Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit 2022
Prof. Essi Viding, PhD
Prof. Eamon McCrory, PhD, DClinPsy
Our research programme aims to combine multiple methods in order to understand the emergence of developmental psychopathology. Essi’s primary research focus is the study of different developmental pathways to persistent antisocial behaviour. Eamon’s primary research focus is the study of how childhood adversity can increase latent vulnerability to later mental health problems. We both, however, work closely across both research themes and are increasingly interested in how both risk and protective factors interact across development.
I joined the DRRU as a Lecturer in October 2021 to support the implementation of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Strategy chaired by Prof. Essi Viding, to co-convene on the Genes and Behaviours course, and to conduct research on the etiological influences and mechanisms that may lead to negative social interactions. I obtained a BSc in Neuropsychological Sciences and Techniques from the University of Turin, Italy, and a MSc in Neuroscience and Neuropsychological Rehabilitation from the University of Padua, Italy. I then completed a PhD in Psychology at Åbo Akademi University, Finland, where my research primarily focused on the genetic and environmental influences on the variance and covariance of various forms of victimization. I also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, where my work mainly involved using brain stimulation to improve neurocognitive deficits associated with offending. The broader goal of my research is to disentangle biological and environmental factors that may increase risk of experiencing and/or perpetrating interpersonal violence, to ultimately improve prevention.
During my PhD at the University of Frankfurt, Germany, I focused on the neural mechanisms of cognitive flexibility and stability using behavioural, fMRI and computational modelling methods. After the completion of my training as a clinical psychotherapist at the University of Frankfurt, I joined the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit in 2017 to investigate the neurocognitive systems constituting latent vulnerability for mental health problems following early life adversity, how they can be measured, and their neurobiological underpinnings. The long-term aim of my research is to help to identify those children who are in most need of help and to inform the development of prevention methods to promote resilience. white spac
After completing my B.A. at the George Washington University (Washington D.C.), I worked as a research assistant in the Section on Development and Affective Neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) investigating the neurobiology of adolescent mood and anxiety disorders. I then completed my PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London in 2017, using fMRI to study shared and disorder-specific neurofunctional abnormalities related to executive function in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I joined the DRRU in September 2017 as a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral fellow supervised by Prof. Essi Viding at UCL, Prof. Ahmad Hariri (Duke University) and Dr. Isabelle Mareshcal (Queen Mary). My project uses structural equation modelling in multidimensional data (e.g. fMRI, DTI, neurocognitive, genetic, clinical) as well as computational methods (e.g. computational modelling, psychophysics) to examine individual differences in the mechanisms of affective processing. I am particularly interested in developing more sensitive measures of these differences to study how psychiatric traits develop across adolescence.
I completed my PhD in Psychology at Royal Holloway, University of London, where I examined cognitive development in adolescence using a combination of behavioural tasks and computational modelling. Prior to this I obtained an MSc in Psychology from the University of Westminster and a BSc in Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Hertfordshire. I joined the DRRU in 2022 to work on the UKRI-funded Re-SET project, led by Prof. Essi Viding and Prof. Pasco Fearon. The aim of this project is to develop a novel, transdiagnostic mental health intervention to prevent the onset of psychopathology in adolescence. I am particularly interested in understanding features of cognition that are associated with psychopathology and whether they are amenable to intervention, with the long-term aim of improving outcomes for young people at risk of developing psychopathology.
I joined the UKRI-funded Re-SET project (led by Prof. Essi Viding and Prof. Pasco Fearon) as a postdoctoral research fellow in March 2022. My role on this project is focused more on the social network and longitudinal data analysis. Prior to joining the team, I completed my PhD in Psychology at King’s College London, as well as a Masters in Counselling Psychology at NCTU in Taiwan and a BSc in Psychology at McGill University in Canada. Using structural equation modelling and network analysis, my PhD project investigated how early child characteristics predict later-life outcomes across different domains (i.e. interpersonal, mental health, socioeconomic).
I joined the DRRU in Sept 2021 as a Research Coordinator for The ReSET project – building resilience through socio-emotional training. Prior to this, I obtained a BSc in Psychology and Criminology from University of Lincoln, followed by an MSC in Developmental Disorders at Lancaster University. I worked as a Research Assistant at Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit, studying single-sided deafness in adulthood, followed by a role at University of Leicester on the SHIPS study – Screening to improve Health In very Preterm infantS. I then joined UCL in 2018 as a Research Assistant on the Surrey Communication and Language in Education study (SCALES), a longitudinal cohort study to examine language development from school entry to Year 8.
I joined the DRRU in 2018 as a PhD student funded by the Medical Research Council. During my PhD I will be exploring the socio-cognitive mechanisms underlying challenging behaviour in young adolescents using a range of methods. Prior to joining the DRRU I studied BSc Psychology at UCL, during which time I also worked as a research assistant in the Social Perception Research Group at City University of London. Following this, I completed a Dual Masters degree in Brain and Mind sciences between UCL, the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, and the Ecole Normale Supèrieure in Paris. I subsequently spent a year working as a research assistant and translator in the Babylab of the Université Paris Descartes.
After completing an MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences, I worked as a research assistant at the Division of Psychiatry across a range of different mental health service research projects. In 2020 I was offered a place on the UCL Wellcome 4-year PhD in Mental Health Science programme. During my first year on the programme, I am undertaking rotation projects with different research groups at the Institute of Mental Health across a range of exciting disciplines within mental health science research. At the DRRU I will be working with the team to investigate how certain neurocognitive systems are implicated in the development of mental health problems following childhood adversity. I am particularly interested in the development of mental health problems in children and adolescents, and how we can identify trans-diagnostic mechanisms to inform effective prevention and early intervention strategies.
I joined the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit in 2021 as a PhD student on the Developmental Neuroscience and Mental Health programme. Prior to this, I completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at King’s College London where I undertook a placement year working as a research assistant investigating the effects of trauma in a male prison population. After my undergrad, I completed an MRes in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology across UCL, the Anna Freud Center and Yale University where I focused my masters thesis on the computational mechanisms of trust in borderline personality disorder. Currently, my interests relate to child maltreatment and the neurocomputational mechanisms underpinning learning, memory and social cognition across development and psychiatric disorders, and the process of leveraging these mechanisms to promote successful therapeutic change.
I returned to the DRRU as a research assistant in September 2018 after graduating from the University of Bath with a BSc in Psychology in July. During the penultimate year of my undergraduate degree, I completed a placement year at the DRRU. I am currently involved with both projects at the lab, using both fMRI and behavioural measures. The first is investigating reward processing in children with behavioural difficulties and the second is exploring how childhood adversity may later affect emotional and cognitive functioning, in terms of both psychological resilience and vulnerability. I am also completing my MSc in Forensic Mental Health at King’s College London. I am particularly interested in investigating empathy and psychopathy in terms of neural activity and how their development can be influenced by certain risk factors.
I joined the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit in January 2022 as a research assistant. Prior to joining the lab, I completed my BSc in Applied Psychology at the University of Kent, during which time I worked within a Neurodevelopmental and Learning Disabilities Service within CAMHS. Following this, I completed a MSc in Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology in September 2021 at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) within King’s College London (KCL). Here, I gained experience as an honorary research assistant within the Computational Developmental Neuroscience Lab (IoPPN, KCL), whilst also working as a teaching assistant within a Special Educational Needs primary school. I am particularly interested in the impact of childhood adversity on emotional development and the development of internalising mental health problems, particularly for children who have experienced emotional abuse and neglect.
Dr. Philip Shaw
Dr. Gregory L. Wallace