Academic Staff

Prof. Chen

Prof. CHEN Yu Hai, Eric 陳友凱

MA(Oxon), MBChB(Edin), MD(Edin), FRCPsych, FHKAM(Psychiatry)

Chi-Li Pao Foundation Professor in Psychiatry
Chair Professor
Clinical Professor
Department Head
Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist
Director of Psychosis Studies and Intervention Program (PSI), HKU
Director of Jockey Club Early Psychosis Project (JCEP), HKU
Convenor of Early Assessment Service for Psychosis (EASY), Hospital Authority
Chairman of Hong Kong Early Psychosis Intervention Society (EPISO)
Director of Master in Psychological Medicine (Psychosis Studies), HKU
Associate Editor of Early Intervention in Psychiatry
Editorial Board in Schizophrenia Research

Website for Prof Eric Chen
The HKU Scholars Hub Page address:

Psychosis Studies and Intervention Program



Eric Chen has been working on understanding how the human mind could sometimes enter into a pathological state called Psychosis, and how best to help people in that state of mind. Psychosis occurs when the brain system of engaging with reality fails.

EC studied medicine at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities. He received specialist psychiatry training at Nottingham and continued senior training in Cambridge, working with top scientists from the Cambridge University Department of Psychiatry and the Medical Research Council Applied Psychology Unit. There he developed his research interest in cognitive neuroscience approach to psychopathology, in particular schizophrenia and psychosis.

He embarked on the study of brain expressions of psychosis, developed the Cambridge Neurological Inventory.He also developed the use of neurocomputational modelling in the understanding of psychiatric symptoms. Over the years he endeavoured to map out the brain changes by exploring semantic and other cognitive abnormalities (such as executive function disorders) associated with Psychosis.


EC embarked on a number of longitudinal studies on psychotic disorders in Hong Kong. He has led the development of a specialised early intervention service for psychosis in Hong Kong, the internationally recognised EASY service (Hospital Authority). With the EASY service, EC and the team endeavoured to map out the clinical pathways in the initial critical years following psychosis onset. One important piece of knowledge assembled by the team is the role of maintenance treatment following first episode psychosis (published in the BMJ). This addressed a very significant clinical problem and has attracted widespread attention. Another collaborative study (together with Professor William Honer) address the treatment of patients who became treatment refractory (published in the NEJM).

slide4 The HKU PSI Research team led by EC is currently undertaking the following major projects

  1. Model and Outcome of Adult Early Psychosis Intervention (JCEP)
  2. Optimal length of critical period intervention in early psychosis (EASY-3)
  3. 10 year follow up study of sustained effects of early intervention (HCS-10)
  4. Prodrome intervention study: reduction of psychosis onset by omega-3 fatty acid (multi-center Neurapro Study)
  5. Cognitive Neuroscience of Delusion of Reference and Disorder of agency
  6. Yoga and Aerobic Exercise effects on Brain and Cognition in first episode psychosis

EC has published over 200 research articles, including 1 book and over 10 book chapters. These articles has appeared in top medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, and the British Medical Journal.

Research Interests:

Early intervention for psychosis

  • Early detection and treatment of psychosis, optimal treatment for first and second episode psychosis, critical period management, factors affecting relapse and functional outcome

Cognitive Neuroscience of schizophrenia

  • Using cognitive neuroscience methods to study brain dysfunctions in schizophrenia, including memory, attention, motor and executive functions, as well as innovative approaches to language and communicative processes.

Cognitive and experiential aspects of psychopathology

  • Studies addressing the formation of symptoms in psychosis. Particular focus on early psychotic symptoms and insight, subjective experience of psychosis.

Suicide studies

  • Factorings associated with suicidal ideation in early psychosis, psychological autopsy studies

Selected Publication list

1. Leung, C.M., Stone, W.S., Lee, E.H., Seidman, L.J. & Chen, E.Y. Impaired facilitation of self-control cognition by glucose in patients with schizophrenia: a randomized controlled study. Schizophr Res 156, 38-45 (2014).
2. Hui, C. L. M., Wong, G. H. Y., Tang, J. Y. M., Chang, W. C., Chan, S. K. K., Lee, E. H. M.,...& Chen, E. Y. H. (2013). Predicting 1-year risk for relapse in patients who have discontinued or continued quetiapine after remission from first-episode psychosis. Schizophrenia Research, 150(1), 297-302.
3. Chang, W. C., Hui, C. L. M., Tang, J. Y. M., Wong, G. H. Y., Chan, S. K. W., Lee, E. H. M.,& Chen, E. Y. H. (2013). Impacts of duration of untreated psychosis on cognitive and negative symptoms in first-episode schizophrenia: a three-year prospective follow-up study. Psychological Medicine, 43(9), 1883-1893.
4. Hui, C. L. M., Longenecker, J. M., Wong, G. H. Y., Tang, J. Y. M., Chang, W. C., Chan, K. W.,…& Chen E. Y. H. (2012) Longitudinal changes in semantic categorization performance after symptomatic remission from first-episode psychosis: A 3-year follow-up study, Schizophrenia Research, 137(1-3), 118-123.
5. Chan, K. K. S., Xu, J. Q., Liu, K. C. M., Hui, C. L. M., Wong, G. H. Y., & Chen, E. Y. H. (2012). Executive function in first-episode schizophrenia: A three-year prospective study of the Hayling Sentence Completion Test. Schizophrenia Research, 135(1), 62-67.
6. Chan, K. K. S., & Chen, E. Y. H. (2011). Theory of mind and paranoia in schizophrenia: A game theoretical investigation framework. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 16(6), 505-529.
7. Cheung, V., Chiu, C. P. Y., Law, C. W., Cheung, C., Hui, C. L. M., Chan, K. K. S., ... & Chen, E. (2011). Positive symptoms and white matter microstructure in never-medicated first episode schizophrenia. Psychological Medicine, 41(08), 1709-1719.
8. Chen, E. Y. H., Hui, C. L. M., Lam, M. M. L., Chiu, C. P. Y., Law, C. W., Chung, D. W. S., ... & Honer, W. G. (2010). Maintenance treatment with quetiapine versus discontinuation after one year of treatment in patients with remitted first episode psychosis: randomised controlled trial. BMJ: British Medical Journal, 341, c4024.
9. Chen, E. Y. H., Wong, G. H. Y., Hui, C. L. M., Tang, J. Y. M., Chiu, C. P. Y., Lam, M. M. L., & Sham, P. C. (2009). Phenotyping psychosis: Room for neurocomputational and content-dependent cognitive endophenotypes? Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 14(4-5), 451-472.
10. Honer, W. G., Thornton, A. E., Chen, E. Y. H., Chan, R. C. K., Wong, J. O. Y., Bergmann, A., ... & Procyshyn, R. (2006). Clozapine alone versus clozapine and risperidone with refractory schizophrenia. New England Journal of Medicine, 354(5), 472-482

Publication list