Mapping the neurocomputational landscape of obsessive compulsive disorder

Year of award: 2018


  • Dr Tobias Hauser

    University College London

Project summary

Patients with psychiatric conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), are diagnosed purely based on their symptoms. However, it is likely that what we call OCD is in fact an assembly of several distinct neural illnesses. The analogy is Parkinsonism, where entirely different conditions can cause the same symptoms. Knowing the underlying causes is critical if we want to develop targeted treatments for OCD.

I will explore neural disorders that underlie OCD. I will use multimodal neuroimaging, pharmacological manipulations, computational modelling and smartphone-based big data collection in people with OCD and healthy volunteers. These techniques will allow me to determine which neural deficits can cause OCD symptomatology, whether they form distinct subgroups in OCD and whether neurotransmitter drugs have the potential to treat these subgroups.

My findings will help us go beyond symptomatic disorder classification and help us advance towards more personalised treatments for OCD.