Our Research

Our research aims to build resilience in women who've been diagnosed with primary as well as secondary breast cancer. 

Using a range of neuroscientific and cognitive methods, BRiC conducts cutting edge research to reduce the psychological impact of diagnosis and treatment and boost resilience in women who've been diagnosed with breast cancer. Based on evidence that impairments in cognitive flexibility and attentional control can enhance emotional vulnerability to anxiety and depression, BRiC's research attempts to underpin neurocognitive mechanisms behind emotional vulnerability in breast cancer to then target those mechanisms through reliable training interventions shown to improv cognitive and emotional health. It is amongst BRiC's missions to examine how neurocognitive training interventions can aid in the efficacy of treatments such as mindfulness and CBT that rely on processing efficiency.

BRiC's research has shown that

1. Our cognitive health has an important role to play in our emotional health (see here)

2. That simple cognitive exercises targeting cognitive efficiency can improve cognitive skills and reduce anxiety and depressive related symptoms longer term (see here; and on media page) 

3. Collateral damage from COVID19 delaying breast cancer treatment and diagnosis has increased psychological trauma in women with breast cancer (see here; and in The Telegraph)

4. Women with threats to job security have an increased level of depression by 26% (see here)

Our research team:

Professor Nazanin Derakshan (Head of the team) specialises in neurocognitive markers of anxiety and depressive vulnerability to develop neurocognitive interventions that promote cognitive efficiency, psychological flexibility and resilience

Professor Beth Grunfeld specialises in psycho-social oncology and the psychosocial outcomes following diagnosis and treatment (mainly among patients with benign and non-benign lesions) and on the development of interventions to support patients.

Professor Jason Moser is a clinical neuroscientist and specialises in the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying our ability to regulate cognition, emotion and behaviour, and their clinical significance in terms of their roles in the development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety and depression. 

Jessica Swainston: is a PhD student funded by the ESRC. She investigates the neurocognitive markers of cognitive function and emotional vulnerability in breast cancer as well as the efficacy of neurocognitive interventions in reducing emotional vulnerability in breast cancer, independently and in combination with other more traditional methods of psychotherapy such as expressive writing and mindfulness meditation.

Bethany Chapman: is a PhD student funded by the ESRC. She investigates the efficacy of neurocognitive interventions helping women with breast cancer improve their sustainability and workability in the work place. 

Samantha Shulman (past MSc student): is examining the efficacy of neurocognitive interventions on improving everyday memory and cognitive function in women with breast cancer.

Jemma Venebles (current MSc student): is a partner at Deloitte and her project is designed to improve cognitive and emotional health using an app developed by her company and adjusted for use by women with breast cancer.