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November 2019

Niamh MacSweeney and Anders Jespersen have begun their Royal Society's STEM Partnership project in a local school. They are working with pupils at Musselburgh Grammar to explore how our biology influences our mood. Follow Niamh and Anders on Twitter to stay up-to-date with the project.

October 2019

Members of the EVA lab group attended the NRS Mental Health Network ASM - 'Lost in Translation? Bringing research evidence to practice and policy' at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Postdoctoral researcher Elaine Gray, PhD student Rabia Afzal, PhD student Jingi Ma, and former PhD student Somia Imran all presented posters. You can view the posters via our Twitter page here

September 2019

PhD student Asnea Tariq has been selected by the British Psychological Society for a Postgraduate Study Visits Awards for 2019 to visit the Science and Practise in Psychology (SAPP) lab at the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, McGill University, Canada.

The Science and Practise in Psychology research team has a track record of applying scientific knowledge to enhance psychological practice and well-being of individuals suffering from different mental health conditions. The lab has a current on-going project related to self-compassion and well-being, which primarily focuses on investigating the role of self-compassion in building resilience among individuals when they are encountered with interpersonal, physical and mental stressors.

During the visit, Asnea aims to: (a) engage in discussions regarding the link between self-compassion and psychological distress as well as the possible therapeutic techniques that can help in improving self-compassion among the individuals dealing with psychological distress and (b) collaborate with researchers at SAPP lab in identifying the self-help techniques derived from compassionate mind training or compassion focused therapy that can be used as therapeutic strategies to foster self-compassion and mindfulness among individuals with psychological distress.

August 2019

Applications are invited for an enthusiastic and motivated Research Assistant position at the Division of Psychiatry (University of Edinburgh) in neuroimaging and adolescent mental health. This research post will focus on supporting the development of adolescent psychiatric neuroimaging projects within the Division of Psychiatry and wider University with additional opportunities for international collaborative projects in the area of adolescent mental health. The main part of the post will involve supporting neuroimaging projects in terms of recruitment, administrative procedures, and data collection, along with analysis and preparation of manuscripts. There is potential for the successful candidate to also be involved in devising new experimental paradigms and novel analysis approaches dependent on experience. The post will require the applicant to be computer literate, systematic, methodological and innovative. The research project is centred within a vibrant and expanding research group with a focus on adolescent mental health, including both Psychiatry (as part of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, in turn part of Edinburgh Medical School and Edinburgh Neuroscience) and Clinical Psychology (at the School of Health in Social Science). The post is part time and available from October 2019 for 12 months. Closing date 28th August 5pm. More information and details on how to apply is here

August 2019

Dr Stella Chan is taking part in the Royal Society of Edinburgh's summer events program. On Monday12th August at 16.00 Stella will host "Tea and Just Talk: What is so tricky about young people’s mental health?". Stella will discuss young people’s mental health, what makes young people so vulnerable, and what we can do to help. The RSE Tea and Talks are informal events where visitors can engage with experts over a cup of tea.

July 2019

PhD student Niamh MacSweeney is visiting Thailand this month to meet with potential Project Soothe stakeholders. Niamh is working with collaborators to discuss how Project Soothe can be extended to support services in Thailand.

July 2019

We currently have two visiting students in the research group: Martina Frascara and Kyla Brophy. Martina is a Postgraduate Clinical Psychology Trainee visiting from the University of Padova, Italy. Martina is completing a six-month internship and is working on a research project examining self-compassion and feelings of burden in caregivers of psychiatric patients in Italy. Kyla is a PhD Student in Counselling Psychology visiting from McGill University, Canada. Kyla is here for a few weeks to work with EVA members and establish research connections. Kyla is particularly interested in self-compassion and emotion regulation in psychotherapy.

June 2019

Congratulations to ​Heather Whalley (PI), Stella Chan (Co-I), and Liana Romaniuk (Co-I) on their successful Wellcome Trust ISSF funding. The project will examine novel neuroimaging markers for the detection of adolescent depression. The project will focus on cognitive biases, a key modifiable risk factor in the disorder, and one of the most promising targets for intervention. The project will begin in October 2019 and run for a year. 

June 2019

Congratulations to Niamh MacSweeney (EVA member, PhD student in Clinical Psychology) and Anders Jespersen (former EVA research assistant, now a PhD student in Translational Neuroscience) for their successful application to the Royal Society's STEM Partnership Grant scheme. The funding will allow them to undertake a year-long STEM project entitled, "Does our biology influence our mood?", in partnership with Musselburgh Grammar school. The project will provide a better understanding of psychiatric genetic research through a series of practical workshops as well as a student-led research project. The project will run during the 2019-20 school year. 

May 2019

Congratulations to Dr Stella Chan on winning the British Psychological Society's Public Engagement and Media award for her work with Project Soothe. You can read more about this work on the BPS's website.

May 2019

Congratulations to PhD student Niamh MacSweeney for getting through to the University of Edinburgh's 3 minute thesis finals with her talk on “The Whirlwind of Adolescence and Depression”. You can watch her talk here.

January 2019

Congratulations to Eilidh Smith who successfully passed her PhD viva in December 2018! In January 2019 we welcomed a new PhD student, Niamh MacSweeney, who will be working with Dr Stella Chan and Dr Heather Whalley. 

November 2018

This month some of the EVA research team and collaborators attended the NRS Mental Health Network ASM. We presented a poster detailing the progress of the 'In search of vulnerability mechanisms for adolescent depression' project, which now has 173 participants. 

August 2018

A new research paper by Eilidh Smith, Dr Stella Chan, Dr Heather Whalley, Dr Faith Orchard, and Dr Shirley Reynolds has been published. The paper is based on Eilidh's PhD work and examines the cognitive risk factors for adolescent depression. The paper, titled 'Cognitive biases predict symptoms of depression, anxiety and wellbeing above and beyond neuroticism in adolescence', can be viewed here

June 2018

Data collection for the Wellcome Trust and CCACE project has now begun in secondary schools. You can read more about the projects here.

February 2018

Elaine Gray joined the EVA team as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant. She will primarily be working on the Wellcome Trust and CCACE projects, which begin this month.

December 2017

Dr Stella Chan and Dr Heather Whalley have secured funding from Mental Health Research UK to provide a PhD scholarship to study adolescent depression. You can read about the work here

November 2017

Dr Heather Whalley, Dr Toni-Kim Clarke, and Dr Stella Chan have been awarded £9,600 from the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Epidemiology (CCACE) at the University of Edinburgh to run a pilot study to determine proof of concept for the derivation of epigenetic age from saliva samples for the study of adolescent depression. This work will be being carried out alongside the Wellcome Trust project, which will begin in February 2018. You can read about the work here​. 


Dr Stella Chan and Dr Heather Whalley have been awarded a £91,062 Wellcome Trust Seeds Award in Science to examine mood in adolescents and why some young people experience low mood more often than others. This project began will begin in February 2018. You can read about the work here


Below is a short video of Dr Stella Chan discussing some of her research.