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 current research aims to improve our understanding of functional connectivity networks and underlying dynamic fluctuations. I work primarily on data from the Human Connectome Project and 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.
In order to allow functional connectivity MRI to achieve it's full potential as a commonly used diagnostic biomarker, it is essential to improve our understanding of functional connectivity networks both at rest and during task performance. As yet, we do not have a full understanding of the (electro-) physiological mechanisms that give rise to the coherent fluctuations, nor do we understand the behavioural relevance of such fluctuations. A closely related challenge concerns the development and systematic comparison of appropriate analysis tools that can provide the sensitivity and specificity needed. Specifically, there is a need for analysis tools that explore both stationary and non-stationary dynamic fluctuations in functional connectivity.
In my research I aim to contribute to our understanding of these mechanistic and analytic aspects of functional connectivity, which is becoming increasingly important in the light of large scale epidemiological studies such as the Human Connectome Project, UK Biobank and the Whitehall Study.