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Paul Ramchandani


LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767573


  • D.Phil. Developmental Psychopathology (University of Oxford)
  • M.Sc. Public Health (LSHTM, University of London)
  • M.Med.Sc.(University of Leeds)
  • MRCPsych (Royal College of Psychiatrists)
  • B.M. (University of Southampton)

Recognition (Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations)

  • Visiting Professor, Imperial College London
  • Practitioner Review Editor, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry

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Paul Ramchandani is LEGO® Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning at Cambridge University, UK. He leads a research team investigating the role of play in children’s early development. He also works as a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist in the UK National Health Service.

He trained as a doctor in Southampton before obtaining a degree in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He then completed training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and obtained a DPhil from Oxford University in 2005. Prior to taking up his appointment in Cambridge in January 2018, Paul led the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Group at Imperial College London.

Paul's research is focussed on early child development and he has a particular interest in how we give children the best start in life, including the prevention of emotional and behavioural difficulties. Much of this work has explored the role of fathers, as well as mothers, in children’s lives and development. This research has been supported by Fellowships awarded by the MRC and Wellcome Trust and by substantive grant funding from the National Institute of Health Research.

He works with a multi-disciplinary team including expertise in psychology, neuroscience, education, and psychiatry. Details of the current work of the team, and recent publications can be found at the PEDAL website and the pPOD website.

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Play in Children’s Learning and Development
  • Early intervention to promote positive child mental health
  • Parental playfullness and play in the early years
  • Parents and children’s mental health
  • The role of play and creative therapies in children’s mental health

Prospective PhD Applications

I will be supervising PhD students

  • MPhil in Education and Psychology

Current Research Project(s)

  1. Parental playfulness and the development of play in children’s lives (Lego Foundation)
  2. Healthy Start Happy Start. Reducing enduring behavioural problems in young children: a randomised controlled trial of a Video Feedback intervention -ViPP-SD. (National Institute of Health Research – NIHR HTA)
  3. An investigation of music to promote the mental health of pregnant women in The Gambia (ESRC/MRC – led by Professor Lauren Stewart, Goldsmiths University, London)
  4. Developing an intervention to reduce maternal anxiety during pregnancy (National Institute of Health Research – NIHR RfPB)
  5. Use of Video Feedback based therapy for foster carers (National Institute of Health Research – NIHR HTA – led by Professor Pasco Fearon, UCL)

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Principal and Recent Publications

Sethna V, Murray L, Edmondson O, Iles J, Ramchandani PG. (2018). Depression and playfulness in fathers and young infants: A matched design comparison study. J Affect Disord. 3;229:364-370.

Crawford MJ, Gold C, Odell-Miller H, Thana L, Faber S, Assmus J, Bieleninik Ł, Geretsegger M, Grant C, Maratos A, Sandford S, Claringbold A, McConachie H, Maskey M, Mössler KA, Ramchandani P, Hassiotis A. (2017). International multicentre randomised controlled trial of improvisational music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder: TIME-A study. Health Technol Assess. 21(59):1-40.

Barker B, Iles JE, Ramchandani PG. (2017). Fathers, fathering and child psychopathology.Curr Opin Psychol. 15:87-92.

Sethna V, Perry E, Domoney J, Iles J, Psychogiou L, Rowbotham NEL, Stein A, Murray L, Ramchandani PG. (2017). Father-child interactions at 3 months and 24 months: contributions to children's cognitive development at 24 months. Infant Ment Health J. 38(3):378-390.

Herba CM, Glover V, Ramchandani PG, Rondon MB. (2016). Maternal depression and mental health in early childhood: an examination of underlying mechanisms in low-income and middle-income countries. Lancet Psychiatry. (16)30148-1

Braithwaite EC, Kundakovic M, Ramchandani PG, Murphy SE, Champagne FA. (2015). Maternal prenatal depressive symptoms predict infant NR3C1 1F and BDNF IV DNA methylation. Epigenetics 10(5):408-417.

Gutierrez-Galve L, Stein A, Hanington L, Heron J, Ramchandani PG. (2015). Mediators and Moderators of the association between Paternal Depression in the Postnatal Period and Child Development. Pediatrics 135:339-347.

Verkujl N, Richter L, Norris S, Stein A, Avan B, Ramchandani PG. (2014). Postnatal depressive symptom and child psychological development at age 10 years: a prospective study of longitudinal data from the South African Birth to Twenty cohort. Lancet Psychiatry 1(6):454-460.

Fernandes M, Stein A, Srinivasan K, Menezes G, Renton M, Zani J, Ramchandani PG.(2014). Maternal depression and foetal responses to novel stimuli: insights from a socio-economically disadvantaged Indian cohort. J Dev Orig Health Dis. 5(3):178-82.

Ramchandani PG, Domoney J, Sethna V, Psychogiou L, Vlacho H, Murray L. (2013). Do early father-infant interactions predict the onset of externalizing problems in young children? Findings from a longitudinal cohort study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 54(1):56-64.

Ramchandani P, Stein A, Evans J, O’Connor TG, the ALSPAC study team.(2005). Paternal Depression in the postnatal period and child development: a prospective population study. The Lancet 365:3201-3205.