Timea Szentgyorgyi

timea photo

Research Assistant, Department of Psychosis Studies, King’s College London and the Joint R&D Office  

I support participants to take part in a wide range of research studies at the NIHR King’s Clinical Research Facility. 

What was your path into research?  

I’ve been a Research Assistant at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and SLaM NHS trust for four years. My job here mainly involves supporting various research studies. 

I first became interested in research while completing my BSc Psychology degree, and this only strengthened during my MSc Neuroscience degree, both completed at King’s College London. My desire to be involved in research stems from a passion towards the advancement of therapies and ways to improve people’s lives. I have been particularly interested in mental health and exploring how the brain works. 

What does a typical working day look like for you?  

My job includes meeting with clinical teams and introducing them to research studies happening at the Trust. Our conversations focus on how best to identify people who would be able to take part in upcoming research studies, and whether they can help us in speaking with service users about the research opportunities. I will then work with clinicians to follow up with service users, or reach out to people directly.  

We have a system called ‘Consent for Contact’ where service users give permission to be contacted about future research opportunities.  Where this is the case I will contact potential participants directly.  This means that on a typical day, I will talk to a dozen or so people, and one of them might be interested in signing up, depending on the level of involvement and type of study. 

Other activities my role involves are carrying out interviews with study participants, or doing memory and attention quizzes with them. This usually takes place at the King’s Clinical Research Facility in Camberwell. Depending on my schedule, I may see two or three study participants each week. Study visits could last from one hour, up to five hours. It may be that we only meet once, or we meet many times over a period of weeks or months. These studies can involve participants with various mental health conditions such as depression, dementia, or psychosis. 

When meeting participants for study visits the first thing we do is we go through what the study will involve, and discuss any questions they may have about it. We then begin with whatever the first study-related task is; this can be a questionnaire, medical checkup, drug screening or memory and attention computer tasks. We take breaks in between activities throughout the day.  

What does research mean to you?  

I strive to make participation in research as pleasant and rewarding as possible, ensuring the participants are comfortable and all their needs are met. I hope my work with participants leads to the breakdown of any misconceptions related to research and contributes to the advancement of science.