Stella Chan (DPhil, DClinPsy, CPsychol, FBPsS)

Reader in Clinical Psychology


I grew up in a fire station because my father was a fireman. Upon completing my first degree in Psychology in Hong Kong, I came to Britain for my postgraduate studies. Between 2003 and 2008 I was at the University of Oxford, where I obtained a MSc in Research Methods in Psychology (supervised by Prof Mark Williams), followed by a DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the Psychopharmacology and Emotion Research Laboratory (supervised by Prof Catherine Harmer). In 2007-8, I was College Lecturer in Psychology at Lady Margaret Hall and Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford, where I taught and provided pastoral care for undergraduate students. After that, I held two brief postdoctoral research positions at the Institute of Psychiatry and University of Cambridge. Between 2009 and 2012, I undertook a professional doctorate  in Clinical Psychology and qualified as clinical psychologist.

In 2012, I was awarded the prestigious Chancellor's Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, while remaining clinically active as a honorary clinical psychologist at the local NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Since 2018, I have beeen promoted to my current role as Reader in Clinical Psychology (equivalent to Associate Professor), as well as Deputy Director of Research and Academic Lead for Public Engagement at the School of Health in Social Science. My contributions to psychology have been recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS) Public Engagement and Media Award, life membership and full fellowship of the BPS. I am also a member of the Wellcome Trust’s Cognitive Neuroscience and Mental Health Expert Review Group. In terms of leadership, I served the full term of co-chair of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE)'s Young Academy of Scotland, and held numerous roles within the RSE (Scotland's national academy). 

Outside work, I am a keen life member of the National Trust and enjoy being inspired by beautiful landscapes and historical places.  I am currently "working" on my project "(Cooking) Round the World in 80 days" - following the itinerary of the classics novel and cook/ eat local cruisines of the nearest country every day.

See CV for more information 


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2009-2012         Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University of East Anglia, UK

2004-2008         DPhil (PhD) in Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, UK

2003-2004         MSc in Research Methods in Psychology (Distinction), University of Oxford, UK

1999-2003         BSSc in Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

2001-2002         International study programme as HSBC Scholar, University of Chicago, USA

Professional Registration

2013-                Registered Clinical Psychologist with the Health & Care Professions Council

Responsibilities & affiliations

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Undergraduate teaching

  • MA Psychology (Hons) - Clinical Psychological Problems in Context
  • MA Health, Science and Society (Hons) - Psychological Perspectives on Health and Care

Postgraduate teaching

  • MSc in Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Psychological Practice - Parenting: Theory and Practice; dissertation supervision
  • MSc  Psychological of Mental Health (Conversion) - Clinical Psychological Problems in Context; dissertation supervision
  • PhD / MSc by Research
  • Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology - thesis supervision

The most memorable of my teaching experiences was the creation and delivery of the very innovative teaching approach – Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): The Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People. This was run for two years (2014, 2015) and has recently been converted to ‘on demand’. We have engaged >88,000 learners from >190 countries.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current PhD students supervised


  • Antonia Klases: Self-Compassion and Mental Health in Adolescents (Principal Supervisor)
  • Niamh MacSweeney: In Search of Bio-psycho-social Markers for the Recurrence of Adolescent Depression (Joint Principal Supervisor)
  • Asnea Tariq: An Experimental Investigation on Mindfulness and Compassionate Mind Training to Reduce the Effects of Early Maladaptive Schemas in Adolescents and Young Adults (Principal Supervisor)
  • Rabia Afzal: Exploring Cultural Differences in Humuor Use, Altruistic Acts and Mental Health among Young Adults (Principal Supervisor)
  • Pavlos Ioannidis: Parental Adult Attachment Predicts Anxiety and Depression in Greek Adolescents: The Mediating Role of Parental Burnout (Principal Supervisor)
  • Catarina  Gaglianone: The Impact of Soothing Images on Prospective Visual Imagery and Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression (Principal Supervisor)
  • IIayda Turk: Attentional Biases and Anxiety in Children and Adolescents (Co-Supervisor)
  • Yuqing Yang: Cross-cultural Adaptation and Validation of the Core Psychometric Instruments Used in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Assessing the Validity and Reliability of ACT Measures in the Chinese Populations (Second Supervisor)

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology

  • Caroline Jones: The relationships between self-compassion, emotional intelligence, depression, anxiety and carer burden in informal family carers of individuals with a diagnosis of dementia.
  • Vera Schroeter: The Role of Self-compassion and Psychological Flexibility in Moderating the Effectsof Carer Burden on Wellbeing in Caregivers of Children with Chronic Conditions
  • Bethan Perry: Self-compassion, Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Secondary Traumatic Stress in Social Workers
  • Alice Marten: Examining the Role of Internal and External Shame in Mediating the Impact of Childhood Trauma on Symptoms of Hallucinations and Paranoia

Past PhD students supervised

PhD (year of completion)

Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (year of completion)

Research summary

As a broad outline, my research seeks to build a holistic biopsychosocial model to understand vulnerability and resilience to depression, with the ultimate goal to improve prevention and early intervention strategies.  Much of my work involves scientific investigations into the basic psychosocial and neural-cognitive mechanisms underpinning our emotional experiences; hence my research spans across the disciplines of Clinical Psychology, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry.

Our Centre for Applied Developmental Psychology has a specific focus on applying developmental psychological models to understand mental helth and wellbeing; my specific research expertise lies in adolescent depression. Adolescence is a tricky developmental stage; it is the time when we see an alarming increase in emotional difficulties, while rapid neural-cognitive maturation also offers hope that young people may have greater capacity to build resilience. My work focuses on examining how young people at risk of depression process emotional information across attention, interpretation and memory, using both behavioural and brain imaging experiments. I currently leading as Principal Investigator a Wellcome Trust funded Emotional Vulnerability in Adolescence (EVA) project (see

I am also part of the multidisciplinary teams collaborating on a number of Scottish cohort longitudinal studies, including the Scottish Bipolar Family Study, the Generation Scotland Study, and the Stratifying Resilience and Depression Longitudinally (STRADL) Study. You can watch our video on the Wellcome Trust funded STRADL project examining risk and resilience to depression here

I am also interested in the role of culture in the development of depression and mental health difficulties. Funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, I have built an international collaboration partnership with one of China's State Neuroscience Laboratories based at the University of Hong Kong. I have also hosted collaboration visits from scholars in Spain and Pakistan. I have supervised PhD projects looking at depression across countries and cultural groups, including China, Pakistan, Portugal.

My recent research interests also expand into the role of self-compassion in psychopathology. Amongst my many research projects, I am particularly excited about our Project Soothe. This is a unique project combining research and public engagement, inviting people from the general public to send in images that make them feel soothed. Please look up our website and take part in it!

See my CV for more details.

Knowledge exchange

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Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

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Past project grants

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View all 34 publications on Research Explorer

Invited Keynote Speakers: International Conference on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology 2017; Scottish Mental Health Research Network Annual Scientific Meeting 2015; in addition to 15 other invitations to speak in academic and non-academic institutions including 3 overseas universities.

Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy of Scotland (RSE YAS): I was elected member in 2014, subsequently appointed Co-Chair in 2015, Member of International Committee at RSE, Trustee of RSE Scotland SCIO, and represented RSE at Voice of the Future 2016 in the UK Parliament. I was also featured in the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy of Scotland’s Academic Women Now: Experiences of Mid-Career Academic Women in Scotland.

New Researcher Excellence Award by British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies 2009, in recognition of contribution translating basic scientific research to practice.

Scottish Crucible: Selected for this prestigious leadership programme for early career researchers in 2016, subsequently appointed to management committee of Scottish Crucible 2017.

British Psychological Society: Elected Fellow of BPS, BPS Public Engagement and Media Award 2017