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Dr Marc Serfaty
6th Floor Maple House,
149 Tottenham Court Road,
W1T 7NF.
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7679 9712
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7679 9426
  • Reader in Psychiatry
  • Division of Psychiatry
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

Dr Serfaty's academic career started at St Andrews University (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk) where he completed an intercalated BSc (Hons) in Medical Sciences (physiology) (1978-1982). His clinical training (MBChB) was at Manchester University (http://www.manchester.ac.uk) (1982-1985), working as a houseman and then as a lecturer in Anatomy for a year. He started his career in Psychiatry at Edinburgh University (http://www.edinburgh.ac.uk), as a rotational registrar (1987-1991) and completed an MPhil investigating benzodiazepine suicides and parasuicides. Whilst working as a senior Registrar and Lecturer in Psychiatry during his clinical training at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (http://www.newcastle.ac.uk) (1991-1996), he also trained as a CBT therapist at the Newcastle Cognitive Therapy centre training programme and obtained a distinction (Certificate in CBT). He is accredited by the British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapists (BABCP accred). During his time at UCL (www.ucl.ac.uk) (1996-2013) as a Clinical Senior Lecturer, he completed a Doctorate (MD Res) titled: “The use of melatonin for sleep disturbance in depression and dementia.” More recently (2013) he has been promoted to clinical reader in Psychiatry

Dr Serfaty's current clinical post is at the Priory Hospital North London (PHNL). PHNL is part of an independent health care organisation which also funds one of the only clinical academic posts in the UK. He established the PHNL to be a teaching hospital, with students being posted there from UCL. He is lead Consultant for day care at the PHNL, where he supervises CBT therapists and psychology students in their practice. He has over 26 years of experience in psychiatry and his main clinical interest is in mood and anxiety disorders.

At UCL Dr Serfaty has a teaching role.  He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) with a diploma in teaching. He has extensively contributed to both under and post graduate medical training and is an examiner for UCL.

Research Themes
Research Summary

Dr Serfaty has undertaken a number of funded RCTs using CBT in a variety of groups, especially those who may be neglected from receiving help; older people, cancer patients, eating disorders, people with intellectual disabilities and those with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and victims of crime.

Dr Serfaty's was one of the first people to test CBT for anorexia nervosa and findings informed NICE guidelines. He also explored whether CBT, delivered by email would be helpful in bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. He pioneered the first RCT to compare CBT with a complementary therapy called aromatherapy massage. His internationally recognised trial of CBT in older people, demonstrated that not only was individual CBT effective in this group, but dispelled the prejudice that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, by demonstrating an improvement was not attributed to common, non specific factors in therapy, but rather specific CBT techniques. Other work includes, the Helping Aged Victims of Crime (HAVoC) study, investigating the impact of crime on older people and whether a cognitive behaviourally based Victim Improvement Package (VIP).  Results appear promising with more work planned. Dr Serfaty has conducted pilot work with Dr Hassiotis (UCL) determining how CBT, using a more cognitive elements than previously researched, could be delivered to people with Intellectual Difficulties. This study generated promising results. Dr Serfaty worked with Dr Veale to investigate the use of CBT in Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Currently Dr Serfaty is leading on a national UK study investigating the clinical and cost effectiveness of CBT in people with advanced cancer and depression. Finally, now that he has trained as a therapist in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), he will be leading a trial piloting a third wave CBT, ACT in people with cancer in palliative care. Further research is planned in neurology, older victims of crime and generalised anxiety disorder.

Dr Serfaty's interest in melatonin and sleep disturbance arose from a clinical Doctorate (MD Res); “The use of melatonin for sleep disturbance in dementia and depression depression”. The first trial was the first randomised trial to investigate the use of slow release melatonin 5mg orally, in people with dementia and sleep disturbance, using wrist actigraphy as an objective measure of sleep. This cross-over design demonstrated a more robust method of investigating the effects of melatonin.  Even though findings were negative, it was an important challenge to proponents for the use of melatonin.  Another RCT using slow release melatonin 5mg, in people in depression, suggests that melatonin, which is not subject to patent, may be antidepressant and that it may be as effective as melatonin agonists, currently being promoted by a number of pharmaceutical companies.

Teaching Summary

Dr Serfaty is an accredited teacher and Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Post graduate teaching: (i) 1996-2006. He set up and organized the MRCPsych Academic training programme for post graduate psychiatric trainees. The training programme was developed to be consistent with the syllabus detailed by the Royal college of psychiatrists and was regarded as one of the best academic training programmes for psychiatry in the UK which achieved consistently high pass rates on the theory papers for candidates sitting the MRCPsych exam. Elements of this are still used as the template for the MRCPsych course at UCL. (ii) He wasresponsible for the psychotherapy academic programme on the MRCPsych course, where he introduced novel and up to date psychotherapeutic interventions onto the training programme, including interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). (iii) He has consistently achieved extremely high ratings for teaching on the MRCPsych course, with comments such as exhilarating and best lecture this year.

Undergraduate teaching: (iv) Dr Serfaty is the academic tutor for 4 medical students sent to the Priory Hospital North London from the UCL medical student rotation, having set up the undergraduate training package for medical students, which has consistently received high ratings through independent on line feedback.

Dr Serfaty has a liaison role between UCL and Priory group, an independent health care provider. Delivering medical education in Primary care: He conducts regular lectures in primary care to GPs and to GP training schemes on behalf of UCL and PHNL. Talks have included seminars on CBT for depression, anxiety and panic, CBT for Cancer, Sleep problems, CBT for eating disorders and obesity, Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT) and work related stress. These seminars consistently achieve high ratings and disseminate findings from research at UCL.

01-OCT-2013 Clinical Reader in Psychiatry Mental Health Unit UCL, United Kingdom
01-APR-1996 – 30-SEP-2013 Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry Research Department of Mental Health Sciences UCL, United Kingdom
01-APR-1996 Consultant Psychiatrist Priory Hospital North London Priory Group, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2006 MD Doctor of Medicine – Psychiatry/Medicine University College London
1999 Dip. Diploma – Education Not stated
1993 Cert. Certificate – Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Newcastle University
1993 M.Phil Master of Philosophy – Psychiatry University of Edinburgh
1991 MRCPsych Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Psychiatry Royal College of Psychiatrists
1985 MB.ChB Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – Clinical Medicine University of Manchester
1982 BSc Hons Bachelor of Science (Honours) – Medical Sciences University of St Andrews
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