CitizenshipScottish EducationUniversity of Glasgow RoleProfessor
NameRobin Murray Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
BornRobin MacGregor Murray
1 January 1944 (age 71)
Glasgow, Scotland, UK (1944-01-01) InstitutionsInstitute of Psychiatry
King's College London FieldsPsychiatry, Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder
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Professor Sir Robin MacGregor Murray FRS (born 31 January 1944 Glasgow) is a Scottish psychiatrist, Professor of Psychiatric Research at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. He has treated patients with schizophrenia and bipolar illness at the National Psychosis Unit South London and Maudsley NHS Trust who are referred because they fail to respond to treatment, or cannot get appropriate treatment, locally; he sees patients privately if they are unable to obtain an NHS referral.
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Education and career
Robin Murray trained in medicine at the University of Glasgow. After qualifying, he researched the chronic renal failure induced by the massive abuse of a local headache powder, Askit Powders. Then he started training in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in London, and has remained there ever since apart from one year at the National Institute of Mental Health in the USA. He has been Dean of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, and Professor of Psychiatry there, but now focusses on research into, and care of people with psychotic illness. In 1987 he and Shon Lewis were among the first to suggest that schizophrenia might in part be a neurodevelopmental disorder.
Professor Murray is part of The Psychosis Research Group at the Institute of Psychiatry, perhaps the largest (by number of papers produced per annum) in the world. It uses a range of methods to improve understanding and treatment of psychotic illnesses, particularly schizophrenia. Murray is ranked as one of the most influential researchers in psychiatry by Thomson Reuters' Science Watch and 3rd in schizophrenia research.
In 1994, he was the president of the European Association of Psychiatrists; now the European Psychiatric Association. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (elected 2010) and also a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Murray is co-editor-in-chief of Psychological Medicine. He was Chairman of the Schizophrenia Commission which, over 2011 and 2012, reviewed in detail the care of people with psychosis in England, and concluded people with this illness were neglected, often poorly treated and subject to discrimination. The Commission made numerous recommendations for improvement.
Robin Murray and colleagues were among the first to demonstrate that prolonged heavy abuse of cannabis can contribute to the onset of psychosis, and that starting early before 15 years and using high potency cannabis (e.g. skunk) particularly increase the risk. Currently, they are researching why some people are especially vulnerable to this drug while most develop no problems. In 2009 Murray had a public disagreement with David Nutt in the pages of The Guardian about the dangers of cannabis in triggering psychosis.
Murray previously wrote that while the risk increase is "about five-fold [...] for the heaviest users", the issue has become a political football. Murray has commented repeatedly on these issues in BBC articles and programmes, including in a Panorama documentary on BBC One.
Murray was knighted in the 2011 New Year Honours for his services to medicine.