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Anutra Guru - Research AssistantAnutra Guru is a research assistant working at the Psychopharmacology and Emotion Research Lab (PERL). She is also co-chair of the Race Equality Working Group at the department.




Tell us a little about yourself, and what attracted you to studying/working at the University of Oxford?  

I grew up in Singapore and did my undergraduate degree in psychology at the National University of Singapore, which solidified my interest in pursuing research with clinical populations. This led me to complete my MSc in Psychiatric Research at King’s College London. I have always been interested in research around depression and improving treatment outcomes, so I was very excited when I saw the job opening at the Psychopharmacology and Emotion Research Lab (PERL). As much of the work is around understanding the mechanisms of depression to develop effective targeted treatments, I found that it aligned nicely. I was struck by the breadth of the research at PERL and how innovative it was, which further attracted me to working there.


What is your vision for the team/project/research you study/work with?

My broad vision for the team is for us to develop effective targeted treatments that benefit specific groups with varying needs. Hopefully we can continue exploring novel approaches that target specific symptom domains in depression that can be harder to address, such as the lack of motivation and anhedonia. Addressing symptoms that could linger after remission from depression such as changes in cognition is also important. I am also interested in generally making research more inclusive.

With the Race Equality Working Group, I would like to help create a working environment where everyone feels valued, celebrated and supported to reach their fullest potential. I am hoping to build on some of the current initiatives and work on actions towards addressing feedback from the recent workshop and discussions. I also want to foster collaborations with other working groups, broader university networks and hopefully inform structural processes as well.


What is currently at the top of your To-Do List?

I’m involved in a few research projects which are in different stages at the moment, which keeps things interesting! I am currently facilitating the setup of a study, recruiting participants and running visits for another study while helping with some data analysis for a study that was recently completed.

For the race equality working group, on my immediate to-do list is compiling feedback from the careers workshop and following up on it. After that, what would be at the top of my to-do list will likely be decided by what people have indicated should be top priorities in the form that was just sent out!


How did you get to where you are today?

My parents are immigrants and made sacrifices to ensure we received a good education. I have also been fortunate to have good mentors along the way who encouraged my growth. My supervisors in research settings provided opportunities for me to develop various research skills, gave me important feedback and general career advice which was helpful. Aside from that, I have also persevered through challenging personal circumstances.


Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by anyone who is passionate about their work, dares to take risks to make things happen or has a fresh perspective! My family inspires me with their humility, determination and kindness. I am inspired by the energy and enthusiasm of the people around me as well.


If you were not in your study programme/job currently, what would you like to be doing?

I would love to be a lactose-free ice cream taste taster. But if that isn’t possible, maybe something where I could get paid to travel or tell others’ stories in some way!