He is currently President of the European Brain Council, and previously has been President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), the British Neuroscience Association and British Association of Psychopharmacology.
His medical training was at Cambridge University and Guy's Hospital London. After a spell in neurology he undertook psychiatric training in Guys and then Oxford continuing 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 President of the European Brain Council, and previously has been President of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), the British Neuroscience Association and British Association of Psychopharmacology. He has edited the Journal of Psychopharmacology for over two decades and is a psychiatry drugs advisor to the British National Formulary. He has published over 450 original research papers, a similar number of reviews and book chapters, eight government reports on drugs and 31 books.
He broadcasts widely to the general public both on radio and television including BBC science and public affairs programmes on therapeutic as well as illicit drugs, their harms and their classification. He also lecturers widely to the public as well as to the scientific and medical communitie. In 2010 The Times Eureka science magazine included him in the 100 most important figures in British Science, and the only psychiatrist. In 2013 he was awarded the John Maddox Prize from Nature/Sense about Science.