The mind-body interface

The Academy hosted its 15th FORUM Annual Lecture on ‘The mind-body interface’ on 6 September 2017. Professor Kevin Tracey, President and CEO, The US Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, gave the keynote presentation on ‘Molecular mechanisms in bioelectronic medicine’.

The theme of this year’s Annual Lecture was ‘The mind-body interface’. It explored some of the exciting discoveries around the interplay between the immune system and the brain as part of our broader understanding around the relationship between mental and physical health, and the implications that this could have for a new field of medicine called ‘bioelectronics’.

Professor Tracey took the audience through a fascinating journey over the course of 20 years of research that he and others have undertaken to better understand the interaction between the immune system and brain. This has opened up opportunities for using electronic stimulation (bioelectronics) to revolutionise the treatment of many diseases caused by uncontrolled inflammation.

The lecture was followed by a lively panel discussion chaired by Professor Sir Robert Lechler PMedSci which further explored the need for better integration of mental and physical healthcare, the role of inflammation in mental health, translating science into new potential treatments for mental health disorders and the importance of engaging the research and healthcare community in these discussions. The distinguished panellists joining Professor Tracey were:

  • Professor Ed Bullmore FMedSci, Vice-President Immunopsychiatry, GlaxoSmithKline, and Head of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Matthew Hotopf FMedSci, Professor of General Hospital Psychiatry, King's College London
  • Professor Brenda Penninx, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam
  • Melissa Smith, Ophthalmology nurse and service user, East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

The meeting report from the Annual Lecture can be downloaded on the righthand side of this page and the keynote talk can be viewed on YouTube. You can also see how the event unfolded on Storify and by using the hashtag #FORUM2017.

To find out more about the Academy's FORUM or if you would like to become a FORUM member, please contact

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