Profile – Gianna Kohl, University College London

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Gianna Kohl


Gianna Kohl

Job title:

PhD candidate / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher

Place of work / study:

University College London

Area of Research:

I explore how and why people with dementia and family carers share the dementia diagnosis with other people, and why they might not want to tell others about it. I am also adapting an existing face-to-face intervention developed at University College London into a digital one that can be used by people affected by dementia who are worried about sharing the diagnosis with others.

How is your work funded?

My work is funded by the Marie Curie Innovative Training Network which is part of the Horizon 2020 funding programme.

Tell us a little about yourself:

Originally from Germany, I moved to the Netherlands to study psychology. I did a BSc in Psychology and a MSc in Clinical Psychology with a focus on using technology in healthcare. I actually wanted to become a therapist when I was younger and did an internship in a psychiatric hospital in Berlin, but soon realised that I felt more comfortable doing research than therapy sessions. I moved to London after obtaining my MSc to work on my PhD project. It took me some time to feel settled in London and I felt that the national lockdown, though very isolating, was actually helpful for that. When I’m not working, I enjoy cycling through London, exploring its coffee shops and bakeries, and gardening.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:

I don’t like chocolate or cheese.

Why did you choose to work in dementia?

I was drawn to psychology because I wanted to learn how improve the lives of people with health conditions. During my master’s project, I worked on testing an app that had been developed for people with dementia. I enjoyed interacting and working with older people and people with dementia so much that I wanted to work on a project where I could support people affected by dementia.

What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?

Don’t compare yourself to other PhD students; everyone has things going on. And ask for help if you’re struggling. Most people are very helpful if you ask for advice.

What book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?

I enjoy reading suspense and crime novels. Currently I’m reading ‘Where are you now?’ by Mary Higgins Clark.

Can we find you on Twitter & Instagram?

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