RADAR-CNS Research blog: Aki Rintala, KU Leuven

Aki is a PhD student in the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at KU Leuven in Belgium. He is part of coordinating clinical harmonisation across clinical sites in the RADAR-CNS project.

Aki is a PhD student in the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at KU Leuven in Belgium. He is part of coordinating clinical harmonisation across clinical sites in the RADAR-CNS project. His special interest is an electronic diary called the experience sampling method (ESM), which is used to assess daily life experiences such as mood, activity, stress, social interactions, quality of sleep, cognition, and momentary quality of life.

Tell us about your current role with RADAR-CNS

I am part of the WP3 which is responsible for harmonising the protocols and clinical workflow within clinical sites.

How did you first get interested in research? 

I believe that was in 2015 (I know, not that long ago) when I had a bit of luck and was able to start as a research assistant in a systematic review project in the University of Jyväskylä, in Finland. At that time, I was finishing my master’s degree in health sciences. It was my first experience of research to gather and extract the data, and weirdly enough, I really enjoyed the careful “investigation” work of double-checking of double-checked values, assessing study quality, conduct analyses, and reporting the findings. 

What aspects of your role with RADAR-CNS do you most enjoy?

Working with different experts such as clinicians, technicians, data analysts, and other researchers across Europe and in the US. It has been extremely interesting to be able to share knowledge from different fields. Every “branch” is needed to make sure that the RADAR-CNS project will meet its expectations and the unity of different expertise makes this extremely interesting for a young researcher like me.

Tell us about your career to date

I did my BA in Physiotherapy in 2006 at the University of Jyväskylä of Applied Sciences and I worked as a physiotherapist since then with some years of pause from clinical work due to research work.  

After the bachelor degree, I updated my knowledge with two master's degrees – one in health care management & leadership in 2011 at the Lahti University of Applied Sciences and one in health sciences in a research and teacher training program at the University of Jyväskylä in 2016. Right after the last master's degree, I started my PhD studies in KU Leuven, Belgium, and currently working as a PhD student in RADAR-CNS.