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Dr Jessica Eccles

Dr Jessica Eccles

Dr Jessica Eccles (MB ChB, Dip(French), MA, MSc, MRCPsych, PhD, PGCert HE)

Reader in Brain-Body Medicine
Location: Trafford Centre for Medical Research, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9RR

PA: Rosie Mulgrue

Areas of expertise: Brain-Body Interactions, Joint hypermobility, Liaison Psychiatry, Neurodevelopmental Conditions, Immunopsychiatry

Research areas: Neuroscience, Mechanisms of chronic pain and fatigue, Psychiatric and neurodevelopmental features of connective tissue disorders 

Other relevant positions: HRP Health and Care Research Training Hub Co-Director

Other websites: Orcid, Linkedin

Twitter: @bendybrain 
Instagram: @drbendybrain

BSMS researchers are hosting a pain and fatigue public engagement event in person on 8 September 2023. Find out more and book here. If you are unable to attend and would like to pose questions to the panel please submit your question here >


Jessica Eccles trained in medicine at University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, completing a BA in The History and Philosophy of Science, sparking a keen interest in philosophy of mind and brain-body interactions, and since graduation from medical school has pursued a combined academic clinical path at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. As an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow she completed her PhD in the relationship between joint hypermobility, autonomic dysfunction and psychiatric symptoms and following an NIHR Academic Clinical Lectureship, and appointment as Senior Clinical Lecturer at BSMS, she is now a Reader in Brain-Body Medicine in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at BSMS. She holds an honorary clinical contract with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust where she works in the Neurodevelopmental Service.

Alongside colleagues, she also set up the Immunopsychiatry service at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and their new neurodivergent brain-body research clinic


Dr Eccles is currently working on an number of grants related to brain-body interactions. These include an Academy of Medical Sciences grant to explore neural connectivity in hypermobility using leading edge Human Connectome Project techniques. Her popluar Academy of Medical Sciences Webcast on exploring the link between joint hypermobility and anxiety is available here >   

She was awarded a prestigious MQ Arthritis Research UK Fellows Award to conduct a randomised clinical trial of a new non-drug targeted treatment for anxiety in hypermobility. This study (ADAPT) has now closed for recruitment. A video exploring some of the insights from Dr Eccles' work on hypermobility and anxiety is available here >

Dr Eccles led a study which found that neurodivergent people are more than twice as likely as the general population to have hypermobile joints and are far more likely to experience pain on a regular basis. Read the full article here, watch her latest webinar here and feature on BBC Radio 4 Inside Health (10 mins in) here >

Dr Eccles has been awarded a grant from Dysautonomia International and will be working with Dr Valeria Iodice, Prof Critchley, Prof Cercignani, Dr Nagai, Dr Asllani, Prof Peter Rowe, Prof Murphy and Dr Giovanni to explore multi-modal correlates of ‘brain fog’ in Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.  This brain imaging study is currently open for recruitment.

Dr Eccles is working with Prof Davies, Prof Harrison, Prof Cercignani, Prof Critchley and Dr Tarzi to explore brain-body interactions in Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. This involves autonomics, inflammatory and cytokine markers, brain imaging and transcriptomics. Read more about this in The Conversation or watch this video. This study is now closed for recruitment and results are being prepared for further publications. Read some of the initial findings here and conclusions here. A video with some initial findings is available here >

Dr Eccles recently recorded a podcast about the relationship between neurodivergence and hypermobility, please listen here and here >

Dr Eccles contributed to a workshop on Long COVID – please watch here >

And Dr Eccles recorded another on hypermobility, fatigue, anxiety and trauma. Listen here >

Overview of hypermobility: Dr Jessica Eccles in conversation with Dawn Marie Solais. Watch here >


Jessica delivers a highly popular SSC entitled ‘Psychiatry and Other Arts’ for Module 202. She has supervised several IRP students and Junior Research Associates and her students regularly win prizes for their work. She lectures and examines on both the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum.  


Csecs, Jenny L L, Dowell, Nicholas G, Savage, Georgia K, Iodice, Valeria, Mathias, Christopher J, Critchley, Hugo D and Eccles, Jessica A (2021) Variant connective tissue (joint hypermobility) and dysautonomia are associated with multimorbidity at the intersection between physical and psychological health. American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1552-4868 

Davies, Geoff, Csecs, Jenny L L, Ball, Heather, Dare, Jess, Bremner, Stephen, Hosking, Robin, Critchley, Hugo D, Grey, Nick and Eccles, Jessica A (2021) Altering Dynamics of Autonomic Processing Therapy (ADAPT) trial: a novel, targeted treatment for reducing anxiety in joint hypermobility. Trials, 22 (1). a645 1-10. ISSN 1745-6215

Sharp, Harriet Emma Clare, Critchley, Hugo D and Eccles, Jessica A (2021) Connecting brain and body: transdiagnostic relevance of connective tissue variants to neuropsychiatric symptom expression. World Journal of Psychiatry, 11 (10). pp. 1-15. ISSN 2220-3206

Ahmed J, Eccles J A. Accuracy of depression score: a positive HADS score may only be the tip of the iceberg BMJ 2021; 373 :n1541 doi:10.1136/bmj.n1541

Eccles, Jessica Anne, Ascott, Anna, McGeer, Rona, Hills, Emma, St. Clair Jones, Anja, Page, Lisa A, Smith, Melissa A, Loewenberger, Alana and Gregory, Jemima (2020) Inflammatory bowel disease psychological support pilot reduces inflammatory bowel disease symptoms and improves psychological wellbeing. Frontline Gastroenterology. pp. 1-4. ISSN 2041-4137

Eccles, Jessica, Thompson, Beth, Themelis, Kristy, Amato, Marisa L, Stocks, Robyn, Pound, Amy, Jones, Anna-Marie, Cipinova, Zdenka, Shah-Goodwin, Lorraine, Timeyin, Jean, Thompson, Charlotte R, Batty, Thomas, Harrison, Neil A, Critchley, Hugo D and Davies, Kevin A (2021) Beyond bones: the relevance of variants of connective tissue (hypermobility) to fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and controversies surrounding diagnostic classification: an observational study. Clinical Medicine, 21 (1). pp. 53-58. ISSN 1470-2118

Eccles, Jessica A and Davies, Kevin A (2021) The challenges of chronic pain and fatigue. Clinical Medicine, 21 (1). pp. 19-27. ISSN 1470-2118

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