Robin Murray

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Sir Robin Murray
Robin Murray at the Mental Health conference in Hanover, April 2013 - IMAG5320-cropped.png
Robin MacGregor Murray

(1944-01-31) 31 January 1944 (age 74)
Glasgow, Scotland
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
Scientific career
FieldsPsychiatry, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis
InstitutionsInstitute of Psychiatry
King's College London

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.[1] He has treated patients with schizophrenia and bipolar illness at the National Psychosis Unit South London and Maudsley NHS Trust[2] 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.

Education and career[edit]

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 focuses 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.[citation needed]

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[3] and 3rd in schizophrenia research.[4]

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.[1] Murray is co-editor-in-chief of Psychological Medicine.[5] 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.[citation needed]

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.[6]

Murray previously wrote that while the risk increase is "about five-fold [...] for the heaviest users", the issue has become a political football.[4] Murray has commented repeatedly on these issues in BBC articles and programmes,[7][8][9] including in a Panorama documentary on BBC One.[10][11]


Murray was knighted in the 2011 New Year Honours for his services to medicine.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "IoP: staff: MURRAY, Sir Robin M." 27 January 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  2. ^ "NPU: staff: Professor Robin Murray". 1 February 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  3. ^ Scientist Rankings in Psychiatry/Psychology
  4. ^ a b Profile in Science Watch and interview with Murray,, 8 March 2008; accessed 1 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Cambridge Journals Online – Psychological Medicine". Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  6. ^ Robin Murray, A clear danger from cannabis, The Guardian, 29 October 2009 replying to David Nutt The cannabis conundrum, The Guardian, 29 October 2009; accessed 1 September 2014.
  7. ^ Cannabis 'disrupts brain centre'. Scientists have shown how cannabis may trigger psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia
  8. ^ Cannabis hospital admissions rise. Mental health hospital admissions in England due to cannabis have risen by 85% under Labour, figures show
  9. ^ Parents 'ignorant about cannabis'. Police chiefs are accusing parents of showing ignorance and complacency in the face of widespread cannabis use among teenage children.
  10. ^ Cannabis and our genes
  11. ^ Programme transcript. What follows is a transcript of Panorama's Cannabis:what teenagers need to know. Broadcast Sunday 19 June 2005 on BBC One,; accessed 1 September 2014.
  12. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 1.