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Current PhD Students

Jo Blodgett, UCL MRC Studentship

Research interests

  • Physical capability
  • Balance
  • Cognitive function
  • Ageing
  • Life course epidemiology
  • Frailty

Current research
Balance is an underappreciated aspect of physical capability and well-being, despite underlying the majority of day to day tasks. Although there is a clear relationship between the ageing process and balance ability, there is little evidence examining how life course factors contribute to balance.

My research project will use a life course perspective to explore how factors in early and mid-life contribute to balance performance from age 53 onwards in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development.

Biography
Appointments
2015-2017: Research Associate, University of Manchester/ North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
2014-2015: Research Assistant, Geriatric Medicine Research, Dalhousie University, Canada

Qualifications
2012-2014: MSc in Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Canada
2009-2012: BSc Honours in Neuroscience, Dalhousie University, Canada

Aradhna Kaushal, UCL MRC Studentship

Research interests

  • Mental health
  • Wellbeing
  • Lifecourse epidemiology
  • Public health
  • Health services research
  • Social determinants of health
  • Public engagement and science communication

Current research
There is some evidence that religious attendance, beliefs and practices are associated with positive outcomes for mental health; however there is a scarcity of longitudinal studies in this area.

My research will use the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (1946 British Birth cohort) has repeated measures of religious attendance, mental health and wellbeing. This unique dataset will enable me to investigate the lifetime influences of religion and spirituality, on mental health and wellbeing in older age.

Biography
Appointments
2011-2014: Research Worker, Promoting Early Presentation Group and Informed Choice about Cancer Screening, King’s College London

Qualifications
2010-2011: MSc in Psychiatric Research, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London
2008-2009: PGCE in Science (Biology), University of Keele
2005-2008: BSc Honours in Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Keele

Fran Harkness, UCL MRC Studentship

Research interests

  • Psychological resilience for physiological outcomes 
  • Public health
  • The discord between health knowledge and health behaviours
  • Social determinants of health
  • Functional ability in older age

Current research
There is evidence that perceived personal control is associated with healthy ageing. Particularly, a conceptualisation of it termed, ‘personal mastery’ (Pearlin, 1978). However more work is needed to establish the lifelong determinants of mastery, as well as clarification of the mediators and moderators most relevant in the association between mastery and downstream outcomes.

My research will use the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (1946 British Birth cohort). This unique dataset will enable me to investigate lifetime influences on perceived personal control, and its own influence on health and wellbeing in older age.

Biography
Appointments
2014-2015: Research Worker in Primary Care, Warwick Medical School
2010-2013: NHS Psychiatric Recovery Worker

Qualifications
2011-2012: Introduction to Counselling and Psychotherapy, Tavistock and Portman NHS
2008-2009: MSc in Research Methods, Goldsmiths, University of London
2005-2008: BSc in Psychology, University of Sheffield

Alison Sizer, ESRC Studentship

Research interests

  • Cognitive ageing / decline
  • Social determinants of health
  • Lifecourse epidemiology

Current research
Research indicates that non-employment is associated with health outcomes. It is possible that a similar association will exist in relation to cognitive function and decline in early-late midlife, with those who have experienced non-employment for longer showing lower cognitive function and faster rates of cognitive decline. My current research uses longitudinal data from the National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) and English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to investigate the association between cognitive function/ decline and non-employment, and also whether cognitive function/ decline varies with the type of activity carried out when non-employed (e.g. in education/training; home maker; unemployed and actively looking for work; sick/ disabled; other)

Biography
Qualifications
MSc Social Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL
MA Education and International Development , Institute of Education, University of London
BSc Geography, St Andrews University

Ula Tymoszuk, LLHW Crucible Studentship