Cara Ghiglieri


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Personal profile

Research Interests

I am a final year PhD researcher in the School of Psychology, Queen’s University Belfast. My research interests are primarily in the field of health psychology with particular focus on improving health-related quality of life outcomes in vulnerable and marginalised populations. My PhD explores the process of psychological adjustment to advanced oesophago-gastric cancer, using mixed-methods research. 

I graduated with a BSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice in 2012, where my dissertation focused on societal perceptions of female offenders. I then spent a number of years working and volunteering in cancer services, before returning to university in 2019 to commence my PhD in Health Psychology. 

I am particularly interested in research that seeks to challenge inequalities within the healthcare system. In recent years, I have worked as a member of the workforce responsible for developing the NI Cancer Strategy 2022-2032, as well as an advisor on Marie Curie’s Death and Dying in the UK research programme which seeks to deliver change to policy and service-provision across the UK.  

I am supervised by Dr Lisa Graham-Wisener and Professor Martin Dempster.

Research Experience:

PhD Thesis: Improving Health-Related Quality of Life in Individuals with Advanced Oesophago-Gastric Cancer (2019-present, thesis to be submitted March 2023)

    • As part of my research, I have conducted the following individual research projects:
      • a JBI convergent-segregated systematic review,
      • a cross-sectional qualitative interview study using IPA analysis
      • a longitudinal qualitative interview study using IPA analysis
      • a cross-sectional quantitative survey study

Research assistant on project MusiCARER: Building capacity for high-quality research on the role of music therapy in supporting informal carers of people at end of life (July-Sept 2021)

      • This role saw me working as part of a collaborative team on a systematic review whilst adhering to tight timelines.
      • My duties included conducting full-text screening of articles against eligibility criteria, undertaking citation and reference list harvesting of included articles and assessing the quality appraisal of included articles


  • Postgraduate Representative of Northern Ireland British Psychological Society (NIBPS)
  • Committee member of OGCancerNI
  • Member of the Cancer Strategy Palliative and End of Life Care subgroup
  • Certified JBI systematic reviewer


As a PGTA, I have prided myself on creating an environment that accommodates the needs of students while still promoting a high level of critical thought and academic writing skills. I enjoy adopting a student-centred approach to learning by encouraging active engagement that enables students to develop a deeper understanding of the topic through self-discovery and problem-solving.

Teaching Experience

  • Lab Demonstrator and Assignment Marker (undergraduate and postgraduate level) (Oct 2019-present)
    • Supporting the delivery of high-quality psychology teaching during laboratory-based teaching sessions/lectures and promoting a high-quality student learning experience
    • Assisting students with research activities in support of the core curriculum
    • Marking student assignments, and providing constructive, timely and appropriate feedback
  • Summer School Lecturer (July-August 2022)
    • Delivering teaching and assessment activities, with a specific emphasis on health psychology, psychological models of health and adjustment to chronic illness
    • Designing and developing taught course materials including presentations, worksheets and interactive activities using Socrative, Padlet and Vevox
    • Designing and delivering assessments based on lecture materials

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities


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