Aaron Kandola (2018 Cohort)

Aaron Kandola

About me: After graduating with a degree in Psychology from the University of Sussex, I went on to complete a research-based masters in Brain and Cognitive Science at the University of Amsterdam. Following an internship, I went on to work as a full-time Research Assistant with Monash University in Australia. My area of focus was investigating the impact of physical exercise on the brain, and its potential applications in mental health.

I returned to London in 2017 to work as a Research Officer for the Mental Health Foundation. Here I supported the development and delivery of research programmes that broadly focussed on the prevention of mental illness. I have also worked for several organisations as a freelance science and medical writer over the past few years. Currently, I work for Healthline to produce articles relating to different aspects of health and medicine.

My research: My project aims to investigate the relationship between physical activity and diet with depression, and their potential role in the prevention and treatment of mental illness. This will be carried out through a cross-sectional, and longitudinal analysis of a large, population-based dataset.

The difference my research makes: Physical activity and diet represent low-risk methods of improving mental health, and addressing the stark physical health inequalities associated with mental illness. They could be used to provide a range of benefits to the quality of mental healthcare, and contribute towards the prevention of mental illness in the population.

The results of this project can help to inform the development of cost-effective, lifestyle-based approaches for treating, and preventing depression. It can also contribute towards our understanding of the factors that underpin poor mental health. This will not only have implications for mental healthcare, but for public health policy.

Supervisors: Prof David Osborn and Dr Brendon Stubbs


  •  Breedvelt, J. J. F., Kandola, A., Kousoulis, A. A., Brouwer, M. E., Karyotaki, E., Bockting, C. L. H., & Cuijpers, P. M. W. (2018). What are the effects of preventative interventions on Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) in young adults? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Affective Disorders. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2018.05.010
  • Den Ouden, L., Kandola, A., Suo, C., Hendrikse, J., Costa, R., Watt, J. M., Lorenzetti, V., & Yucel, M. (2017). The Influence of Aerobic Exercise on Hippocampal Integrity and Function: A Multi-Modal Imaging Approach. Brain Plasticity. https://doi.org/10.3233/BPL-170053
  •  Kandola, A., Hendrikse, J., Lucassen, P. J., & Yucel, M. (2016). Aerobic exercise as a tool to improve hippocampal plasticity and function in humans: practical implications for mental health treatment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10: 373. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00373
  • Kandola, A.,1 Hendrikse, J.,1 Coxon, J., Rogasch, N., & Yucel, M. (2017). Combining aerobic exercise and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to improve brain function in health and disease. Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews, 83:11-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.09.023
  • Kandola, A., Vancampfort, D., Herring, M., Rebar, A., Hallgren, M., Firth, J., & Stubbs, B. (2018). Moving to Beat Anxiety: Epidemiology and Therapeutic Issues with Physical Activity for Anxiety. Current psychiatry reports20(8), 63. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-018-0923-x
  • Keuken, M. Schafer, A., Backhouse, K., Kandola, A., Beekhuizen, S., Himmer, L., et al., (2017). Effects of aging on T1, T2*, and QSM values in the subcortex using 7T MRI. Brain Structure and Function, 222(4): 2487-2505. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-016-1352-4

Pathway: Mental Health and Mental Health Care 

Location: UCL Division of Psychiatry

Email: a.kandola.18@ucl.ac.uk