Women Working In Mental Health Research

Internationally, 33.3% of researchers are women, so at MQ we are incredibly proud to say that we fund male and female researchers equally. On the eve of International Women’s Day (March 8), we celebrate the women who make up 50% of our researchers and their pioneering work.

Women working on preventions and interventions

Dr. Susanne Ahmari (USA) identified brain activity related to obsessive behaviors, the first step towards developing new treatments for OCD in 2013.

In 2014, Dr. Andrea Reinecke (UK) developed a life-changing intervention for panic disorder that combined CBT and a blood pressure medication into one treatment that was only necessary.

Professor Petra Vértes (UK) used genetics to improve understanding of the biological underpinnings of schizophrenia in 2017.

In 2017, Dr. Claire Llewellyn (United Kingdom) identified some childhood eating behaviors as potentially predisposing risk factors for the future onset of eating disorders.

Dr Ruchika Gajwani (UK) is working to improve the detection and diagnosis of young people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) from 2021.

Women who work to help children and young people

In 2014, Professor Helen Fisher (UK) discovered the key factors leading to the development of psychotic symptoms in children, leading to improvements in clinical interventions for vulnerable young people.

Dr. Teresa Tavassoli (UK) shed light in 2017 on the relationship between sensory differences and mental health symptoms in autistic children.

In 2018, Dr Rachel Hillier (UK) used data to map and better understand the mental health needs of young people growing up in care.

Professor Liz Twigg (UK) used survey data on adult and child mental health, social media use and parent-child relationships to understand how children’s wellbeing is affected in 2018.

Dr Katherine Young (UK), who subsequently handed the project over to Dr Colette Hirsh, investigated the impact of the pandemic on young people’s mental health in 2021.

“MQ has been incredibly helpful in allowing me to achieve my hiring goals. Within a few days, I had more participants. [thanks to Participate] than the previous six months in total! The team has also been brilliant.[1]responsive and friendly in all correspondence.” Dr Gemma Sharkey (UNITED KINGDOM)

Women who increase hope for those suffering from depression and anxiety

Professor Bronwyn Graham (Australia) found in 2013 that women with anxiety, who had low levels of the hormone estrogen, were less likely to improve (and stay better) after psychological treatment. This means that if we can schedule treatment when estrogen is at its highest, it could end up being more effective.

In 2016, Dr. Claire Gillan (Ireland) created a web-based tool that uses artificial intelligence to predict the effectiveness of antidepressants in different people.

Dr Ethel Nakimuli-Mpungu (Uganda) developed a highly successful intervention for remote communities living with HIV and depression in 2015.

“Ethel Mpungu’s work is an amazing example of interdisciplinary thinking. MQ has been a catalyst for what she has done and what she has done is a catalyst not only for Uganda but far beyond.” Professor Emily Holmes, MQ Founding Trustee

Women creating revolutionary treatments

In 2016, Dr. Jennifer Wild (UK) developed a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder in healthcare workers that has a 90% success rate in reducing symptoms.

In 2014, Dr. Andrea Reinecke (UK) developed a life-changing intervention for panic disorder that combined CBT and a blood pressure medication in one treatment.

In 2017, Dr. Jessica Eccles (UK) found that a novel treatment was effective in reducing anxiety in people with hypermobility.

Women working in data innovation

Dr Rina Dutta (UK) developed a unique dataset of linked educational and clinical data to better understand suicide and self-harm in 2017.

Dr Aideen Maguire (UK) used population-wide data to improve understanding of the link between access to firearms and suicide in Northern Ireland in 2017.

Professor Louise Condon (UK), supported in 2018, found that by using routinely collected health data it was possible to make visible the mental health needs of Traveler Gypsy populations, one of the most neglected groups.

In 2017, Professor Jessica Deighton (UK) used large data sets to identify how treatment services could be better tailored to young people.

“Thanks to MQ, in addition to addressing the objectives and answering our research questions, we discovered new insights and questions about how to analyze the role of structural inequalities in research.” Professor Jessica Deighton

Women preventing suicide and preventable diseases

In 2023, Dr. Amy Ronaldson (UK) began researching why people with serious mental illnesses are more likely to die from infectious diseases than people without them.

Starting in 2023, Dr. Marisa Marracini (USA) is co-designing a virtual reality tool to help adolescents who have been hospitalized for suicide-related crises.

Dr. Leslie Johnson (USA) is adapting and testing an existing treatment for people with type 2 diabetes to treat patients with type 1 diabetes, and will begin her research in 2023.

Lead researcher Alexandra Buton (UK) began exploring whether social prescribing can prevent people with serious mental illness from developing cardiovascular disease in 2023.

Mental illness can affect all of us, regardless of our gender identity. At MQ we are passionate about improving the future of each of us, as we all have mental health and may experience challenges. Your support will help our researchers continue to create a mentally healthier future for all of us.

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