CL in Psychiatry - Old Age
Dr Ivan Koychev (2017)
Pathway to a CL position
I have been involved with research throughout my medical education and career. My focus has consistently been on developing efficient proof-of-concept experimental medicine methodologies in the context of major psychiatric disorders.
During my PhD at the University of Manchester I worked with surrogate populations (e.g. schizotypy instead of schizophrenia patients) to test novel therapies. I went on to test a re-purposed compound in schizophrenia using mechanistic outcome measures during my Academic Clinical Fellowship (ACF), which I did at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. I have carried my interest in clinical trials into the field of Alzheimer’s disease and, as an NIHR Clinical Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, I currently work on developing a range of biomarkers of the disease process to be used as outcome measures in adaptive clinical trials in preclinical or prodromal disease.
What does the work involve?
Academically I work as part of Professor Simon Lovestone’s Translational Neuroscience and Dementia group as the Oxford Site Lead for large observational studies of Alzheimer’s Disease (MRC-funded Deep and Frequent Phenotyping (DFP) study and Alzheimer’s Society-sponsored PREVENT study). In these roles I have been coordinating local R&D and ethical approval applications, contracts and approval process where testing is done at a different site (e.g. MRI and PET scanning, ophtalmological assessments).
I am also:
- an investigator with the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (EPAD) platform, which has allowed me to be part of the design and set-up of an adaptive clinical trial that aims to deploy novel compounds to the cohort recruited in EPAD (trial due to start in 2019).
- the PI of a sub-study deploying mobile technology to the PREVENT Oxford cohort. The technologies include a smartphone application and indoor localisation technology (using smartwatches and Bluetooth beacons) that I have been developing with engineers and clinicians as part of the DFP Wearable Technology workgroup.
- in my role as Site Lead and PI, supervising nurses working at the Oxford Health’s Clinical Research Facility as well as research assistants working on the observational studies.
More recently I have been working as a Clinician Scientist for the MRC Dementias Platform UK where I am tasked with creating a Clinical Studies Register allowing re-contact of research cohort patients for clinical studies in preclinical or prodromal dementia.
Clinically I have been working in Old Age and General Adult Psychiatry placements in Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. I also have a specialist interest clinic in Neuropsychiatry that takes place at the Department of Neuroscience of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with Dr David Okai.
The Department of Psychiatry of Oxford is one of the main UK centres for psychiatry researchers and is now home to some of the leading academics in dementia. My supervisor Professor Simon Lovestone was recently honoured with a knighthood based on his Alzheimer’s disease (AD) work. He is now leading the most in-depth study of preclinical and prodromal AD that is funded by the MRC and due to start recruiting in 2017. I am also working with Professor John Gallacher who is the director of the ambitious MRC Dementias Platform UK, which aims to bring together UK’s existing population studies to facilitate epidemiological studies in dementia but also to provide a platform to support large, multicentre studies in preclinical AD.
Following completion of training in August 2019 I am planning to apply for a Clinician Scientist fellowship that would allow me to build on my CL work in preclinical AD. Specifically, I will propose to complete a clinical study evaluating the usability of selected biomarkers as outcome measures in preclinical/prodromal AD. I plan to do this using the infrastructure we have created to facilitate multi-centre clinical trials.