Professor David Nutt

Professor David Nutt

The Politics of Pleasure

David Nutt is currently the Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and Head of the Centre for Neuropsychopharmacology in the Division of Brain Sciences, Dept of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College London.

He received his undergraduate training in medicine at Cambridge and Guy's Hospital, and continued training in neurology to MRCP.  After completing his psychiatric training in Oxford, he continued there as a lecturer and then later as a Wellcome Senior Fellow in psychiatry. He then spent two years as Chief of the Section of Clinical Science in the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in NIH, Bethesda, USA. On returning to England in 1988 he set up the Psychopharmacology Unit in Bristol University, an interdisciplinary research grouping spanning the departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology before moving to Imperial College London in December 2008 where he leads a similar group with a particular focus on brain imaging especially PET.  

He is currently Chair of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and Past-President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), Vice-President of the European Brain Council and President of the British Neuroscience Association. In addition he is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians, of Psychiatrists and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is also the UK Director of the European Certificate and Masters in Affective Disorders Courses and a member of the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy. He has edited the Journal of Psychopharmacology for over a decade and acts as the psychiatry drugs advisor to the British National Formulary. He has published over 400 original research papers, a similar number of reviews and books chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 26 books.

Previously he has been member and Chair of the Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD – 1998-2009), President of the British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP), member of the HEFCE/NHS Senior Lecturer Selection Panel and member of the MRC Neuroscience Board.  Other previous national contributions include serving as the medical expert on the Independent Inquiry into the Misuse of Drugs Act (2000 Runciman report), and membership of the Committee on Safety of Medicines, the Committee on NHS drugs and the Ministry of Defence Science Advisory Board.  He was the clinical scientific lead on the 2004/5 UK Government Foresight initiative “Brain science, addiction and drugs” that provided a 25-year vision for this area of science and public policy and in 2006 he was Director of Bristol Neuroscience.  

He broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television including BBC and Channel 4 science and public affairs programmes on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their actions harms and their classification. His 2012 C4 programme “Ecstasy Live” was their highest rated programme ever in terms of viewer interaction. He also lecturers widely to the public as well as to the scientific and medical communities; for instance has presented three time at the Cheltenham Science and Hay Literary Festivals and several times for Café Scientifiques.  In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine voted him one of the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist in the list.

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