Planet PhD

Vanessa Hennessy: Modifying memories & preventing PTSD

June 3, 2019

Our special guest this week is a PhD student with University College London’s Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit, and also Gigi’s mum! Vanessa researches how biological, physiological and behavioural factors can affect susceptibility to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); as well as how modifying memory formation can prevent or reduce the distress that comes with PTSD.

We talk about the prevalence of PTSD in war-torn areas and the need for new therapies, the surprising ways in which susceptibility to developing PTSD is affected by the female menstrual cycle, the trials Vanessa conducts to investigate vulnerability in healthy participants including her husband, and what and who inspired her to complete her under- and postgraduate studies following her first career. Stay tuned for the outtakes in which Veronica accidentally offends Vanessa - and Gigi and Veronica both experience (positive) intrusive memories.

Vanessa is funded by the charity Find a Better Way, founded by Sir Bobby Charlton, who work to assist people affected by conflict, in particular the damage caused by landmines. Follow FABW on Twitter: @FindABetterWay