Photographer: John Cairns
I performed my undergraduate studies at University College in Maastricht (The Netherlands). During this time I became interested in neuroscientific research, specifically using MRI and transcranial magnetic stimulation methodologies. For my final year thesis project I worked with Dr Alex Sack on a study investigating interference between manual and mental rotation, for which I was awarded a maximum grade of 100%, and which was subsequently published.
In 2006 I moved to Sheffield (UK) for a one-year MSc degree in Brain Imaging and Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Psychology. For my MSc dissertation I analyzed rodent and human fMRI data using wavelet coherence analysis under the supervision of Dr Myles Jones. During my MSc degree and subsequent PhD research I became increasingly interested in the methodological challenges and nuances of fMRI data analysis.
Following my MSc, I moved to the Department of Psychiatry in Sheffield for my doctoral studies. Under the supervision of Dr Kwang Lee and Professor Peter Woodruff, I investigated sensorimotor timing and error correction using both fMRI and TMS. As part of my doctoral studies I was lucky to have strong collaborative links with Professor Tony Barker and Professor Simon Eickhoff.
In September 2011 I started as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Cognitive Affective Neuroscience group ran by Sonia Bishop at the FMRIB Centre in Oxford. Here, my work focused on identifying functional connectivity correlates of anxiety and depression. In April 2015 I moved to the Analysis group in the FMRIB Centre in Oxford, where I now work with Steve Smith on the neuroscience of connectomics.
Postdoctoral Researcher in the FMRIB Analysis Group
- Course co-organiser for the FSL Course
- Course co-organiser for the FMRIB Graduate Programme
My research focuses on:
The human brain is intrinsically organised into large scale connectivity networks. Effective communication within and between these networks is essential for function. Many mental disorders are thought to involve dysfunctional communication between different brain regions and networks, suggesting a large and important clinical biomarker potential of functional connectivity fMRI. However, the field of functional connectivity is relatively young, and there are several aspects that are not yet fully understood, including:
- The neurophysiological mechanisms underlying connectivity
- The need to develop, compare, and validate analysis approaches that are uniquely sensitive to connectivity
- Challenges for the interpretation of functional connectivity fMRI
My work addresses these challenges by performing research that spans across methodological, basic neuroscientific, and clinically applied fields, in order to allow functional connectivity fMRI measures to achieve their full biomarker potential.
Currently, my research primarily uses data from the Human Connectome Project and UK Biobank. In my research, I adopt cutting edge analysis techniques in order to improve our definition of well-known functional connectivity networks, characterise their spatial and temporal dynamics, and develop an understanding of their role in cognition, behaviour and disease.