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I graduated with BSc Honours in Psychology at University College of London (2003) Since then, I worked at Astrazeneca, where I become interested in the psychiatric aspects of schizophrenia, working closely with the drug quetiapine. I later moved to South America, Brazil to spend 6 months working on various projects and interests out there. I had some interesting contacts with young and older people with mental health and drug abuse issues, in the shanty towns. This first contact with clinical work and research fuelled my interest in mental health. I was fascinated by schizophrenia, from a behavioural and neurological point of view. Asking myself questions like: How do people hear voices - how does it happen in the brain? Is there a difference in emotional responses in the brain to different things? Also, I wanted to understand more about the actual experiences of a person with schizophrenia. People always want to know why. Is it in the brain? What is happening there?
I spent 4 months working as a volunteer at University of Manchester. During this time I was going around different hospital wards, throughout Manchester, and also visiting outpatients in their homes, running various Psychological assessments. This unique contact with different individuals allowed me to begin to have some insight into the illness and the realities for people living with it. I am very interested in the interaction between environmental and family issues and the actual brain activity that is going on for people with schizophrenia. This has led me to now start working towards a PhD, understanding more about the neuronal responses in aggressive/ impulsive behaviour - which is my next area of interest, whilst staying working with this project.
I think this research will help us to understand more about how brain responses may differ for people with schizophrenia. This adds to the research understanding the effect of the family environment, which can add to the literature of therapeutic support for families. A detection of differences in the brain, can potentially lead to finding a set neuronal patterns that can predict schizotype behaviour.
The main difficulty is finding people to take part. Some people are really interested in this type of research but others are unsure what it all involves. I work around hospitals in Manchester meeting patients who are currently on the wards or in rehab - because I run different types of assessments with them for other research projects. I have also met some people who attend the depot and clozapine clinics. They agree to take part and then I think once they have gone home to think about it they get a bit nervous about the whole thing. What is the best way for me to approach this? I am keen to get feedback....