosophy

Postgraduate education

History of Medicine/Classics (D.Phil., University of Oxford, 2000)
Neuroscience ( University of Frankfurt, 1999)
Philosophy (Dr.phil. University of Osnabrueck, 1992)

Awards/external committees

Member of Young Academy, Berlin, Germany, 2003-2008


Cardiff University since 2011: Professor of Translational Neuroscience (joint appointment between Dept. of Psychological Medicine & Neurology and School of Psychology) and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist (special interest: Neuropsychiatry)

Bangor University 2004-2010