The Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research

The Mood Disorders Centre (MDC) was established as a partnership between the University of Exeter and the NHS to address key priorities in understanding and treating depression including (a) improving the efficacy of psychological interventions; (b) reducing the high rates of relapse and recurrence; (c) finding ways to make effective interventions widely available and accessible, given the high lifetime prevalence rates of depression (10-20%) and the limited number of therapists. Its vision is to deliver world-class research that develops new understanding of the psychological mechanisms underlying  mood disorders, translates this knowledge into more efficacious psychological interventions, improves the accessibility of evidence-based treatments for depression, and provides innovative programmes that train the next generation of clinical researchers, clinical practitioners and leaders (see the Mood Disorders Centre website for more information).

The Sir Henry Wellcome Building for Mood Disorders Research is the result of a £3.6 million Capital Award from the Wellcome Trust and will be dedicated to the improvement of the understanding and treatment of mood disorders.  This state-of-the art, fit-for-purpose built clinical research facility houses individual and group treatment rooms, with built-in audiovisual recording, plus office and meeting space for clinical research. The Capital Award has also renovated a significant part of the Washington Singer Building on the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus including a new bio-behavioural laboratory with virtual reality environments, multichannel EEG and peripheral Physiology and eye tracking facilities.  This new facility and the associated ongoing relationship with the Wellcome Trust consolidates the position of the Mood Disorder Centre and the University of Exeter as a UK and international leader in basic and translational clinical research to improve the psychological understanding of mood disorders and to develop and evaluate new psychosocial interventions.

Our work

The Mood Disorders Centre research is supported by prestigious grants from the NHS, research councils and charities including: 

Medical Research Council  – Trial Platform. Preventing depression relapse in NHS practice using Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy. September 2005 to September 2007. £237,246. PI: Professor Kuyken, Co-PI Prof Watkins.

Medical Research Council Experimental Medicine Grant Cognitive Training as a facilitated self-help intervention for depression. July2006 to January 2010. £464,000. PI: Professor Watkins.

Medical Research Council Clinical Trial Grant: CADET: Multi-centre Randomised Controlled Trial of Collaborative Care for Depression.  September 2008 to September 2012. £2.,2 million. PI –Prof David Richards 

NIHR-HTA Grant [08/56/01]– Mindfulness-based CBT as a relapse prevention treatment (PREVENT study). £2.1 million. PI- Prof Willem Kuyken (Prof Watkins, Co-PI). October 2009-September 2013

NIHR HTA for a Clinical Trials Grant titled “COBRA (Cost and Outcome of BehaviouRal Activation): a Randomised Controlled Trial of Behavioural Activation versus Cognitive Therapy for Depression”. £1.9 million, start date March 2012, for 4 years. PI Professor David Richards (Prof Watkins, Kuyken, Dr Wright, O’Mahen Co-PI).

Wellcome Trust - Wellcome Project Grant 080099/Z/06/Z- “Reducing vulnerability to depression: dysregulation of processing style and depressive rumination.” £226, 349. September 2006 to August 2009. PI. Prof Watkins.


Examplar publications include:


Watkins, E. R., & Nolen-Hoeksema, S. (2014). A habit-goal framework of depressive rumination. Journal of abnormal psychology, 123(1), 24.


Crane, R. S., & Kuyken, W. (2013). The implementation of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: Learning from the UK health service experience. Mindfulness, 4(3), 246-254.

Caseras, X., Lawrence, N. S., Murphy, K., Wise, R. G., & Phillips, M. L. (2013). Ventral striatum activity in response to reward: differences between bipolar I and II disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(5), 533-541.

Dickson, J. M., & Moberly, N. J. (2013). Reduced Specificity of Personal Goals and Explanations for Goal Attainment in Major Depression. PloS one, 8(5), e64512.

O'Mahen, H., Himle, J. A., Fedock, G., Henshaw, E., & Flynn, H. (2013). A pilot randomized controlled trial of cognitive behavioral therapy for perinatal depression adapted for women with low incomes. Depression and anxiety, 30(7), 679-687.

Psychogiou, L., & Parry, E. (2013). Why do depressed individuals have difficulties in their parenting role?. Psychological medicine, 1-3.

Steinacher, A., & Wright, K. A. (2013). Relating the Bipolar Spectrum to Dysregulation of Behavioural Activation: A Perspective from Dynamical Modelling. PloS one, 8(5), e63345.


Dunn, B. D., Evans, D., Makarova, D., White, J., & Clark, L. (2012). Gut feelings and the reaction to perceived inequity: The interplay between bodily responses, regulation, and perception shapes the rejection of unfair offers on the ultimatum game. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 12(3), 419-429.

Watkins, E. R., Taylor, R. S., Byng, R., Baeyens, C., Read, R., Pearson, K., ... & Hennessy, S. (2012). Guided self-help concreteness training as an intervention for major depression in primary care: a Phase II randomized controlled trial. Psychological medicine, 42(7), 1359.


Watkins, E.R., Mullan, E.G., Wingrove, J., Rimes, K., Steiner, H., Bathurst, N., Eastman, E., & Scott, J. (2011, July 21 on-line publication). Rumination-focused cognitive behaviour therapy for residual depression: phase II randomized controlled trial. British Journal of Psychiatry. Doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.090282

2010 and earlier

Ramchandani, P., & Psychogiou, L. (2009). Paternal psychiatric disorders and children’s psychosocial development. Lancet, 374, 646-653

Kuyken, W., Byford, S., Taylor, R.S., Watkins, E.R., Holden, E., White, K., Barrett, B., Byng, R., Evans, A., Mullan, E., & Teasdale, J.D. (2008). Mindfulness-based Cognitive therapy to prevent relapse in recurrent depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 966-978.