Could you give us a bio of yourself? "I’m a psychiatrist and researcher interested in the grey area between neurological and psychiatric illness. A combination of frustration and fascination brought me to my current work.
As a junior doctor working in psychiatry, I was frustrated at the limited treatments we could offer patients with severe mental illness and how medicine often tried to falsely separate mind from body. However, I was fascinated by my patient’s stories, and how little we understood of such complex disabling illnesses such as depression.
During my work as a neuropsychiatrist at the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery I became particularly interested in how psychiatric symptoms could be the first presentation of neurological disease, and how mental illness could be a consequence of these conditions and even their treatment.
I am currently a clinical academic fellow at University College London's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. My current research focuses on the neural and psychological processes underlying depression in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. Understanding how depression may arise in these patients could identify new treatments and provide insights into the mechanisms of mood disorders more generally."
And what do you get up to outside of the institution? "Gardening, sport, travel and cluelessly wandering around art galleries are all things I enjoy doing outside of work. Sadly my gardening skills are poor (I kill most plants I try to grow) and I continue to kid myself that a career as a professional footballer isn't out of the question (it is and always has been)."
Keri is a developmental psychologist and criminologist, winner of the 2022 University College London (UCL) Student Choice Award and Provost Education Award, and podcast host at the UCL Institute of Education.
Keri received her BA (Hons.) in Psychology and MA in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania. And it was as an undegraduate that she became interested in understanding the causes of antisocial behaviours and schizophrenia-spectrum disorders - a theme that runs through in her PhD, where she developed the first dimensional measure of childhood paranoia - Social Mistrust Scale - now available in 8 languages and free to use in schools and clinics.
Currently, she is Associate Professor and co-Director of the Centre for Education in Criminal Justice System (ECJ), a knowledge exchange hub for both academics and practitioners in the criminal justice system. She is the lead investigator of the UCL-Penn Global COVID Study (GlobalCovidStudy.com), an online survey on the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and social trust, which has informed UK policy discussions. She was co-chair of the IOE Early Career Network (@IOE_EarlyCareer; 2019-21), host of the official IOE podcast Research for the Real World and Academia et al. (2021).
What do you get up to outside of the institution? "If I didn't train as a psychologist, I would've become a painter or pottery teacher. I have always loved all forms of art. And more recently, I've been doing more public engagement work where I have been able to infuse my love for art in my work as well. In my free time I also love to play tennis (or any ball sport), do hot yoga, and bake."
Could you give us a bio of yourself? "I have been a psychiatrist since 1978. Psychiatry is the clinical specialty that deals with the recognition and treatment of mental illness. My own expertise is in clinical psychopathology, and my precise preoccupation is in studying and describing the abnormal psychological experiences that are common in psychoses, namely delusions, hallucinations, and abnormalities of how the body and self are experienced.
I became interested in this subject because it is an intersection of medicine, philosophy and language, three subjects that are my passion. It is impossible to practise psychiatry without a deep preoccupation with how language works. Language is the ultimate tool, perhaps the only tool that we have in reaching into the inner world of another person. And, without philosophy, the understanding of how to think and to grasp complex ideas, it would be equally impossible to describe and then to categorise the nature of abnormal psychic phenomena.
Finally, the opportunity to help human being who is in distress has been humbling and fulfilling in a career spanning over 44 years."
What do you get up to outside of the institution? "I am a poet and literary critic. I write a blog- MindReadings. So, literature in all its manifestations is an inspiration to my medical and scientific work."
What goes on inside a disordered mind? From the challenges of diagnosing depression to the history of insanity, in this series we delve into the mysteries of psychological disorders to understand how cutting-edge research is bringing hope to sufferers.
Prof. Femi Oyebode
In severe psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia the normal functioning of the mind is compromised. What does it feel like to experience delusions & hallucinations and how do they differ from ordinary beliefs & normal experiences?
Dr Keri Wong
We use our senses to understand the world. But for people with schizophrenia, psychosis means they can't trust their senses or their minds. Why is schizophrenia so misunderstood & stigmatised by society?