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Professor of Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Mental Health, University of Reading

Ciara McCabe is Professor of Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Mental Health and a University Research Fellow at Reading University. She has been director of the Neuroscience of Reward Group at Reading since 2013. She examines the processing of primary and secondary rewards at the behavioural and neural level and how this relates to the symptom of anhedonia in depression. She also examines how drug treatments interact with the reward response.

Ciara did her BSc in Psychology at Queens University, Belfast. She did her PhD on the effects of anxiolytic drugs on animal models of frustrative non-reward at the University of Ulster, in collaboration with Merck, Sharpe and Dohme. She did her first post doc in primate models of drug addiction at Wake Forest, NC, USA.

Ciara then moved to the Experimental Psychology Department at Oxford University to work on the brains response to primary rewards in humans and subsequently to the Psychiatry Department at Oxford University to work on neuropsychopharmacology and reward processing in patient and at-risk groups.

She was awarded the Senior Non-Clinical Psychopharmacology Award and two separate In-Vivo Awards from The British Association of Psychopharmacology (BAP). She was also awarded the Rafaelsen Investigator Award from The International College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a Fellowship Award from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology and an Eli Lilly Fellowship Award presented at the BAP. She has held funding from the Medical Research Council and has had various Industry collaborations.

Ciara has also been Director of the Reading Scholars Programme in Psychology a widening participation programme for under-represented students. Ciara was elected as a council member of the British Association of Psychopharmacology and as a trustee of the charity Immigrant Counselling and Psychotherapy (ICAP) for 5 years each.


  • 2021–present
    Professor, University of Reading
  • 2015–2021
    Associate Professor , University of Reading
  • 2013–2015
    Lecturer, University of Reading
  • 2007–2013
    Research Fellow, University of Oxford, Psychiatry
  • 2004–2007
    Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Oxford, Experimental Psychology
  • 2003–2005
    Postdoctoral research fellow, Wake Forest University, Physiology and Pharmacology, NC, USA


  • 2003 
    University of Ulster, PhD Experimental Psychology
  • 1998 
    Queens University Belfast, BSc Psychology