Professor Eric Chen

President, The Hong Kong College of Psychiatrists

Eric Chen has been working on understanding how the human mind could sometimes enter into a pathological state called Psychosis, and how best to help people in that state of mind. Psychosis occurs when the brain system of engaging with reality fails.

Eric Chen studied medicine at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities. He received specialist psychiatry training at Nottingham and continued senior training in Cambridge, working with top scientists from the Cambridge University Department of Psychiatry and the Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit. There he developed his research interest in cognitive neuroscience approach to psychopathology, in particular schizophrenia and psychosis.

He embarked on the study of brain expressions of psychosis, developed the Cambridge Neurological Inventory. He also developed the use of neurocomputational modelling in the understanding of psychiatric symptoms. Over the years he endeavoured to map out the brain changes by exploring semantic and other cognitive abnormalities (such as executive function disorders) associated with Psychosis.

EC embarked on a number of longitudinal studies on psychotic disorders in Hong Kong. He has led the development of a specialised early intervention service for psychosis in Hong Kong, the internationally recognised EASY service (Hospital Authority). With the EASY service, EC and the team endeavoured to map out the clinical pathways in the initial critical years following psychosis onset. One important piece of knowledge assembled by the team is the role of maintenance treatment following first episode psychosis (published in the BMJ). This addressed a very significant clinical problem and has attracted widespread attention. Another collaborative study (together with Professor William Honer) address the treatment of patients who became treatment refractory (published in the NEJM).

EC has published over 200 research articles, including 1 book and over 10 book chapters. These articles has appeared in top medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, and the British Medical Journal.

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