Professor of Psychology
+44 (0)20 7919 7199
+44 (0)20 7919 7873
Room 309 Whitehead Building,
Goldsmiths, University of London,
New Cross, SE14 6NW
Neurorehabilitation, neuropsychology, motivation, addiction
Professor Powell is a chartered clinical psychologist with dual specialisms in addictions and neuropsychological rehabilitation. Between 1989 and 2002 she held clinical appointments in the Drug Dependence Unit at the Bethlem Hospital and the Regional Neurological Rehabilitation Unit at Homerton Hospital, where she set up and ran a community-based brain injury rehabilitation team. Her current academic appointment enables her to carry out research into theoretical and clinical issues within both her specialist areas, and she continues to serve as clinical director of the community-based brain injury rehabilitation team at Homerton Hospital. She also provides a consultancy service to the Blackheath Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre, and supervises three clinical neuropsychologists based at Homerton and Blackheath. In addition she frequently acts as an expert witness in medicolegal cases relating to the effects of brain injury.
Professor Powell and her team are investigating the involvement of brain reward circuitry in recreational use of and addiction to various substances, particularly nicotine and alcohol, using a combination of cognitive, behavioural, and genetic methodologies. She was awarded a grant from the US National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to carry out a prospective study of the effects of nicotine and abstinence/cessation in smokers; several publications have emanated from this study, showing that acute abstinence is associated with deficits of incentive motivation and response inhibition, and that the severity of these deficits predicts short-term success in maintaining abstinence. She is currently collaborating with an alcohol treatment service to investigate whether similar deficits of incentive motivation and response inhibition characterise alcoholics, and is supervising two ESRC-funded doctoral students to carry out research in this area.
Much of Professor Powell's research is focused on outcomes and rehabilitation after brain injury. For example, she was PI on an MRC-funded randomised controlled trial of the Outreach team; this remains the only controlled evaluation of such a service, and its positive findings provided the first clear evidence for the efficacy of such provision. With medical colleagues, she also developed the BICRO-39 scales to assess the community functioning of brain-injured patients. This measure has been adopted for clinical use by numerous community-based teams in the UK and other countries. She is a member of an international group which is now in the final stages of validating a new instrument for assessing quality of life after traumatic brain injury, and has a number of ongoing collaborations with neurological colleagues to investigate outcomes after brain injury from cognitive, neuroimaging, and psychosocial perspectives, and is supervising two PhD on research in this field.
Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London, SE14 6NW, UK
Telephone: + 44 (0)20 7919 7171
Goldsmiths has charitable status