University Research Lecturer / Research Fellow
Department of Experimental Psychology
Tell us a bit About your role
I am a Research Fellow in the Department of Experimental Psychology, in the Brain and Cognition Lab. My research focuses on investigating the core cognitive constructs of attention, short-term and long-term memories and their associated brain networks. I use a multimodal approach which includes computational modelling, psychophysics, eye-tracking and neuroimaging. Moreover, I apply the novel advances in our understanding of these processes to upgrade the study of mental health vs. risk in healthy ageing and examine the impairments in these abilities in disorders that effect cognition.
I became interested in psychology because of my mum – she was a developmental psychologist and growing up I was her main research participant. Later, my first ever lecture in my undergraduate course was on attention and I knew then that I have found what I wanted to do when I grow up- study attention and memory. After my bachelor’s I started my PhD in UCL, studying short-term memory in both health and disease. Once my PhD was completed, I moved to Oxford, and since then have been continuing my work on understanding attention and memory, with amazing colleagues and cutting-edge methodologies that are being developed here.
Considering that my work sits at an intersection between cognitive neuroscience and neurology, I have been fortunate to collaborate with many colleagues across the Medical Sciences Division, colleagues from Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Department of Psychiatry, OHBA and WIN in general.
What is the most meaningful aspect of your work?
There are two aspects of my work I find extremely meaningful. The first is my interactions with many patient volunteers who give up their valuable time to help us with our research. They do this knowing that what they do now, will not benefit them but may help others in years to come. This generosity of time and effort has made the hard work that goes into a patient study enjoyable.
The second is my students. Throughout the years, I have taught, supervised and mentored many students at different stages of their career. Seeing them grow into independent thinkers and brilliant scientists has been one of the greatest pleasures of my job.
Can you tell us about something you’ve done, contributed to that you’re most proud of?
My work on application of recent advances in the field of cognitive neuroscience to our understanding of disorders of old-age such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The main aim of this work is to develop more sensitive and specific tests for these disorders than the commonly used neuropsychological assessments, to aid early diagnosis and better treatment monitoring.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
A better integration between different departments, so that researchers like me can tackle a specific question. For example the identification of early markers of disorders, from different yet complementary angles. We often “speak” in different languages about the same topic, but we will all learn more if we talked to one another.