University of York

Empower Partner The University of York
Hull York Medical School

The University of York (UoY) established in 1963, is a public university offering over 250 undergraduate courses and numerous post-graduate taught and research degrees across sciences, arts and humanities and social sciences. >
University of York - Empower Partner

The UoY is home to more than 18,000 students from over 140 countries. It is a proud member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive UK Universities. Integrated in the Hull York Medical School (HYMS) within the Department of Health Sciences sits the mental health and addiction research group (MHARG). One of the group’s key themes is Translational, Stress and Psychosomatic Research, led by Professor Christina van der Feltz-Cornelis. The team members of this group collaborate with Europe’s leading institutions through its membership in different research consortiums and networks. The projects within this theme include the exploration of psychological, biological and environmental mechanisms underpinning stress and stress-related mental health conditions.

The CANDO study is an observational study with an international advisory board that analyses possible etiological factors in conversion disorder/functional neurological disorder. A partnership with the James Lind Alliance, Tilburg University and the clinical Centre of Excellence for Body, Mind and Health in the Netherlands explores research priorities for patients and clinicians in the field of medically not yet explained symptoms. In collaboration with Erasmus University and Leiden University, The Netherlands, the official Dutch version of the ReQol Questionnaire was developed and validated. Team members are currently translating and validating the Physical Symptoms Questionnaire in collaboration with the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. The team explores the association between pain and social exclusion in the UK Biobank dataset that contains data on 500,000 members of the general population in the United Kingdom. In collaboration with Kings College and the University of Brighton, the team published an analysis in data from the UPBEAT study that explored what comes first in patients with cardiovascular disorder: cardiac pain or depression and anxiety.

As leaders of work package one for the EMPOWER project, the UoY team, led by Professor Christina van der Feltz-Cornelis, will design the e-health intervention. This will involve developing components to tackle stigma and raise awareness of mental health, to reduce psychosocial risk factors in the workplace, to prevent and reduce psychological distress and to help maintain healthy days at work.

Translational, stress and psychosomatic research >

Project Staff

Professor Christina van der Feltz-Cornelis
Professor Christina van der Feltz-Cornelis

PhD in Psychiatry
Lead of the Translational, Stress and Psychosomatic Research theme.
Honorary Consultant Psychiatry in the TEWV NHS Trust, York.


Christina van der Feltz-Cornelis, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and epidemiologist, is member of the mental health and addiction group in the Dept. of Health Sciences and HYMS, University of York since 2018. Before that, she was professor of social psychiatry at Tilburg University, the Netherlands.

She is clinically affiliated with TEWV NHS Trust where she provides an expert service for complex somatic symptom disorders in Yorkshire. She is a member of the International Advisory Group for the Revision of ICD-10/Mental and Behavioural Disorders.

She is a world-renowned mental health researcher in the field of combined somatic and mental disorders with wide experience in both clinical trials and epidemiological studies. She participated in the European funded project A Roadmap for Mental Health Research in Europe (ROAMER), leading the Clinical Research Taskforce.

Rebecca Woodhouse

Rebecca Woodhouse is a research fellow in MHARG. She completed her master’s at the University of York in Applied Health Research in 2016. She has worked as a researcher on a number of different randomised controlled trials and clinical trials of investigational medicinal products (CTIMP). These trials have mainly focussed on brief psychological interventions for common mental health problems in different populations. Rebecca has also authored several Cochrane reviews looking at interventions for drug-using offenders and interventions for delirium.

Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith provides administrative and research support for the UoY EMPOWER team.