Dr Katri Cornelissen is the Director of Transnational Education and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. She is a researcher within our psychopathologies research group and teaches our very popular eating disorders option module.

Tell us about your career history

I have been at Northumbria University since 2002. Prior to this I worked at Newcastle University. While at Northumbria University my teaching has been mostly focused on eating disorders which is also my main research topic area and research skills. At my time at Newcastle University, I was mostly involved in clinical education, and a lot of teaching was within neuroscience.

What got you interested in psychology?

Originally, I wanted to understand how the human brain works and how much the brain can be retrained and whether this retraining changes the neural circuity. From there, my interests took me into clinical psychology and particularly I wanted to understand the consequences of brain trauma and infarct and how we can best rehabilitate individuals with severe brain damage. Through personal experience of eating disorders, my interest shifted with time more towards body image and eating disorders and trying to understand what causes eating disorders and how they can be treated.

What was the topic of your Phd?

My PhD was about Anorexia Nervosa and body image distortion in eating dsiorders.

What are your main areas of research currently?

My main research is currently within body image and body distortion. I do not anymore wish to single out eating disorders but am rather interested in investigating and trying to understand body image distortion in both non-clinical samples and various different clinical samples. I am also doing some research on social media impact on body image which is always a popular topic amongst students.

What one psychology book would you recommend?

There is too many to name one. I want to mention Andy Fields’ statistics book as the book still stays by my bedside and has done for years.

What would you have liked to do if you hadn’t followed a career in psychology?

I did not start my career as a psychologist. As a matter of fact my very first degree was in chemistry. Since then, I have visited speech pathology, linguistics, medicine, but I feel most comfortable in psychology. Lesson to learn – you can always change career, it will not harm you to be qualified in multiple areas.

On a personal note…

Most of you will discover sooner or later that I am a dedicated gym goer, and can be seen every morning at the gym (we have a great gym at the campus). However, even more of that, I am a dedicated rock climber and skier, and will take the opportunity to go to the mountains when I can. At those times you will not reach me by any means. I have a family, with one GCSE student and one A level student, so, trust me, I understand what you are going through.

Is there anything else you would like students to know?

At Northumbria we are relaxed and approachable, but we expect professional behaviour. We want to help you on your journey and want to support you. You will not be turned away if you wish to discuss topics in psychology. However, we are not there to give you answers. We are there to help you find the answers.

Sooner or later, you will discover that I have an accent. Please come and tell me your guess where I am originally from. I find that very entertaining. Most people do not guess. Equally most students cannot pronounce my surname. I do not mind if you get it wrong. I may get the pronunciation of your surname wrong which I do apologise for.

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