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Please visit the Trich Prof page for information about hair-pulling disorder. Infographic giving key facts and figures about hair-pulling disorder

Clare Mackay

BSc PhD (Liverpool)

Professor of Imaging Neuroscience

  • Associate Director & Head of Translation, OHBA
  • Co-Theme Lead, NIHR Oxford Health BRC (Dementia)
  • Head, Translational Neuroimaging Group
  • @TheTrichProf

My research focuses on using neuroimaging to understand risk for psychiatric and neurodegenerative disease.

By the time conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease are clinically diagnosed, much of the damage in the brain is already done. My group focuses on understanding mechanisms of risk, i.e. investigating how factors such as particular genes change brain structure and function before people are suffering from the symptoms of disease. We hope that, when neuroprotective agents become available, we will be able to identify individuals in whom these agents will be most effective.

I lead the Translational Neuroimaging Group and am Associate Director of the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity (OHBA), which is part of the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. I co-lead the Dementia Theme for the NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre. I hold/have held a number of roles as imaging/MRI lead for large collaborative projects, e.g. Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC), the Whitehall II imaging study and MRC Dementias Platform UK

In 2020 we launched the pilot for the Oxford Brain Health Clinic, which integrates research infrastructure with the clinical pathway for memory clinic patients. We offer patients high quality assessments as standard, and research assessments as extras. The BHC provides a translational interface for testing novel biomarkers and interventions in a real world population. 

In 2023 I initiated a new academic interest in a lesser-known disorder called trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder), and other associated body-focused repetitive behaviours (BFRBs). I am actively developing new collaborations and projects to explore mechanisms and develop interventions for the under-served community of individuals suffering from these disorders. 

Recent publications