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Dr Will Lawn
1-19 Torrington Place
Dr Will Lawn profile picture
  • Research Associate
  • Clinical, Edu & Hlth Psychology
  • Div of Psychology & Lang Sciences
  • Faculty of Brain Sciences

I received my undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge in Natural Sciences (Experimental Psychology). I then completed my PhD with Prof Val Curran and Prof Celia Morgan here at UCL, in the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit. During my PhD research, I studied the relationships between nicotine and cannabis addictions and reward processing perturbations. In my PhD, I employed various techniques including novel behavioural tasks, functional MRI and pharmacological manipulation. During this time, I also worked with Dr Gill Bedi at Columbia University’s Psychiatric Institute on a Bogue scholarship and I regularly collaborated with Prof Adam Winstock on his Global Drug Survey data. Subsequently, I ran the London site for the KARE clinical trial for 1.5 years, in which we tested whether ketamine can help treat alcohol dependence. Since late 2018 I have jointly run the CannTeen project, investigating the differential harm of cannabis in teenagers and adults.

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

I am currently working as a post-doctoral research associate on a project investigating the long-term effects of cannabis use in adolescents and adults on mental health, cognition and brain function. My main area of interest is teenage cannabis dependence, and why teenagers are more vulnerable to developing it compared to adults. I am also interested in the neural substrates of drug-related decision-making; theories of addiction, especially the strengths and weaknesses of brain disease models of addiction; and the application of psychedelic drugs in treating addiction.

Teaching Summary

I teach one-off lectures about addiction, reward processing and psychopharmacology on the 3rd year Psychology course (Clinical Psychology module), the 3rd year Neuroscience/Pharmacology course (Psychopharmacology module), and the Brain Sciences MRes course (Contemporary Topics in Brain Sciences module). I also give a lecture at King’s College on their Addiction Studies MSc course.

I supervise a number of undergraduate and post-graduate students on their research projects each year. Additionally, I am helping to supervise a PhD student based at Cambridge, who is focusing on reward processing alterations in cannabis users.

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