Thursday, 31 May 2012

DClinPsy course revalidated

We’re delighted that the University’s Doctorate of Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy) programme has been revalidated by both the Health Professions Council (HPC) and the British Psychological Society (BPS).

As a Professional Doctorate programme, it incorporates a licence to practice and it is a requirement that the programme is approved by the HPC, the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK, and also accredited by the BPS.  Both review teams reported that they were particularly impressed by the quality of our trainees and our supervisors.

This programme prepares clinical psychology trainees to function effectively as clinical psychologists within the National Health Service (NHS) and is built around a core competency-based model of training, integrating clinical, academic and research skills.

For more information click here.

Abbas Kiarostami’s Filmmaking

Abbas Kiarostami at the 65th Venice
Film Festival courtesy of Mansour Nasiri
Abbas Kiarostami, one of Iran’s leading film directors, is the focus of a Master’s by Research project by Luke Buckle from the University’s Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Institute (SSAHRI).

In the paper published on the acclaimed Film International website, Buckle describes Kiarostami’s filmmaking methods and ideals as being very much reflective of the style of post-Second World War Italian Neorealism. Neorealism is a form of cinema used to portray the hardships of everyday people by exploring social, cultural and economic issues from their perspective. Kiarostami creates a distinctive form of filmmaking to get at the 'truths' of contemporary Iranian life and a strand of modern Neorealism emerges.

Click for the full paper: Contemporary Neorealist Principles in Abbas Kiarostami’s Filmmaking (1997 – 2005).

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Launch of new mentorship scheme for healthcare researchers

Developing world-class researchers across the healthcare professions in England is the aim of a new mentorship scheme.  The scheme provides high quality mentorship to healthcare researchers who have been awarded national research fellowships. It provides the opportunity for them to maximise their potential and have a positive impact on the lives of patients through the quality of their care.

The Mentorship for Health Research Training Fellows scheme is coordinated by Dr Geraldine Byrne from the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work and is delivered in partnership with the Academy of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting Research (UK), the Allied Health Professionals Research Network, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College London and the University of Huddersfield. It supports researchers awarded with NIHR Clinical Academic Training (CAT) and Clinical Scientist Research Training and will foster an on-going community of mentorship across England.

For more information on the mentorship scheme, visit

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

New brown dwarf discovery

I am working with an international team of astronomers and lead the European network called ‘Rocky Planets around Cool Stars’ (RoPACS). We make interesting discoveries in the field of brown dwarfs and extra-solar planets to provide a better understanding of their nature.

The artist’s impression shows the brown dwarf in the foreground, with its host star in the background. The banded nature of the brown dwarf atmosphere results from its hybrid nature – since brown dwarfs bridge the gap between stars and planets. Credit: J. Pinfield
By searching the most sensitive infrared views of the sky using the new WISE orbiting observatory combined with the UK Infrared and VISTA telescopes, I have identified a new and unusual brown dwarf made of 99% hydrogen and helium with a temperature of just 400 degrees centigrade. Its discovery is a key step in helping distinguish between brown dwarfs and giant planets.

Brown dwarfs form like stars but they are much less massive (they are less than approximately seven per cent of the Sun’s mass), and do not burn hydrogen like the Sun. They just cool and fade over time, reaching planetary-like temperatures after a few billion years.

With a planet-like temperature and a hydrogen-rich atmosphere the new brown dwarf helps us tell giant planets and brown dwarfs apart, since planets (like Jupiter) can display a much richer chemistry. The new brown dwarf is a companion to a Sun-like star and orbits it at a distance of about 2600 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.

A link to the research paper can be found here.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Psychology Professor in top 50 list on Twitter

Professor Karen J Pine
Professor Karen Pine features in a “top 50” list of psychology professors to follow on Twitter. The list compiled by identifies psychology professors who share some of their expertise with the Twitterverse!

Being prolific authors and brilliant researchers as well as expressing themselves through social media, this is a list of plugged-in professors who have really made an impact.

Check out Professor Pine on Twitter @Karenpine

Thursday, 10 May 2012

What body obsessive people see in famous faces

Jennifer Anniston image courtesy of Angela George at
What do you see when you look at other people’s faces? Do you focus on a specific feature or do you look at their face as a whole?  Do you think you could recognise people’s faces when they are upside-down?

Individuals with BDD are more likely to identify upside-down images of famous faces as they focus on individual features rather than process them as a whole.

New research by Professor Keith Laws from the School of Psychology has shown that people who have an obsession relating to their body image, where they believe that they have a defect in their appearance, have an exceptional skill of recognising famous faces when they are upside-down.

Most people find it difficult to recognise upside-down faces because they normally process faces as a whole image the right way up.  But people with a mental health condition known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) process faces in a different way and overly-focus on the individual facial features rather than the whole face. This aids their ability to recognise inverted famous faces as they are more intimate with specific facial features such as David Beckham’s eyes or Angelina Jolie’s lips for example.

People with BDD are often attractive individuals who focus negatively on specific features of their own body, especially their face.  They engage with time-consuming compulsive behaviours such as mirror-checking, applying make-up to camouflage and seeking reassurance about their appearance - up to fifteen per cent of people who seek cosmetic surgery meet the criteria for a BDD diagnosis.

The paper will be published in the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A good standard of GP prescribing – but improvement possible

With over 990 million prescriptions per year dispensed in England, errors in GP prescribing are not unknown.  But how many errors are made? And more importantly, how serious are these errors?

Dr Maisoon Ghaleb, together with Prof Soraya Dhillon and Dr Cinzia Pezzolesi, from the School of Pharmacy has collaborated in a major study into GP prescribing. While the vast majority of prescriptions written by family doctors are appropriate and effectively monitored, around one in twenty prescriptions contain an error.

In the study, a sample of fifteen GP practices across three areas in England found that where there were prescribing and monitoring errors, most were classed as mild or moderate. But around one in every 550 prescription items was judged to contain a serious error. The most common errors were missing information on dosage, prescribing an incorrect dosage, and failing to ensure that patients got necessary monitoring through blood tests.

The research, commissioned by the General Medical Council is the largest-scale study of its kind. It recommends a greater role for pharmacists in supporting GPs, better use of computer systems and extra emphasis on prescribing in GP training.

The report can be found at