I studied psychology as my undergraduate degree at University College London (UCL) and knew I wanted to do a PhD afterwards, but wasn't exactly sure of which area to pursue. I had gained some experience working with different patient populations during my undergraduate degree, and upon graduating, began working as a research worker in the Section of Eating Disorders at King's College London (KCL). I loved the work and team alike, and decided I wanted to pursue a PhD in this area.
I was attracted to the studentships offered by the Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), particularly those that fit with the neuropsychiatry theme, as they offered a wide range of clinically-relevant PhD topics. In addition to this, I knew the students on the BRC studentship programme would be attending monthly training days together, and I liked the idea of networking with PhD students in other departments, as well as my own.
As part of my studentship, I undertook a masters in Neuroimaging. This gave me a valuable opportunity to learn a new skill that is being used increasingly in clinical research. I have now got a support network in the Imaging department which has helped me hugely with my work.
I have also been involved in several public engagement projects, including the creation of a three minute video of one of my projects, where I assisted at the Demonstrating Science events. The aim of this project was to make science more accessible and exciting for school children. Furthermore, I presented a poster at the Youth Takeover Day where young people assume adult roles.
- BSc Psychology, University College London
- MSc Neuroimaging, King's College London
Before the PhD
- Research worker at King's College London (Section of Eating Disorders)
- Befriender at Maytree Respite Centre
- Work Placement at the Roehampton and Twickenham Primary Care Trust, Priory Hospital
- Group facilitator of a student-run self help support group with Student Minds (formerly SRSH)
- Honorary Research Assistant at King's College London, Department of Psychology.
- Group therapy facilitator (SLaM)
- Online therapist (SLaM)
- Research worker on an ongoing randomised controlled trial in our department of two therapies for eating disorders (King's College London)
- Freelance research worker (Social Research Unit, Dartington UK)
An investigation of inhibitory control across the eating disorder spectrum: a useful marker of risk and treatment outcome?
My research is an investigation into how people with eating disorders control their behaviour, and how the neural circuits involved in self-control are affected during the development and treatment of eating disorders.
My research comprises a number of experimental studies involving healthy individuals with a current eating disorder, and studying the different types of self-control that may be involved.
I am also working on a study looking at the development of eating disorder symptoms in a large cohort of adolescents from the community (using data collected as part of the IMAGEN study) and seeing whether brain activity related to self-control is different in those who develop eating disorder symptoms from those who do not.
The final part of my project is a clinical trial of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS: a brain stimulation technique) as a treatment for individuals with severe and enduring anorexia nervosa to see if stimulating areas of the brain involved in self-control can improve symptoms. I also want to understand how symptom improvement relates to changes in brain activity.
These studies fit with the Neuropsychiatry, Clinical Trials and Neuroimaging themes of the BRC. I chose this project as it sounded like a really interesting way to paint a broader picture of how one aspect of behaviour is involved at different stages of illness: from development, to acute illness, through to treatment. This project also allowed me to gain a broad experience of working with patients in a research and clinical setting, with close links to the eating disorder unit at the Maudsley Hospital.