a centenary
of Learning

  • 54
  • by Katherine Button
  • graduated 2009
  • studied MEd in Psychology of Education
  • from UK

Studying for a MEd and getting a job as a researcher were the inspiration for applying for a PhD.

I received a BA (first) in Neuroscience from Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge in 2005. I then came to the Graduate School of Education (GSoE) at the University of Bristol in 2006 to study for a MEd in Psychology of Education. I choose the University of Bristol (UoB) because I wanted a psychology conversion course accredited by British Psychological Society as I was considering a career in clinical psychology and Bristol offers one of the few conversion courses that confer a Master’s degree.

During this time I worked as a researcher on a large clinical trial of psychotherapy for depression in primary care in the Department of Community Based Medicine at the University of Bristol. I found the GSoE very supportive and accommodating, especially when I changed from full to part-time once I started working as a research assistant. Sara Meadows was a lovely dissertation supervisor and I enjoyed our discussions immensely. Studying for a MEd and getting a job as a researcher were the inspiration for applying for a PhD.

I was awarded a distinction for my MEd in 2009 and started a Medical Research Council (MRC) funded PhD in Psychiatry in the School of Social and Community Medicine. The mentorship of Professors Glyn Lewis and Marcus Munafo, my supervisors during my PhD, were generous, inspiring, motivating and fun.

In 2013 I completed my PhD in Psychiatry and I am now an early career researcher, using multidisciplinary methods to investigate the cognitive mechanisms of common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. I am particularly interested in how automatic cognitions contribute to anxiety and depression and how these automatic cognitions can be targeting therapeutically.

During my PhD I found evidence for abnormal social learning in social anxiety. I have recently been awarded an UoB-MRC Centenary Award Fellowship to use fMRI to examine the brain mechanisms underlying this social learning deficit. The next step following this award is to translate these experimental findings into clinical application; a project for which I am currently applying for funding.

My proudest recent achievement has been my contribution to the article [HTML_REMOVED]Power failure: Why small sample size undermines the reliability of neuroscience[HTML_REMOVED] which has just been published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.