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Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry

Interdisciplinary research hub focused on the interface between metabolic and mental health.

Project overview

The Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry is one of five new research hubs forming the basis of the UKRI mental health research platform, established to accelerate progress towards novel and more effective treatments for severe mental illness (SMI).

The Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry comprises a network of four universities: The University of Edinburgh, King’s College London, University of Bristol and University of Exeter, with generous co-funding from Baszucki Group, and partnered with The McPin Foundation. 

Across six workstreams, they aim to: 

  1. Bring together metabolic science and mental health researchers that previously have not worked closely together to increase research activity and capacity in metabolic psychiatry.
  2. Advance our understanding of the connection between metabolic and mental health.
  3. Work closely with people with lived experience to identify, prioritise, develop and test acceptable metabolism-based treatments for SMI.  

Project details

Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions that take place in the body to convert food to energy and building blocks and eliminate waste products.

When these chemical reactions do not occur as usual, metabolic conditions can arise, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  

There is growing evidence for a connection between metabolic and mental health.

People with SMI (severe mental illness) are more likely to develop obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

This could be as a result of symptoms, medications, reduced physical activity, changes in appetite etc., but there is research to suggest a bi-directional relationship between metabolic conditions and SMI.

There is also research showing that metabolism-based treatments, such as the ketogenic diet and certain medications (metformin, GLP-1 agonists, statins), may be effective in improving both metabolic and mental health outcomes in people with SMI.

However, such treatments with broad uptake in the general population may, as currently delivered, be unavailable or unacceptable to some people with SMI. 

The Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry will bring all this work together, taking a multidisciplinary approach to generate new knowledge on the connection between metabolic and mental health, develop acceptable metabolism-based treatments, and improve both metabolic and mental health outcomes in SMI.  

McPin will co-lead a programme of Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) across the Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry, alongside Iain Campbell at The University of Edinburgh.

The programme will involve the following: 

  • Establishment of a Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) comprising a group of people with lived experience of SMI and reduced metabolic health, representing diversity across age and intersecting marginalised identities. The LEAP will meet every three months to input into all activities across the six workstreams.  


  • Priority setting exercises for treatments in metabolic psychiatry and meaningful integration of the priorities of people with lived experience into the proposed research across the six workstreams. Qualitative research training will be provided to enable LEAP members to contribute to this process. 


  • The LEAP will also develop a Lived Experience Impact Score (LEIS), a scoring system which will rate the quality of lived experience involvement throughout the activities of each workstream. This will be based on factors such as the uptake of recommendations from the LEAP.  

Take a look at this UKRI blog, Accelerating research in severe mental illness, and visit the Hub for Metabolic Psychiatry for more information.  

You can also get in touch with [email protected] for more information.  


Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.