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Professor Katya Rubia  BA PhD
Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

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tel020 7848 0463
fax020 7708 5800

Institute of Psychiatry
Box  P046
De Crespigny Park
United Kingdom, SE5 8AF

location C2.20
MRC, SGDP Centre
departmentsChild and Adolescent Psychiatry
Childhood Disorders
alsoAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Neuropsychology and neuroimaging studies of ADHD and related childhood disorders


Katya Rubia is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/SGDP. Katya Rubia did her PhD in 1994 in Cognitive Neuroscience in Munich, Germany, investigating the neural substrates of timing functions in brain lesion patients. After post-doc periods at the University of Munich and of Amsterdam she has since 1995 been working at the IOP on experimental psychology and fMRI research. Her imaging work has focused on the neural substrates of impulsiveness related cognitive functions in healthy adults, in normal development and in abnormal development, in particular in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but also related psychiatric disorders, including conduct disorder, OCD, autism, depression, and others. The main focus in the field of experimental psychology has been on the design of novel tests to measure impulsiveness in and outside the fMRI scanner, including tests of inhibition, attention and timing, which has resulted in the design of a task battery, the Maudsley Attention and Response task battery (MARS, Rubia et al., 2001, 2007). Other interests are the investigation of the specificity of brain abnormalities in childhood disorders via fMRI comparisons between related neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, conduct disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and preterm born children. Other interests include pharmacological fMRI using neurotransmitter manipulations such as Tryptophan depletion and psychopharmaca, neuroendocrine correlations with neuroimaging data, and gene-imaging interactions.

activities and interests

Basic and developmental neuroscience of executive functions
Functional neuropsychiatry research of ADHD and related childhood disorders

Basic cognitive Neuroscience of inhibition, attention, timing functions.

Developmental cognitive neuroscience on the same functions in cross-sectional developmental studies.

Neuropsychiatric research into neural correlates of executive functioning in children and adults with ADHD, CD, depression, autism, Asperger’s syndrome. Particular interest in inter-patient comparison for the purpose of investigation of specificity of neurofunctional abnormalities in ADHD and other childhood disorders.

We are interested in any volunteers for these studies. If you are a healthy adolescent or have ADHD, autism or CD and are interested in participating in our research, please contact us.

Pharmacological fMRI; Tryptophan depletion in healthy subjects and autism during executive functioning. Methylphenidate and Atomoxetine manipulation in children with ADHD.

Experimental psychology: Application of a task battery (MARS; Rubia et al., 2001, 2007) designed to measure functions related to impulsiveness in different psychiatric patient groups (ADHD, CD, OCD, eating disorders, tuberous sclerosis).

Genetic interests: Twin fMRI study in ADHD and combination of molecular genetic information with functional imaging. Gene x imaging interactions.

Neuroendocrine interests: correlation of neuroimaging data with measurements of Testosterone (ADHD) and Cortisol (depression).

teaching activities

Teaching outside of IOP

1. Intercalated BSc in Psychology, Neuroscience & Neuropsychology for medical students at GKT School of Medicine: Cognitive Neuropsychology module. Subject: “Neuroimaging in developmental psychiatric disorders”.

2. MRC Psych Child Psychiatry, Neuroanatomy & Neuropathology
St George’s University of London


Supervision and Examination of PhD and MSc students

Mental Health Studies » Masters (MSc)
Neuroscience » Masters (MSc)
Psychology » BSc (Intercalated)



Rubia K., Schuri U., v. Cramon I., and Poeppel E. (1997) Time estimation as a neuronal network property: a lesion study. NeuroReport 8: 1273-1276.

Rubia K., Oosterlaan J., Sergeant J, Brandeis D., and v Leeuwen T.H. (1998) Inhibitory dysfunction in hyperactive boys. Behavioural Brain Research 94(1): 25-32.

Brandeis D, v. Leeuwen T.H., Rubia K., Vitacco D., Steger J., Borntraeger E., and Steinhausen H.C. (1998) Neuroelectric precursors of stop failures in children with attention problems. Behavioural Brain Research 94(1): 111-125.

Rubia K, Overmeyer S., Taylor E., Brammer M., Williams SCR, Simmons A., Andrew C., and Bullmore E.T. (1998). Prefrontal involvement in temporal bridging and timing movement: an fMRI study. Neuropsychologia 36: 1283-1293.

Rubia K, Overmeyer S., Taylor E., Brammer M., Williams SCR, Simmons A., Andrew C., and Bullmore E.T. (1999). Hypofrontality in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder during higher order motor control: a study with fMRI American Journal of Psychiatry, 156:6:891-896.

Rubia K. Locating the Brain’s Brakes. Am J Psychiatry, 1999; 156(6), A60.

Rubia K, Sergeant J., Taylor A., and Taylor E. (1999) Synchronization, anticipation and consistency of motor timing in dimensionally defined children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Perceptual and Motor Skills 89: 1237-1258.

Rubia K, Overmeyer S., Taylor E., Brammer M., Williams SCR, Simmons A., Andrew C., and Bullmore E.T. (2000). Frontalisation with age: mapping neurodevelopmental trajectories with fMRI. Neuroscience Biobehavioural Review 24(1): 13-21.

Russel T, Rubia K, Bullmore E.T., Brammer M.J., Williams S.C.R., Andrew C., Simmons A., Taylor E., and Sharma T. (2000) Exploring the social brain: mental state attribution in schizophrenia using fMRI. American Journal of Psychiatry 157(12): 2040-2042.

Rubia K, Overmeyer S., Taylor E., Brammer M., Williams SCR, Simmons A., Andrew C., Giampietro V., and Bullmore E.T. (2001). Mapping Motor Inhibition: Conjunctive brain activations across different versions of go/no-go and stop tasks. NeuroImage 13: 250-261.

Rubia K, Russell T., Taylor E., Bullmore E.T., Brammer M.J., Williams S.C.R., Andrew C., and Sharma T. (2001) Reduced frontal activation in schizophrenia during normal inhibitory function. Schizophrenia Research 52 (1-2): 47-55.

Rubia K, Taylor E., Smith A., Oksanen, H., Overmeyer, S., and Newman S. (2001) Neuropsychological analyses of impulsiveness in childhood hyperactivity. British Journal of Psychiatry 179:138-143.

Rubia K and Smith A (2001) Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder: current findings and treatment. Current Opinion of Psychiatry 4: 309-316.

Rubia K. (2002) The dynamic approach to neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorders: Use of fMRI combined with neuropsychology to elucidate the dynamics of psychiatric disorders, exemplified in ADHD and schizophrenia. Behavioural Brain Research 130 (2): 47-56.

Smith A, Taylor E, Warner-Rogers J, and Rubia K. (2002) Temporal Processing in Children with ADHD: Evidence for a pure time perception deficit in ADHD. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry 43:4: 529-542.

Holmes J., Hewitt L., Hever T., Ball C., Taylor E., Rubia K., and Anita Thapar (2002) A Pilot Twin Study of Psychological Measures of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Behavioural Genetics 32(6): 389-395.

Rubia K., Smith A, Noorlos J, Gunning W, and Sergeant JA (2003) Motor timing deficits in community and clinical boys with hyperactive behaviour: the effect of Methylphenidate on motor timing. Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Psychiatry, 301-313.

Smith A., Lidzba K., Taylor, E., Rubia K. (2003) A right hemispheric fronto-striatal network for temporal discrimination. NeuroImage, 20, 344-350.

Rubia K., Smith A., Brammer M., Taylor E. (2003). Right inferior prefrontal cortex mediates response inhibition while mesial prefrontal cortex is responsible for error detection. NeuroImage, 20, 351-358.

Smith A., Taylor E., Brammer M., Rubia K. (2004). The neural correlates of switching set as measured in fast, event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. Human Brain Mapping, 21: 247-256.

Rubia K., Smith A. (2004) The neural correlates of cognitive time management: a review. Acta Neurobiologiae, 64: 329-340.

Ellison Z., Wright I., Rubia K., Williams SCR, Suckling J, Simmons A, Bullmore E. (2004) Heterozygous PAX6 mutation, adult brain structure and fronto-striato-thalamic function in a human family. European Journal of Neuroscience, 19, 1505-1512.

Harrison L., Manocha R, Rubia K. (2004) Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a Family Treatment Program for Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 9 (4), 479-497.

Rubia K, Taylor E., Asherson, P., Curran S (2005) Association between specific inhibitory measures and the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine D4 receptor gene in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In: ATTENTION-DEFICIT/HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER (AD/HD) AND THE HYPERKINETIC SYNDROME (HKS): CURRENT IDEAS AND WAYS FORWARD. Ed. Robert Oades, Nova Science Publishers (NY), 2006, in press.

Rubia, K., Smith, A.B., Brammer, M.J., Brian Toone, B. & Taylor, E. (2005) Medication-naïve adolescents with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder show abnormal brain activation during inhibition and error detection. Am J Psych, 162, 1067-1075.

Rubia K. (2005) RED: ADHD under the “micro-scope” of the rat model. Commentary, Behavioural Brain Science, 28(3):419-423.

Rubia K., Lee F., Cleare A., Tunstall N., Fu C, McGuire P. (2005) Acute Tryptophan Depletion reduces right inferior prefrontal activation during response inhibition in fast, event related fMRI. Psychopharmacology 179, 791-801.

Banaschewski T., Hollis, C., Oosterlaan J., Roeyers J., Rubia K., Willcutt E., Taylor E. (2005) Towards an understanding of unique and shared pathways in the psychopathophysiology of AD/HD. Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 8(2), 132-140.

Nosarti C, Rubia K, Murray R. (2006) Altered neuronal organisation of the brain of adolescent boys who were born very preterm during response inhibition. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 48:265-71.

Herba C, Tranah T, Rubia K, Yule W (2006) Conduct Problems in adolescence: Three domains of inhibition and effect of sex. Developmental Neuropsychology, 30 (2), 659-695.

Shergill SS, Tracy D., Seal M., Rubia K, McGuire P (2006) Timing of covert articulation: an fMRI study. Neuropsychologia, 44(12):2573-7

Smith A., M.Brammer, E.Taylor, Rubia K (2006) Task specific hypoactivation in medication-naïve adolescents with ADHD during motor and cognitive inhibition and task switching. Am J Psych, 163 (6); 1-8.

Schmitz N., Rubia K., Daly E., Smith A., Williams S., Murphy D (2005). Neural correlates of executive function in Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Biol. Psychiatry, 59: 7-16.

Rubia K. (2005) Studies of neuro-developmental psychiatric disorders using MRI. Psychiatry, 4:12: 6-10.

Herba C, Tranah T, Rubia K, Yule W (2006) Conduct Problems in adolescence: Three domains of inhibition and effect of sex. Developmental Neuropsychology, 30 (2), 659-695.

Katya Rubia, Anna B. Smith, James Woolley, Chiara Nosarti, Isobel Heyman, Mick Brammer, Eric Taylor (2006).Progressive increase of fronto-striatal brain activation from childhood to adulthood during event related tasks of cognitive control. Human Brain Mapping, 27: 973-993.

Penadés, R., Catalán, R., Rubia, K, Boget, T., Andrés ,S.; Salamero, M., Gastó, C. (2006) Impaired response inhibition in OCD. European Psychiatry, in press.

Rubia K, Taylor E., Asherson, P., Curran S (2006) Association between specific inhibitory measures and the 7-repeat allele of the dopamine D4 receptor gene in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In: Attention/Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) and the hyperkinetic syndrome: Current ideas and ways forward. Ed. Robert Oades, Nova Science Publishers (NY), 2006.

Rubia K. (2006) The neural correlates of timing functions. Timing the Future: The case for a Time-Based Prospective Memory, edited by Joseph Glicksohn and Michael S. Myslobodsky. World Scientific Publishing, New Jersey, 2006.

Rubia K., Smith A., Taylor E. (2007) Performance of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) on a biological marker test battery for impulsiveness test battery to measure Child Neuropsychology, 13(3):276-304.

Rubia K., Smith A, Brammer M (2007) Functional maturation of right inferior fronto-striato-cerebellar networks during inhibition and anterior cingulate gyrus during error detection. Neuroimage, 28(11): 1163-1177.

Rubia K, Smith A., Taylor E, Brammer M (2007). Temporal lobe dysfunction in medication-naïve boys with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder during attention allocation. Biol Psychiatry, 62 (9), 999-1006.

Rubia, K. (2007) Neuroanatomic documentation of the maturational delay hypothesis of ADHD. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA, 11, (50) 19663-19664.

Woolley J, Heyman I, Brammer M, Frampton I, McGuire P, and Rubia K (2008) Reduced activation during inhibitory control in task-specific brain regions in paediatric OCD. Br. J. Psych. 192 25-31.

Schmitz N., Rubia K., Daly E., Smith A., van Amelsvoort T., and Murphy D. (2008) The neural substrates of monetary reward in autism. Br. J. Psych 192 19-25

Smith A.B., Taylor E., Brammer M., Halari R., and Rubia K. (2008) Reduced activation in right lateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus in medication naïve children and adolescents with ADHD during time discrimination. J. Child Psychol. Psychiatry, 49(9), 977–985

Rubia K., Halari R., Smith AB., Mohammad M., Scott S, Giampietro V., Taylor, E., Brammer, M. E. (2008) Dissociated functional brain abnormalities of inhibition in boys with pure Conduct disorder and in boys with pure Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Am J Psychiatry, 165:889–897

Lawrence E., Rubia K., Murray R., McGuire P., Wash M., Allin M., Giampietro V., Rifkin L., Williams SCR., Nosarti C. (2008) The Neural Basis of Response Inhibition and Attention Allocation as Mediated by Gestational Age. Human Brain Mapping, 30 (3): 1038-1050.***

Borgwardt SJ, Allen P., Bhattacharyya S, Fusar-Poli P, Crippa, JA, Seal ML, Fraccaro V, Atakan Z, Martin-Santos R, O’Carroll C, Rubia K, McGuire PK (2008) Neural basis of ?-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD): Effects during response inhibition. Biol Psychiatry, 64(11): 966-973.

Schmitz, N., Admiraal-Behloul, F. Rubia K, Arkink, E.B., Schoonmann, G.G., Kruit, M.B., Ferrari, M.D., van Buchem, M.A. (2008) Frontal lobe structure and executive function in migraine patients", Neuroscience Letters, 440 ( 2), 92-96

Sonuga-Barke E.J.S., Rubia, K. (2008)Inattentive/overactive children with histories of profound institutional deprivation compared with standard ADHD cases: a brief report. Child: Care, Health and Development, 34, 5, 596–602

Chamberlain, S.R., Hampshire, A., Müller, U., Rubia, K., Natalia del Campo, N., Craig, K., Regenthal, R., Suckling, J., Roiser, J.O., Grant, J.E., Bullmore, E.T., Robbins, T.W., Sahakian, B.J. (2008) Atomoxetine modulates right inferior frontal activation during inhibitory control: a pharmacological fMRI study. Biological Psychiatry, 65(7), 550-555

Rubia K., Smith AB., Mohammed M., Taylor, E., Brammer, M. E. (2009) Disorder-specific dissociation of orbitofrontal dysfunction in boys with pure Conduct disorder during reward and ventrolateral prefrontal dysfunction in boys with pure Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder during sustained attention . Am J Psychiatry, 166: 83-94

Rubia K., Halari R., Christakou, A., and Taylor E. (2009) Impulsiveness as a timing deficit: brain dysfunctions during timing in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and normalisation with Methylphenidate". Phil. Transactions Royal Soc. B’ (Biological Sciences), 364, 1919-1931

Lamar M., Cutter W., Rubia K., Brammer M., Cleare A., and Murphy D. (2009) Serotonin and prefrontal functioning in older adults: An fMRI investigation of interference inhibition during acute tryptophan depletion. Neurobiology of aging, 30, 1135–1146.

Halari R, Simic M, Pariante C, Brammer M, Rubia K. (2009) Reduced activation in lateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate during attention and cognitive control functions in medication-naïve adolescents with depression compared to controls. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 50(3), 307 – 316.

Rubia, K., Halari R., Smith, A., Mohammad M., Scott, S., Brammer, M. (2009b) Shared and disorder-specific prefrontal abnormalities in boys with pure Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder compared to boys with pure CD during interference inhibition and attention allocation. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 50(6), 669–678.

Gow, RV, Matsudaira, T., Taylor, E., Rubia, K., Crawford, M., Ghebremeskel K, Ibramovitch, Valle´ e-Tourangeau, F., Williams, L.M., Sumich, A. (2009) Total red blood cell concentrations of o-3 fatty acids are associated with emotion-elicited neural activity in adolescent boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 80 (2), 151-156.

Rubia, K. (2009) The Neurobiology of Meditation and its clinical effectiveness in psychiatric disorders. Biological Psychiatry, 82, 1–11.

Page, L.A., Rubia, K., Deeley, Q., Toal, F., Daly, E., Mataix-Cols, D., Vincent Giampietro, V., Murphy, D.C.M. (2009) A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Inhibition in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Psychiatric Review: Neuroimaging, 174, 202–209

Christakou, A., Giampietro, V., Brammer, M., Rubia, K. (2009) Right ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortices mediate adaptive decisions under ambiguity by integrating choice utility and outcome evaluation. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(35):11020-11028.

Christakou A., Halari R., Smith A.B., Ifkovits E., Brammer M., Rubia K. (2009) Sex-dependent Age Modulation of Frontostriatal and Temporo-parietal Activation During Cognitive Control. Neuroimage, 48 (1), 223-23

Rubia K, Halari R, Mohammad M, Taylor, E (2009) Methylphenidate normalises activation and functional connectivity deficits in attention and motivation networks in medication-naïve children with ADHD during a Rewarded Continuous Performance Task. Neuropsychopharmacology, 57 (2009) 640–652.

Rubia, K., Cubillo, A., Smith, AB, Woolley, J, Heyman, I, Brammer, MJ (2010) Disorder-specific dysfunction in right inferior prefrontal cortex during two inhibition tasks in boys with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) compared to boys with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Human Brain Mapping 31:287–299.

Rubia, K, Halari, R, Cubillo, A, Mohammad, A-M, Scott, S, Brammer, M (2010) Disorder-specific inferior prefrontal under-activation in boys with pure Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder compared to boys with pure CD during cognitive flexibility. Human Brain Mapping, in press

Cubillo A, Rubia, K. (2010) Neuroimaging of adult ADHD. Expert Rev of Neurotherapeutics, 2010, 10 (4):603-620

Arnsten A, Rubia K (2010) "Neurobiological Circuits Regulating Attention, Movement and Emotion and Their Disruptions in Pediatic Neuropsychiatric Disorders". Journal of ADHD and related Disorders, in press, April 2010.

Rubia, K., Hyde Z., Halari R., Giampietro V., Smith AB (2010) Effects of age and sex on developmental neural networks of visual-spatial attention allocation. Neuroimage, 51, 817–827

Cubillo, A., Halari, R., Giampietro, V., Taylor, E., Rubia, K. (2010) Reduced activation and inter-regional functional connectivity of fronto-striatal networks in adults with childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and persisting symptoms during motor inhibition and cognitive switching. Journal of Psychiatric Research,44 629–639.

Rubia K. (2010). “Cool” inferior fronto-cerebellar dysfunction in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) versus “hot” ventromedial orbitofronto-limbic dysfunction in conduct disorder. Biological Psychiatry, in press.

Rubia, K., Cubillo, A., Woolley, J, Brammer, MJ, Smith, AB (2010) Disorder-specific dysfunctions in patients with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder compared to patients with Obsessive-compulsive disorder during interference inhibition and attention allocation. Human Brain Mapping, in press.

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last updated: Wednesday, August 06, 2008