Barcelona snapshots

Prof. Eduard Vieta

Eduard Vieta psychiatrist Controversies Psiquiatry Barcelona
Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
Talk Precision psychopharmacology
Date Friday, April 21st, 2023
Time 18:50 - 19:35
Round Table 4 Precision in drug therapy


Eduard Vieta is Professor of Psychiatry and Chair at the University of Barcelona, and Head of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Hospital Clínic, Barcelona, Spain, where he also leads the Bipolar and Depressive Disorders Program. His unit is one of the worldwide leaders in clinical care, teaching and research on affective disorders and precision psychiatry. He is also Scientific Director of the Spanish Research Network on Mental Health (CIBERSAM).

Professor Vieta has received various awards, including: the Aristotle Award, the Mogens Schou Award by the International Society of Bipolar Disorders, the Colvin Prize by the Brain & Behavior Foundation, the Clinical Neuroscience Lilly award by the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the Simon Bolivar Award by the American Psychiatric Association, the Excellence Award by the College of Physicians, the Trueta Award by the Medical Sciences Academy, and the Dissemination and Humanities Award by the University of Barcelona. He has been named best psychiatrist in Spain (Monitor Sanitario, El Español), is an honorary member of the Spanish Society of Biological Psychiatry and has also been awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Valencia. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Catalonia.

Professor Vieta has authored more than 1,000 original articles, 500 book chapters and 50 books. His h-index is 144, he has over 80,000 citations and his papers have had over 700,000 downloads. He is the most cited author worldwide on bipolar disorder, has been listed as one of the “World’s most influential minds” and is oin the Best Doctors list by Forbes. Furthermore, he is Editor-in-Chief of European Neuropsychopharmacology, has served as Invited Professor at McLean Hospital and Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA and as Neuroscience Scientific Advisor to the European Presidency.


Precision Psychiatry is the modern term for personalized medicine as applied to mental health care (Vieta, 2015). Being complex illnesses, mental disorders have much to gain from the new approach that precision psychiatry represents (Salagre and Vieta, 2021). Like diabetes or hypertension, mental disorders are also polygenic disorders related to genes with pleiotropic effects. It follows that the study of large sets of genetic markers distributed across the genome is much more aligned with the characteristics of mental disorders. Hence, Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have provided substantial empirical data on the genetic architecture of mental disorders (Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, 2019), while the use of polygenic risk scores has added important insights, The chronic nature that most often characterize mental disorders, together with the presence of subthreshold alterations preceding the full-blown clinical relapse, makes mental disorders perfect candidates for smartphone-based ecological momentary assessments strategies and other digital strategies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also made clear that psychiatric outcomes usually emerge as the result of the combination of environmental stressors and biological predisposition, that can be augmented by psychological factors. In consequence, these disorders will be better understood by models that integrate several levels of biological and non-biological information, including clinical and environmental factors combined with neuroimaging and omics biomarkers (Salagre et al., 2018). Furthermore, considering the substantial clinical and biological overlap between current DSM-5 diagnosis, translating a lack of clear relationship between DSM-5 diagnosis and biological phenotypes, moving towards a new taxonomy of disease based on the combination of the genotype and phenotype would be of the upmost importance in psychiatry.

Precision Psychopharmacology, hence, is the branch of Precision Psychiatry devoted to identifying the right treatment for the right patient at the right time, and ideally at the right dose. Although biomarkers are not reliable and specific enough yet, the field is moving forward beyond the traditional clinical paradigm, integrating several dimensions and neurobiology (Vieta & Salagre, 2021). Hence, precision psychopharmacology will be the standard of care in the coming decades, integrating biological information with clinical features and shaping predictive biosignatures.


[Full paper] Vieta, E. (2015). Personalised medicine applied to mental health: Precision psychiatry. Rev. Psiquiatr. Salud Ment. 8.

[Full paper] Salagre, E., and Vieta, E. (2021). Commentary on Kohne & van Os on Precision Psychiatry. Psychol. Med. 14:1-3.

[Full paper] Cross-Disorder Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium.(2019). Genomic Relationships, Novel Loci, and Pleiotropic Mechanisms across Eight Psychiatric Disorders. Cell 179, 1469-1482.

[Full paper] Salagre, E., ..., Vieta, E., et al. (2018). Toward Precision Psychiatry in Bipolar Disorder: Staging 2.0. Front. Psychiatry 9, 641.

[Full paper] Vieta E, Salagre E. Misunderstanding precision psychiatry. Psychol Med. 2021 Jul;51(9):1418-1419.