IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Q&A with Dr Marta Francesconi

Dr Marta Francesconi is a Lecturer in Psychology in IOE's Department of Psychology and Human Development.

What attracted you to take up your position at IOE?

I was drawn to UCL IOE for several reasons.

Firstly, I was impressed by the institution's high level of excellence and reputation. Secondly, the multicultural environment of UCL and IOE was also a big attraction for me, as it provides a unique opportunity to learn and grow alongside individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Lastly, the location of UCL in London, a global hub of culture and education, only adds to the appeal of being part of this world-class institution.

How long have you been at IOE?

I started working at IOE as a Research Associate more than 5 years ago and never left!

What do you most enjoy about your position and why?

In my current role at IOE, I have the opportunity to fulfil my passions for both teaching and conducting research.

I also love the dynamic and supportive working environment, where I get to collaborate with experts and professionals of the highest calibre every day.

The combination of these factors makes my position at IOE incredibly fulfilling and rewarding.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of? 

Some of my proudest moments include having my research published in leading academic journals such as Brain Behaviour and Immunity, Psychological Medicine and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

I’m also proud of the positive impact my teaching has had on my students and the great feedback I consistently receive from them. 

What is the focus of your research and what benefits do you hope your discoveries or insights will bring?

My research focuses on identifying markers and biomarkers that can predict mental health problems in children and adolescents. For example, I studied the relationship between adverse life events and behavioural problems, and the role that inflammation plays in this association in children.

I also explore the impact of the built environment on mental health and cognitive abilities.

The goal of my research is to gain a deeper understanding of the factors that contribute to mental health problems and develop more effective and early interventions.

The benefit of this research is that it could lead to earlier detection and treatment of mental health problems in children and adolescents, reducing their impact and improving overall societal wellbeing.

What's the most important thing you've learned from your students about the subjects you teach?

I have learned many things from my students, and I feel very fortunate to interact with them everyday. This is probably one of the things that I like most about the teaching component of my work.

For example, students can bring to light current issues and challenges facing their generation, providing me with valuable insights into the world today.

Also, they come from diverse cultural backgrounds, giving me the opportunity to learn about different cultures and ways of life. Moreover, they bring new perspectives, fresh ideas and unique insights to the table, broadening my understanding on specific subjects related to mental health.

Do you think being in London and at UCL benefits your work and why?

Working in London adds tremendous value to my work, as it provides access to a wealth of resources, including leading academic institutions, diverse communities and a vibrant culture. This allows me to stay at the forefront of my field, connect with other professionals and broaden my perspectives, all of which are crucial for advancing my research and teaching.

What other subject outside of your area of specialism interests you?

Outside of my area of specialism, I have a strong interest in environmental issues, particularly with regards to climate change and environmental pollution.

I believe it’s crucial to understand and address these global challenges, and I’m dedicated to incorporating this knowledge and perspective into my work.

What might it surprise people to know about you?

Growing up I always dreamed of living by the sea, so I never expected that my career would bring me to London. But, as it turns out, this unexpected plot twist has been one of the best decisions I've ever made.

Is there anything else you would like to add about your experiences at UCL or IOE?

Working at IOE and being part of UCL has been a truly outstanding experience. I am grateful to be a part of this dynamic and innovative community, and I look forward to continuing my journey here.

Last updated 17 March 2023.