Γεννήθηκα το 1965 στην Αθήνα όπου και μεγάλωσα. Σπούδασα Φυσική στην Αγγλία στο Imperial College of Science. Εκεί αποφάσισα οτι να αφιερωθώ στην ιατρική, και έτσι αφού πήρα το πτυχίο Φυσικής, πήγα στο Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School. Εκείνη την εποχή παντρεύτηκα την γυναίκα μου, την Πάμ Κρέσουελ. Η πρωτότοκή μας κόρη ήταν η Ειρήνη, που την ονομάσαμε έτσι μιάς και γεννήθηκε στις 28 Οκτωβρίου. Λίγο μετά γεννήθηκε και ο γιός μας Πέτρος. Η Πάμ είναι επαγγελματίας μουσικός - παίζει έγχορδα, ιδίως βιόλα της εποχής μπαρόκ. Εργάζεται και ως καθηγήτρια εγχόρδων στην πόλη μας. H Ειρήνη έχει τελειώσει graphic design & illustration και σχεδιάζει βιντεοπαιχνίδια. Εκείνη έφτιαξε αυτές εδώ τις ιστοσελίδες! Ο Πέτρος παίζει κλασσική μουσική, (γαλλικό κόρνο), και σπουδάζει σύνθεση. Στενή συγγενής είναι επίσης η αδελφή μου η Ανν. Σπούδασε φυσικός και μένει κυρίως στην Ελβετία με τον άνδρα της και τα δύο παιδιά της. Η μητέρα μου η Άλεξ, που ζωγραφίζε θαυμάσιες θαλασσογραφίες, μένει στην Αθήνα.
I was born 1965 in Athens, where I grew up. I came to England to pursue a degree in physics at Imperial College London. Despite finding physics extremely beautiful, I decided to change to become a psychiatrist - so I studied medicine. Upon completing my physics degree, enrolled at Charing Cross. In the meantime, I married my wife Pamela Moutoussi and had our children Eireni and Peter. Pam is an orchestral viola player who specialized in early music. In latter years she has focused on string teaching. Eireni, who was born in '93, completed a degree in Visual Design and a Masters in Games Art, intending to go into the games industry. They put this website together! Peter was born in '96 and is also a classical musician. He has graduated on the French Horn from the Royal Academy of Music and also composes. My sister Ann Moutoussi-Teubert trained as a physcisist and lives in Switzerland with her husband and two young children, and my mother Alex Moutoussi in Athens who creates remarkable still life and seascape oil paintings.
My first love in science was Physics. I find quantum mechanics (QM) in particular breath-takingly beautiful. If Aladin's lamp Genie asked me for three wishes one of them would surely be that every child in the world is given a glimpse of how beautiful quantum mechanics is. Maybe the Ginie would give everybody Feynmann's tiny book of popular lectures 'QED'. I left Physics for psychiatry, but thankfully the 'physics mentality' never left me.
There are some people that as well as being admirable scientists, were also kind and helpful to me, long before the turning point which was my PhD. These were scientists that I have great affection for. These Arun Holden (Nonlinear dynamics, Leeds), Max Lab (Heart Physiology, London), Walter Freeman (Neuroscience, Philosophy ... ) David Frost (Psychiatry, Complex systems, Film; London) and Martin Orrell (Psychiatry, London). I am grateful to them all. However the people that first taught me to love science were Messrs Papachristou, Aggeletos, Michalas, Telionis and Charalambis, all of Athens College.
A physics mentality hasnt' been easy to live with in biomedicine, let alone psychiatry, but it is extremely interesting and creative. The first field that made a link between the two for me was nonlinear - complex systems. Different subfields of this have had their time in the limelight in the last 40 years, so I'll lump them all together and call them nonlinear dynamics. The person who influenced me most in this field is Prof. Walter Freeman, of UC Berkeley. His experimentally-derived mathematical description of collective dynamics of the olfactory system is just so profound.
My long-term interest is, of course, to help bring this background (unification of different fields; mathematical description; experimental disprovability; computer modelling; theoretical elegance; philosophical enquiry) to psychiatry. My first interesting steps was to look at computer modelling of some aspects of attention. I was lucky to have the support of Martin Orrell and Robin Morris in applying this work to the question of my first computational psychiatry MSc thesis, back in '99:
This was inspired by evidence that attention-demanding tasks involve coordination of neuroactivity between cortical areas . It hypothesized that Alzheimer's disease causes executive dysfunction partly through functional dysconnection of cortical modules. This is not only a matter of loss of fibres but also of dynamical changes, also brought about by neuromodulator changes altering gain properties.
What appears really fascinating is the probable role of transitions between different, relatively coherent states of neuroactivity as one's mental state evolves. It is not unlikely that aspects of mental (micro-)states (especially percepts: certainly sensory ones, but possibly also phenomenal 'frames' more generally) emerge as semi-attracting sets for neuroactivity trajectories. As far as psychiatry is concerned, 'psychopathology' has often been described in terms of a succession of mental states. Classic examples are the 'vicious cycles' of emotion-cognition in the cognitive-behavioural formulation of depression or the 'delusional atmosphere giving rise to a delusional percept' of descriptive psychopathology. It is extremely tempting to see such phenomena in dynamical terms: Trajectories of neuroactivity, a set of fast variables, flow from one phase space configuration to another in transitions of the order of a second. Transitions are trajectories in a landscape shaped by slow variables (e.g. neurally-implemented emotion or arousal : minutes-hours) or very slow variables (e.g. neurally-implemented temperament, childhood experience, Alzheimer's disease). Such a view renders obsolete, of course, distinctions between nurture/nature or understandable/ununderstandable by providing a unifying framework. The challenge here would be to find out how, for example, 'slow' variables associated with depression are neurally implemented so as to direct transitions in particular ways (e.g. 'they rejected my paper'-> 'I'm an irrelevancy' -> 'I'll never get anywhere' -> 'I could just as well be dead' -> ... ).