Laura Brown
  • Zochonis Building, Brunswick Street

    M13 9PL Manchester

    United Kingdom

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Personal profile

Overview

I am a Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the Division of Psychology and Mental Health, and a member of the Manchester Centre for Health Psychology. My research interests centre on characterising the patterns of psychological experience and functioning that are associated with ageing, and in developing interventions to help improve health and wellbeing in later life. I teach on the BSc undergraduate Psychology and MSc in Clinical and Health Psychology and MSc Health Psychology programmes, and supervise PhD and Clinical Psychology Doctorate students.

Research interests

My research focuses on cognition, health, and wellbeing in later life. I am interested in characterising the patterns of psychological functioning that are associated with ageing, and in developing interventions to help improve health and wellbeing in older populations - particularly those in residential care settings (care homes). I am also interested in developing new evaluation methods and assessment tools that are suited to the needs of older people, and in using digital technology to advance care and assessment.

I take a multi-disciplinary approach to my work, and collaborate with colleagues from a range of clinical, academic, and technical backgrounds.

Teaching

I am the unit leader for the Year 2 'Individual Differences in Mental Health and Wellbeing' unit on the BSc Psychology programme, and also contribute teaching related to ageing and health on our Masters programmes in Health Psychology and Clinical and Health Psychology.  

I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate research students on topics related to my research interests.

Biography

I completed a BSc (hons) degree in Psychology at the University of Nottingham in 2002, and then went on to do a PhD in Psychology at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London. In 2006 I took up a postdoctoral position in the Geriatric Medicine Unit at the University of Edinburgh. Here I worked with Professor Alasdair MacLullich on a series of projects related to delirium (acute confusion) in older adults, including the development of a new electronic device for measuring attentional deficits in this population (The 'Edinburgh Delirium Test Box'). I then worked with Dr Arlene Astell at the University of St Andrews on a 'New Dynamics of Ageing' project focused on using digital technology to develop methods for assessing health, wellbeing, and lifestyle factors in older people (the 'NANA': Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing' project). As part of this role, I developed methods for assessing 'momentary' cognitive function in older adults in oder to allow patterns of cognitive function to be tracked over 'micro-longitudinal' timescales. After this, I worked on the 'LiveWell' project in the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University to support the development of interventions to enhance health and wellbeing in retired populations.

I took up my first lectureship position in the Department of Psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011, and then moved to my current post at the University of Manchester in October 2013.

Qualifications

  • 2016: Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • 2014: Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • 2013: Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (distinction).
  • 2006: PhD Psychology, University College London.
  • 2002: BSc Psychology (1st class hons.), University of Nottingham.

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

I am a member of the British Society of Gerontology (BSG). I also sit on the organising committee of the BSG Special Interest Group on Care Homes Research. You can email us at BSGcarehomesSIG@britishgerontology.org if you are interested in joining this group.

I was an Associate Editor of the journal International Psychogeriatrics from 2015  - 2017, and have been an Editorial Board member of the Journal of Applied Gerontology since January 2020. I am also currently an Expert Panellist for the Dunhill Medical Trust Research Grants Committee.

Supervision information

Current doctoral students at the University of Manchester: 

  • Fozia Hayat: Clinical and psychosocial determinants of perceived
    quality of life in people with Parkinson disease. (supervised with R. Rafique, University of the Punjab).
  • Qianyu (Ivy) He: Increasing physical activity in later life: developing behaviour change interventions that better meet the cognitive needs of older people. (supervised with D. French).
  • Lauren Martin: Supporting older care home residents to maintain a sense of purpose in life. (supervised with K. Berry & E. Stanmore).
  • Regan Bailey: The meaning of menopause for older women with a history of mental health difficulties. (supervised with L. Morris & E. Fowler).         
  • Callum Rodgers: Autistic adults' experience of grief, bereavement and related support. (supervised with E. Gowen & C. Rowland).
  • Emma Hooper: Factors related to hearing aid adherence in people with dementia. (supervised with C. Armitage, P. Dawes & I. Leroi).
  • Ourania Sfakianaki: The influence of later-life learning on health: a social-biological approach. (supervised with N. Shryane and A. Payton).
  • Beth Callander: Developing a validated condition-specific tool to assess illness perceptions in patients with Congenital
    Heart Disease. (supervised with J. Brooks, A. Wearden, and B. Keavney). 

Previous doctoral students: 

  • Dr Rebecca Aitken (2020-2023): What does it mean to age well with autism? University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with E. Gowen and K. Berry).
  • Dr Samantha Booth (2019-2023): Combining cognitive training and non-invasive neurostimulation in older adults. University of Manchester, PhD. (supervised with G. Pobric and J. Taylor).
  • Dr Kieran Lyon (2018-2022): The role of lower-order Big Five personality constructs in affective disorder symptoms: associations and mediating mechanisms. University of Manchester, PhD. (supervised with R. Elliott and G. Juhasz).
  • Dr Gemma Stringer (2015-2021): Early detection of cognitive impairment in older adults: technology use in functional assessment. University of Manchester, PhD. (supervised with I. Leroi & D. Montaldi)
  • Dr Rebecca Owen (2018-2020): The role of sense of purpose in the psychological wellbeing of older people in care homes. University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with K. Berry).
  • Dr Claire Steele (2017-2019): Healthcare staff experiences of using biopsychosocial approaches to understand distress in dementia. University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with K. Berry).
  • Dr Megan McKenna (2017-2019): Formulation-led care in care homes; a qualitative analysis of care home staff views of this psychological approach to managing behaviour. University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with K. Berry).
  • Dr Farah Nadia Mohd Faudzi (2014-2018): A psychometric evaluation of attitudes to ageing measures among younger people.  University of Manchester, PhD. (supervised with C. Armitage & C. Bryant).
  • Dr Niki Heath (2015-2018): Ageing successfully with long-term physical disabilities. University of Melbourne, PhD. (supervised with C. Bryant)
  • Dr Emily Smart (2016-2018): Ageing successfully with severe mental illness. University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with K. Berry and J. Palmier-Claus.).
  • Dr Siang Joo She (2015-2018): Interventions to improve attitudes to ageing and physical activity in older adults. University of Melbourne, PhD. (supervised with C. Bryant).
  • Dr Jacob Andrews (2014-2018): Technology-based measures of older people’s mood. University of Sheffield, PhD. (supervised with A.J. Astell & R. Harrison).
  • Dr Daniel Blake (2015-2017): The feasibility of using dementia care mapping to increase levels of patient-centred care in neurological settings. University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with K. Berry).
  • Dr Charlotte Richardson (2015-2017): The feasibility of using dementia care mapping to improve staff attitudes to patient-centred care in neurological settings. University of Manchester, Clinical Psychology Doctorate. (supervised with K. Berry).
  • Dr Maxine Horne (2012-2016): Care to dance: listening, watching, dancing and reflecting the practice of a community arts and health dance artist working with older people. Manchester Metropolitan University, PhD. (supervised with R. Lawthom, J. Fisher, & R. Swindells).
  • Dr Karen Davies (2011-2015): Parents’ and speech and language therapists’ roles in intervention for pre-school children with speech and language needs. Manchester Metropolitan University, PhD. (supervised with J. Marshall & J. Goldbart).
  • Dr Rohan Morris (2011-2014): Assessing vulnerability to psychotic illness amongst cannabis users: correlates, discriminating factors, and scale development. Manchester Metropolitan University, PhD. (supervised with J. Cavil, F. Fatoye & C. Wibberley).

Prizes and awards

Our work on supporting care home residents to maintain a sense of purpose in life won the 2022 Mather Institue Gold Award for 'Innovative Research on Aging'.. Read the University of Manchester press release here

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Dementia@Manchester
  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing

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