- 1) neuroinflammatory mechanism and treatment targets in anxiety and affective disorders;
- 2) human psychopharmacology focusing on the role of the locus coeruleus in neuropsychiatric disorders and targeted new interventions;
- 3) neuroinflammatory mechanisms underlying comorbid anxiety, depression, and fatigue in medical conditions.
External roles and responsibilities
Professor Ruihua Hou is Associate Dean International and Professor of Biological Psychiatry.
Professor Hou qualified in medicine and trained as a psychiatrist. She completed a clinical fellowship followed by her PhD in psychopharmacology, both in the Department of Psychiatry at Queen’s Medical Centre, University of Nottingham. She joined the Department of Psychiatry at Southampton in 2007. She also holds visiting professorships at university hospitals in Shandong and Suzhou in China.
Professor Hou sits on the Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), the largest community of applied neuroscience research and education in Europe. She has developed an international reputation for her research into neuroinflammation in anxiety and received MRC funding to study neuroinflammation in experimentally induced anxiety. She also pioneered the integration of imaging technologies for research into the locus coeruleus funded by the ARUK. This has established Southampton as a recognised centre for studying this key brain stem nucleus. Her research in these fields has led to ongoing international research collaborations. The scientific boards of MRC, NIHR RfPB, and EPSRC seek her expertise for review of research grant proposals. She also sits on several scientific review boards of research grant applications in Europe and China and is a reviewer of over 20 scientific journals. Professor Hou has led a number of research studies in psychiatry as principle investigator and is an editorial board member for Comprehensive Psychiatry, a bimonthly peer-reviewed medical journal established in 1960 and published by Elsevier.
Professor Hou is a strong advocate of internationalisation with a substantial track record of developing international collaborations. She successfully initiated and developed the postgraduate training programme for international psychiatrists in Southampton, launching the first UK-China annual international exchange programme in Psychiatry in 2014. She secured funding for ongoing international research collaborations, working with colleagues overseas to develop research proposals. She also maintains and strengthens international ties as a visiting professor with regular visits to overseas university hospitals, organising international conferences to boost international collaborative efforts for research and education.
Professor Hou is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a panel member for the Professional Recognition of Educator Practice review board. She is the BM(IT) programme lead and the deputy education lead for the school. She is fully involved in key stages of the BM curriculum and received the Dean's Award for Education for developing and leading the 'Introduction to Clinical Medicine in Southampton' module for international medical students. She has set up the first medical elective in China for BM students at Southampton. She leads the Bachelor of Medical Science in psychiatry and delivers lectures, seminars, and tutorials to medical students as well as supervising PhD, MSc, MMedSci, and BMedSci students. She also delivers talks for the Royal College of Psychiatrists CPD training programmes, the NHS Foundation Trust postgraduate training programmes, and workshops on international medical education.
MD Medicine and Surgery, Shandong University, China
MSc Psychiatry, Shandong University, China
PhD Psychopharmacology, University of Nottingham, UK
SFHEA Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK