Tell us about your background in psychology and the path that led you to working at UCLan
I have studied psychology in Kiel, Germany, before completing my PhD in Hamburg, at the Center of Neuro-immunological Multiple Sclerosis research. I have always had a keen interest in the biological side of psychology as well as working with people with chronic conditions and trying to increase their quality of life. This led me to complete my first postdoc at King’s College, London, where I have worked in a great team to develop self-management interventions for people with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. I went on to become a lecturer at UCLan because alongside my passion for research, I wanted to share the knowledge that I have gained with future scientists, psychologists, and medics.
What was it about UCLan that appealed to you?
UCLan has excellent facilities and is very research-active with many researchers willing to involve students in real-life experiments and studies. Students at UCLan gain both practical skills as well as theoretical knowledge. UCLan is very dedicated to widening participation, which I am very supportive of as a current and previous tutor of the Brilliant Club.
What is your career highlight to date?
The first time that I isolated immune cells from blood to conduct psychological experiments.
Which area of psychology fascinates you the most and why?
I think the bio-psycho-social approach is a very fascinating one. Also I am passionate about developing and trialling new interventions to empower chronically ill people to self-manage and designing interventions in a way that is ‘reality-proof’.
What are your teaching responsibilities?
I am currently teaching on a wide variety of different modules, ranging from stats workshops to Health Psychology. I am hoping to get across my enthusiasm for the topic by offering my personal view, whilst providing enough evidence so students can come up with their own ideas, theories and opinions. Teaching how to think critically rather than what to think captures it well.
What is the best part of being a University lecturer in general?
The great thing is that you don’t only get to do your own research, but you get to tell and teach young aspiring psychologists-to-be about chances, risks and practicalities. I personally have found learning from those people that are on the frontline of research most helpful when I went to uni.
What would your advice be for any psychology students starting in September?
Go to every lecture, seminar and find out what you’re not so interested in and what does inspire you to go above and beyond what the course requires you to pass - sometimes that can be something you might not have expected. I, for instance, always wanted to become a clinical psychologist, but discovered a completely different career path for myself, inspired by an excellent lecture on the topic of Psychobiology.