Roland Zahn studied pre-clinical medicine at Heidelberg University and clinical medicine at the University of Aachen (RWTH) in Germany, attracted by leading experts in cognitive neurology and neuropsychology who later supervised his doctoral research. He completed his primary medical degree in 1997 and his research medical doctorate (MD) on cognitive difficulties after stroke in 1999.
After two years as a specialist trainee and researcher in cognitive neurology at Aachen University Hospital, Roland Zahn went on to work at Freiburg University Hospital in 2000 to complete his clinical training in psychiatry and cognitive behavioural psychotherapy. In Freiburg, Professor Berger, one of the leading national experts for mood disorders, inspired him with an ethos of never giving up hope and trying to improve everyone's depression by pursuing all available treatments including intensive psycho- and pharmacotherapy. Funded by a fellowship from the German National Academy of Sciences, Roland Zahn investigated the brain basis of emotions such as guilt at the US National Institutes of Health from 2004 until 2007. He then continued this research at the University of Manchester supported by a Stepping Stones Fellowship whilst undertaking top-up training in old age psychiatry with Professor Alistair Burns and since 2011 working as an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in specialist cognitive assessment and affective disorders services (led by Professor Ian Anderson) at Manchester University Hospitals. In 2013, he joined the Centre for Affective Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London (led by Professor Allan Young) as a Senior Clinical Lecturer, Reader (since 2018), and Professor in Mood Disorders & Cognitive Neuroscience since 2022.
2017 Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
2012 Certificate of equivalence of completion of higher specialist training, Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK, Old Age Psychiatry
2007 Specialist Register, General Medical Council (#6166206), UK, General Adult Psychiatry
2007 Completion of Specialist Training, University Hospital Freiburg, Germany, Adult Psychiatry & Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy
2006 Certificate of equivalence with US MD PhD degree, International Research Education Foundation, USA
1999 Doctor of Medicine, University of Aachen (RWTH), Germany
1997 Completion of Clinical Studies (Staatsexamen), University of Aachen (RWTH), Germany
1993 Completion of Pre-clinical studies (Physikum), University of Heidelberg, Germany
As an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, his focus has been on mood disorders at the National Service for Affective Disorders at the Maudsley hospital and in a primary care liaison mood clinic in South London. Due to his previous experience in neuropsychology and liaison psychiatry, particularly for neurological disorders, as well as his work in a memory clinic, he is well aware of the potential neurological causes of mood disorders. Sometimes memory difficulties can be a sign of early Alzheimer's, but often they can be part of the concentration difficulties usually found in depression. Prof Zahn has published a book chapter with Professor Alistair Burns to help clinicians differentiate between different forms of dementia (Oxford University Press, 2017). He has particular experience in assessing memory or cognitive difficulties and whether these are compatible with depression or could be the sign of something other than depression, Prof Zahn has extensive experience in neuropsychological testing.
Roland Zahn has investigated the feasibility of computerised antidepressant prescribing decision support, funded by the UK National Institutes for Health Research. In his UK Medical Research Council clinician scientist fellowship, he has shown that functional MRI scans whilst people experience self-blame can be used to predict recurrence risk in major depressive disorder, a finding he is currently trying to replicate funded by the MRC. In his recent US Brain & Behavior Research Foundation award-funded work, he has completed a clinical trial to probe the potential of a novel functional MRI neurofeedback approach to depression based on this finding.