Research Worker: Institute of Psychiatry Biomedical Research Centre

The Institute of Psychiatry is currently advertising a post for a Research Worker. The project is funded through the newly established Biomedical Research Centre. The new National Institute for Health Research South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and Institute of Psychiatry Biomedical Research Centre receive funding from the Department of Health for research into “CFS/ME”.

Here are some extracts from the Job Description and Person Spec:

Job vacancy: Research Worker

Institute of Psychiatry Biomedical Research Centre

Closing date for applications: 13th July 2007
Please quote reference number 07/R68.

Candidates who would like to discuss the post further are invited to contact Prof Ulrike Schmidt on 020 7848 0181 or Prof Trudie Chalder on 0207 848 0406

Emotional Processing in Psychosomatic Disorders

Department of Psychological Medicine

We would like to invite applications from psychology graduates for the above post which will involve working across the Section of Eating Disorders and the Chronic Fatigue Research and Treatment Unit on a project entitled ‘Emotional Processing in Psychosomatic Disorders’.

This project is funded through the newly established Biomedical Research Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry.

The successful candidate will have relevant research experience and preferably experience of working with eating disorder and/or chronic fatigue patients.

Starting salary in the range £23,175 pa to £24,332 pa (inclusive of £2,323pa London Allowance), depending on qualifications and experience.

To obtain further particulars and further information about the Institute, please see our website or alternatively email

Applications, in the form of a CV (including details of two referees), covering letter and equal opportunities statement, should be emailed to this address or posted to the address given in the further particulars.

Please quote reference number 07/R68 in all correspondence.

Closing date for applications 13th July 2007.

Only candidates shortlisted for interview will be contacted.

Equality of opportunity is College policy.


Research Worker
Department of Psychological Medicine
Sections of Eating Disorders and General Hospital Psychiatry

Ref No: 07/R68


1.1 The Institute of Psychiatry is a postgraduate medical school associated with the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, and is a School of King’s College London of the University of London. It has an outstanding international reputation in the field of research and in the most recent HEFCE Research Assessment Exercise (2001) was awarded the highest (5*) rating. The Institute has approximately 550 students and over 900 staff and has an annual turnover of approximately £63 million. The Institute offers a range of Diploma, MSc, MPhil, and PhD courses in psychiatry, psychology and related basic and clinical neurosciences.

1.2 The complementary roles of the Institute are

  • to pioneer research into new and improved ways of understanding and treating mental illness and brain disease;

  • to offer advanced University training for psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists and other scientific and paramedical workers.

1.3 The Institute comprises 8 Academic Departments – Psychology, Psychological Medicine, Neuroscience, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Mental Health Sciences, Neurology, Neuropathology, Biostatistics and Computing; three Research Centres; Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Health Services Research Centre; the Centre for the Cellular Basis of Behaviour (CCBB); and a full range of academic support services.

1.4 Research is organised across departmental boundaries in the following

Research Centres and Interdisciplinary Research Groups (IRGs):
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre
Health Services Research Centre
Antisocial Behaviour
Disorders of Childhood
Emotional Disorders
Neurodegeneration and Head Injury
Psychology and Medicine


Senior Clinical Academic Staff: Prof. Janet Treasure, Prof. of Psychiatry at Guys Hospital, Prof. Ulrike Schmidt, Prof. of Eating Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, Dr. Ivan Eisler, Reader in Family Therapy, Institute of Psychiatry, Dr. Kate Tchanturia, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Institute of Psychiatry.

Research workers: The unit employs a number of research fellows, research workers and PhD students.

Research activities: The Eating Disorders Research Unit houses a large portfolio of research projects. All our research aims to further our understanding of the underlying causes of eating disorders and to develop better treatments for sufferers. Current projects include studies on the genetic, neuropsychological, personal and environmental risk factors and their interactions in different eating disorders; studies using brain scanning to understand the different ways in which food and other cues are being processed in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are being conducted. A number of different treatment studies are in progress, designed to evaluate psychological treatments for people with eating disorders and their carers and using new technologies in treatment.

The Unit has many national and international research collaborations and is part of a Marie Curie Research Training Network (INTACT), funded by the European Union ( Details of ongoing research conducted by the Unit can be found on our web-site ( and in our research newsletter.


The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research and Treatment Unit receives about 400 referrals per year. The multi-disciplinary team assesses and treats patients with chronic fatigue syndrome and carries out research into both causes and treatment efficacy.


The post holder will work across the Section of Eating Disorders and the Section of General Hospital Psychiatry (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Research and Treatment Unit), spending their time flexibly between sections depending on the demands of the project. The postholder will be the research worker in day-to-day charge of a project entitled: ‘Emotional Processing in Psychosomatic Disorders’. This project is funded through the newly established Biomedical Research Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry.

Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are classical psychosomatic disorders where response to social threat is expressed somatically (e.g. Hatcher & House, 2003; Kato et al., 2006; Schmidt et al., 1997). Other similarities between these disorders include strong female preponderance and overlapping personality characteristics, such as being introverted and anxious/avoidant.

Aberrant emotional processing is a strong candidate as a maintaining factor for these disorders (Schmidt and Treasure, 2006). Improved knowledge about the precise nature, potency and combination of different factors in different psychosomatic disorders is likely to lead to improved treatments. The project will attempt to answer the following questions.

  • Can people with anorexia nervosa and chronic fatigue recognise or infer complex emotions in individual stimuli/cues as well as control subjects?

  • Can people with AN and chronic fatigue integrate social cues effectively to infer emotion during social interaction?

A variety of measures will be used including questionnaires and experimental tasks to conduct cross-sectional and longitudinal assessments of patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa (psychiatric control), chronic fatigue, healthy controls and physical illness controls (rheumatoid arthritis).


Job Title Research Worker
Department Section of Eating Disorders and Chronic Fatigue Research Unit

Relationships The post holder will work under the immediate supervision of Professors Ulrike Schmidt and Trudie Chalder.

Job Summary
This is a 12-month full time post. The post holder will be responsible for recruiting and assessing the study participants, entering data, performing preliminary data analyses and assisting with the day to day running of the study.

Duties and Responsibilities
Specific duties and responsibilities will include the following.
The main task of the post holder relates to the smooth day to day operation of the study.

Recruitment and data collection: The post-holder will be expected to recruit and assess participants. This activity will take place in a variety of sites. This includes the Denmark Hill Campus, and the Bethlem Royal Hospital site and Guys Hospital. The post involves regular liaison with clinical staff in all parts of the Eating Disorders and Chronic Fatigue Unit.

Data handling: The post-holder will be expected to set up and maintain a data base for the study.
Data Analysis: The post-holder will be expected to contribute to the analysis of the data.
The post-holder will be expected to produce research reports to the grant-giving body and to contribute to paper-writing at the end of the project.

Any other duties appropriate to the grade as directed by the supervisor.

Grade RA1A/RA1B
To be appointed on the RA1A scale, applicants should hold a first degree in Psychology together with a PhD or the equivalent relevant postgraduate research experience.

The above duties will be subject to review from time to time, in discussion with the post holder, to ascertain whether they meet the requirements of the department.

Please see the job description for further details.


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