Katja Schueler, MSc

PhD student in resilience research in Mainz and visiting student – RAISE Study

What are your research interests?
  • Resilience to stress and its neurobiology (also affect, behaviour, cognition, physiology)
  • In particular controllability of acute stressors, self-efficacy, and immunization as potential resilience mechanisms – using experimental study designs
  • Translation of established animal (stress) models in human studies
  • Biomarkers (e.g. cortisol, immune markers) of resilience and other psychological constructs or diseases
  • Modeling resilience using network analysis
  • Programming and use of novel technologies in research
  • Test and questionnaire development
  • Multidisciplinary approaches to target the topics above
What are the current Projects/Studies you are involved with?
RAISE – studying resilience after individual stress exposure, I am a co-worker in this study under supervision of Laura Moreno-Lopez and Anne-Laura van Harmelen

Resilience networks – modelling interrelations of resilience factors, stressors, and mental health using psychological network analysis, I am project lead of this data analysis (in collaboration with Jessica Fritz, Anne-Laura van Harmelen & Michèle Wessa)

STORM – a translational behaviour study on the role of controllability over stressors as resilience mechanism, I am the study lead (shared with my PhD partner Laura Meine)

SPECTRE – an fMRI study focusing on neuronal and correlates of stressor controllability in humans, I am the study lead (shared with my PhD partner Laura Meine)

Assessment of dysfunctional cognition in top-level athletes – I am  an advisory expert for questionnaire development in this study (in collaboration with Dr Alena Kroehler and Prof Stefan Berti)

Please tell us a bit about your background
Apart from my research visit here in Cambridge, I am a PhD student in Mainz, Germany, investigating the neurobiology of resilience in a collaborative research center and the German Resilience Center. I did my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Psychology and have a broad background in different fields of psychology, not only neuropsychology and neuroscience, but also differential psychology and work&organizational psychology. After my master’s degree, I gained practical experience as a clinical neuropsychologist treating patients e.g. after stroke or related neurological diseases. After that, I worked as a consultant for a company developing psychological tests and other kinds of assessment. This non-academic experience has helped me a lot during my PhD life so far.
What inspires you to come to placement?
Everything that is unknown so far and that is the subject of my studies. Additionally, the variety of tasks at different stages of research makes my work very diverse and interesting. Last but not least all the talented people in my lab inspire me every day anew.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your research work?
There are so many extremely interesting topics in (neuro)science that it is sometimes hard to choose one specific topic of interest.
Please tell us about one thing you are proud of professionally
After my first year, I got invited for a young investigator’s talk at an international resilience conference.
Please tell us about one thing you are proud of personally
For me, team science is very important, but sometimes not easy to put into practice due to the way science currently works. I am very proud of working closely together with my project partner Laura Meine throughout our PhD, not only as a colleague, but also as a friend.
What’s great about working and/or living in Cambridge?
The research environment is very inspiring and high-level. College life offers a new perspective for me and is a great way of getting to know people from different disciplines. The city itself is beautiful and I am grateful for being here
Describe the life of a researcher in 3 words!
Studying, freedom, motivation