Kathryn Asbury



St Augustine’s Primary, Leeds; St Dominic’s Middle School Leeds, Cardinal Heenan High School, Leeds, Notre Dame V1 Form College, Leeds, University of Cambridge, Royal Holloway College, King’s College London


BA (Hons) History, PGDip Psychology and PhD Behavioural Genetics

Work History:

Social Developmental and Genetic Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London

Current Job:

Lecturer in Psychology in Education


University of York

My Interview

Me and my work

I’m a Psychologist in the University of York’s Psychology in Education Research Centre, with a strong interest in how young people figure out what they enjoy and what they’re good at. I use twin studies to help understand how genetic and environmental effects play out in schools. I am interested in finding the experiences that make a difference to children and young people’s achievement, well-being, interests and aspirations once genetic effects have been taken into account.

Typical day

There’s no such thing. I lecture in biological psychology, research methods, individual differences and genetics in education. I supervise dissertations and am a pastoral supervisor for undergraduates and postgraduates. I am developing a new MSc programme and I chair our mitigating circumstances committee. I give talks at home and abroad, attend conferences, write articles and grant proposals. I do my research and write about and disseminate the work going on in my field to people who wouldn’t automatically access it.

What topics do you work on?

Genetic and environmental influences on academic achievement, well-being, interests and future plans.

What methods do you use?

Twin studies. I use quantitative data from the Twins’ Early Development Study (TEDS) and also interview monozygotic (identical twins) about the differences between them and how they came about.

Who was your favourite teacher?

Miss Casey was my middle school English and Music teacher. When I was bored in English she let me read my own books at the back and brought me new and interesting books to try. When my family couldn’t afford a musical instrument she found me a flute and made sure I got lessons. She personalised her teaching and my learning and seemed to genuinely care that life worked out well for me.