On Monday An Oxford psychiatrist presented her clinical research, which investigates depression amongst the elderly, in Parliament. Dr Charlotte Allan, who holds the title of Junior Research Fellow at Wolfson College, was selected to be one of 180 finalists in the SET for Britain national competition, which judges the research of dozens of early career scientists.
Speaking during the application stage, Dr Allan stated:
“Depression in older people is still under-recognised and under-researched. I am delighted to be presenting my research at this high profile conference to raise awareness about this common condition and to increase understanding about its causes.”
Her previous work has also included a systematic review of the link between Dementia and the APOE4 gene as an Academic Clinical Research Fellow at the Department of Psychiatry.
SET for Britain is the only national competition of its kind for early-career researchers. Entrants vary from post-doctorate scientists to part-time and mature students.
The competition was divided into the categories of physical sciences, engineering and biological and biomedical sciences. Dr Allan was selected from a pool of nearly 250 applicants to be one of the 60 finalists in the biomedical sciences section.
Each of these was judged by a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges.
When asked what stimulated her interest in late age depression, she replied:
“As a psychiatrist I’ve had a long standing interest in mood disorder. In the elderly, depression can present in many ways from low mood, to anxiety, to memory problems and I’ve always found this diagnostic complexity interesting.”
Each year the competition awards Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificates in each section, whose recipients receive £1,000, £2,000 and £3,000 respectively.
Andrew Miller MP, the Chairman of the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee praised the competition for giving politicians, “an opportunity to speak to a wide range of the country’s best young researchers.”