Dr Will Lawn

Post-doctoral Research Associate

Research Area

I am currently a post-doctoral research associate at the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit at University College London. I am co-running the CannTeen project which investigates if, how and why teenagers are more vulnerable than adults to the short and long-term effects of cannabis. My main area of interest is teenage cannabis dependence.

Biography

Background

I studied Natural Sciences (Experimental Psychology) at the University of Cambridge and then completed a PhD at University College London, supervised by Professor Val Curran and Professor Celia Morgan. My PhD examined reward processing perturbations in nicotine and cannabis addictions. I then worked as a post-doctoral research associate on the KARE clinical trial investigating ketamine as a treatment for alcohol dependence. I have also worked with Professor Adam Winstock on his Global Drug Survey data and with Dr Gill Bedi at Columbia University’s Psychiatric Institute in New York.

Current work

I currently work as a post-doctoral research associate at University College London, in the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit. I am working on an MRC-funded project which examines whether adolescence represents a vulnerable period for cannabis-related harms. And if teenagers are at greater risk, in which psychological and neural domains does this additional harm manifest itself.

Areas of particular interest

My main interest, and research focus, is teenage cannabis dependence. I am also interested in the neural substrates of drug-related decision-making; theories of addiction; and the application of psychedelic drugs in treating addiction.

Future work

I would like to further investigate the reasons behind teenagers’ greater vulnerability to developing cannabis dependence compared to adults. I would also like to help improve treatment and prevention strategies for teenagers with cannabis use disorder.