In 2008 I completed my PhD in Medical Physics and Bioengineering at University College London before moving to the department of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology as a postdoctoral research scientist in Professor Maria Fitzgerald’s group. I am currently the lead postdoc in that group, responsible for supervising all the human neurophysiological studies and collaborating with colleagues at UCLH, GOSH and at the department of Statistical Sciences at UCL. I also hold honorary research positions at UCLH and King’s College London, and have been a visiting academic at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
In 2011, I was awarded a competitive Early Career grant from the International Association for the Study of Pain for $20,000 and last year I was awarded the prestigious UCL Early Career Neuroscience prize for my groundbreaking work on the development of nociception in human premature infants, published recently in Current Biology. This work also received considerable attention in the media and I have given interviews to national and international newspapers and journals. I am interested in engaging with the wider scientific community and have recently been elected to the UCL Early Career Neuroscience committee.
Throughout my career I have studied bioelectrical signals and in my postdoctoral years I have focused on the maturation of somatosensory processing in premature infants with a particular interest in pain perception. This led to the publication of high quality scientific papers in leading journals, including Current Biology, Neuroimage, and The Lancet.
The rate of premature births is rising in many European countries. In the UK the number of babies born at 22-25 weeks gestation and admitted to intensive care increased by 44% between 1995 and 2006 with a survival rate improvement of 13%. However, little is known about how the brain sensory functions mature in early development and the influence that premature sensory experiences have on their normal trajectory. With my research, I aim at understanding the development of cortical functions and underlying networks using non-invasive brain monitoring techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG). This is a collaborative project involving academics and clinicians from the departments of Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology (Prof M Fitzgerald), Statistical Sciences (Prof S Olhede) and the neontal unit at UCLH (Dr J Meek).