News & Updates

2019

July 2019

- Presented a talk at the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The talk resulted in the formation of an international collaboration to improve systematic reviews in Psychological Science.

- Joined the ReproducibiliTea organising committee; my responsibilities will be for community building and merchandising.

June 2019

- My supervisor, Dr Ellen Poliakoff, will be presenting my poster (Analysis of sub-threshold errors reveals no deficit in response inhibition in mild to moderate Parkinson's) at the World Parkinson's Congress in Kyoto, Japan. All relevant materials and information are available on the OSF (https://osf.io/pgafe/).

May 2019

- Attended the Turing Way book dash where we collaboratively worked on the guide to reproducible research. I also achieved a dream I didn't even know I had when I was immortalised in the amazing illustrations of Matt from Scriberia!

April 2019

- Marta Majewska (MRes student and collaborator) and I had an insightful experience with some Patient and Public Involvement, in order to make our next study appropriate for people with Parkinson's to participate in.

- Marta presented her final year undergraduate project as a poster at the Experimental Psychology Society meeting at Manchester.

- I attended the first UK Open Science Working Groups meeting at Aston University. Many of the ReproducibiliTea leaders got to meet in real life, and there were some great talks from colleagues all over the UK.

- I visited Dr Monty Silverdale's movement disorders clinic at Salford Royal Foundation Trust hospital to set up the next study and gain some new clinical knowledge.

March 2019

- I was invited to contribute to the University of Manchester's Open Research in HE Medium site. I wrote a blog post about doing reproducible and open science from the perspective of an Early Career Researcher, as well as reflecting on January's Advanced Methods in Reproducible Science workshop.

- We held our second Open Science Working Group meeting at the university

February 2019

- Inspired by early career researchers at the University of Oxford I, and 3 other ECRs, have started a University of Manchester ReproducibiliTea journal club. We are closely affiliated with the university's Open Science Working Group and hope to have regularly fortnightly meetings where we discuss issues of reproducibility in various published papers. It is open to all career levels and disciplines within the university.

January 2019

- I was picked to attend the "Advanced Methods in Reproducible Science Workshop" at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park. It was a fantastic week to hone many of the skills I believe to be essential to becoming a good researcher. We spent a week learning and discussing experimental design, data simulation, power analysis, registered reports, risk of bias, collaborative working, systematic reviews, data analysis (R), version control (Git), Bayesian data analysis, and career management. We also had a hackathon and set up many collaborative projects which we will continue to work on in the future. It's probably the best thing I've done during my PhD, and will inform how I work in the future. A fellow attendee, Dr Emma Norris, wrote a great blog post on the event which you can read here.

- My poster submission ("Analysis of sub-threshold errors reveals no deficit in response inhibition in mild to moderate Parkinson’s") was accepted for the 5th World Parkinson Congress in June which will be held in Kyoto, Japan.

- MRes student, Marta Majewska, also had her poster presentation accepted for the April meeting of the Experimental Psychology Society based on our recent work together "Continuous force measurement provides new insights on the effects of healthy ageing on inhibitory control".

2018

December 2018

- Our paper from my work at Lincoln, "Eye Movements in the “Morris Maze” Spatial Working Memory Task Reveal Deficits in Strategic Planning", has recently been accepted by the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience and the advanced online copy is available to read now.

"Abstract: Analysis of eye movements can provide insights into processes underlying performance of cognitive tasks. We recorded eye movements in healthy participants and people with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease during a token foraging task based on the spatial working memory component of the widely used Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery. Participants selected boxes (using a mouse click) to reveal hidden tokens. Tokens were never hidden under a box where one had been found before, such that memory had to be used to guide box selections. A key measure of performance in the task is between search errors (BSEs) in which a box where a token has been found is selected again. Eye movements were found to be most commonly directed toward the next box to be clicked on, but fixations also occurred at rates higher than expected by chance on boxes farther ahead or back along the search path. Looking ahead and looking back in this way was found to correlate negatively with BSEs and was significantly reduced in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Refixating boxes where tokens had already been found correlated with BSEs and the severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms. It is concluded that eye movements can provide an index of cognitive planning in the task. Refixations on locations where a token has been found may also provide a sensitive indicator of visuospatial memory integrity. Eye movement measures derived from the spatial working memory task may prove useful in the assessment of executive functions as well as neurological and psychiatric diseases in the future. "

November 2018

- I had a very busy and fulfilling time at the Parkinson's UK Research Conference in York:

- I was invited to be on the Q&A panel in the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) workshop, and to help facilitate discussions for real-life case studies of how researchers have implemented successful PPI. I ended up facilitating the table discussing the case study of my own research project, so it was really interesting hearing how others would have approached my work. There were some interesting questions for us on the panel and I really hope I inspired researchers, particularly early career researchers, to use PPI in their future work.

- Presented a poster on my collaborative PPI work, and how it helped to shape my project, "How Patient and Public Involvement shaped the development of a training tool for impulse control disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson’s".

- My work was featured in the new edition of Parkinson's UK's "Patient and Public Involvement: Guidance for Researchers" handbook, which has just been launched.

- I took part in Skype Q&As with people with Parkinson's who were training to be PPI volunteers with Parkinson's UK. They had the opportunity to ask me questions about the researcher perspective in a collaborative relationship that they hope to be a part of.

- The Manchester Open Science Working Group, part of the UK Reproducibility Network, met for the first time. We are currently a small group, but with big ideas to expand across the university across multiple departments. Our aim is to improve the quality of scientific practice, to make it open, reproducible, and replicable, and to put together resources to help our colleagues incorporate these principles into their workflow.

October 2018

- I was very grateful to have the opportunity to attend the Movement Disorders clinic at Salford Royal Hospital. Over an afternoon I enhanced my knowledge of Parkinson's and other movement disorders in a clinical environment.

- The first North West Universities R Day was a great event, learning how other researchers in local universities use R in their own fields.

September 2018

- We have a brilliant MRes student (whose BSc dissertation I co-supervised) collaborating with me on my next study, and we will be working very closely together on an ambitious project for her MRes thesis and a chapter of my PhD thesis.

July 2018

- Attended the Manchester Vision Group 1st Annual Conference, a full day of talks about the vision research going on in the area.

June 2018

- My research was featured again on the Parkinson's UK blog website in an article about the prevalence of impulse control disorders in Parkinson's.

May 2018

- We had some interesting talks within the Games Research Network, particularly on the use of player avatars and the way gamers feel connected, or disconnected, from their on-screen avatar.

March 2018

- I have been supervising an undergraduate student for her final year project where she has been using our novel response force measure to examine impulsivity and inhibitory control in ageing.

February 2018

- Went to the first meeting of the North West Games Research Network for postgraduates. This is a group of early career researchers in the area who are interested in all aspect of research and games, from historical and literary analysis to experimental methods for game design.

- My research was featured in an article by Parkinson's UK, where one of our Patient and Public Involvement volunteers shared her experience of helping to advise my project. You can read it here.

January 2018

- Jude and I delivered a talk at the Bramhall branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A) about Parkinson's and our research. Some interesting questions and a very engaged audience.

- Attended the London meeting of the EPS, particularly for the symposium on inhibiting actions.

- Took part in Hugh Kearns' workshop "Turbocharge Your Writing" and "Imposter Syndrome" and came away with some great tips for navigating PhD life.

2017

December 2017

- My research featured in an article by Parkinson's UK on impulse control disorders, and the impacts these can have on people with Parkinson's.

- BEAM lab went on a trip to the Robot Exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry. Lots of interesting displays related to all our research; perception, action and motor control, timing. Some definite uncanny valley moments!

November 2017

- I was invited to speak at Parkinson's UK's Information and Awareness Day in Greater Manchester, aimed at providing support for those who have been newly diagnosed with Parkinson's. I gave a talk about BEAM lab's research into Parkinson's over the last few years, and how people both with and without Parkinson's can make a real difference helping us design and carry out our work.

- I was invited to to return to my alma mater to give a talk about my PhD research at the "Positively Parkinson's" event, hosted jointly by the University of Lincoln's school of Psychology and Parkinson's UK. The event was attended by a mixture of people with Parkinson's, their family members, nurses, other health professionals, and academics.

October 2017

- Parkinson's UK kindly approached me to comment on my experiences, as an early career researcher, of involving people with Parkinson's in the design of my research. You can read Natasha's article about Public and Patient Involvement for ECRs here.

- We held an informative teleconference with our volunteer collaborators from the Parkinson's UK Research Support Network to discuss plans for our next study.

- Will be spending some of the next 3 months teaching on the second year undergraduate module Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology, and the third year module Cases in Clinical Neuropsychology.

September 2017

- I attended the Oxford Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience for a second time where there were lots of interesting talks about Parkinson's and impulsivity. Also a great morning session on replicability/reproducibility with some practical tips to make our research practices better.

- BEAM lab held an evening exhibition as part of the "Science Uncovered" event at Manchester Museum. We showcased some of my work on motor inhibition, as well as other lab members' work on timing and action observation.

August 2017

- I successfully passed my continuation report viva examination, and entered the second year of the PhD.

July 2017

- I ran some visual illusion demos and explained how we process visual information for GCSE aged pupils who visited the university as part of our "Big Brain" summer event.

- Went to the University of Reading for the Experimental Psychology Society's July meeting. I presented a poster showing preliminary results (data collection ongoing) of my first PhD experiment, and got some feedback from attendees on our novel method of measuring responses and response times, "Continuous force measurement of response activation and inhibition in Parkinson’s disease".

- Atteded a MATLAB training course taught by Dr Antonia Hamilton at University College London to improve my programming skills. We covered how to programme experiments in MATLAB as well as analyse data, and this will also help me translate those skills to other languages.

- I organised and hosted a workshop for people with Parkinson's from the Parkinson's UK Research Support Network, supported by our Research Involvement Award. I gave talks about different aspects of our research plans and the attendees gave feedback and suggestions of things we could change to make our study more practical for people with Parkinson's to participate in. We will work together collaboratively for the rest of my PhD project.

May 2017

- I presented some of my early PhD work on a poster at the Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy's PGR conference, "Response inhibition and impulsivity in Parkinson's disease".

- Signed up for a practical training session on writing manuscripts in LaTeX, and using Github for version control.

April 2017

- Attended Sense About Science's "Standing Up For Science" workshop at the University, which was aimed at helping ECRs engage with the media responsibly, with advice from both journalists and scientists.

- Attended the Bristol arm of the worldwide "March for Science".

March 2017

- We successfully won a small grant from Parkinson's UK as part of their Research Involvement Award. This will help us pay to host Patient and Public Involvement volunteers at the university (supported by Parkinson's UK's) throughout my PhD.

February 2017

- Took some neuroanatomy classes with a few other members of the department which have helped fill a gap in my knowledge.

2016

November 2016

- I presented some work from my Masters degree at the Parkinson's UK Research Conference in Leeds, "Impulsive Action in Parkinson's" .

October 2016

- Started teaching on two second year modules: "Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology", and "Perception and Action".

September 2016

- Finished my Master's degree, submitted the thesis, and presented my work in the form of a poster. I then started the PhD programme a week later after a week off.

- Attended a Patient and Public Involvement training session from Parkinson's UK which they hosted at Manchester. The skills will prove to be very useful as I plan to use Patient and Public Involvement a lot in my PhD.

June 2016

- Demonstrated visual illusions in a workshop at the "Big Brain" event aimed at GCSE pupils from the local area.

- The university hosted a "Brain Box" event to coincide with Manchester Day in the town hall, which was attended by over 5000 visitors from the local area. BEAM lab hosted a section on action and imitation, and I did some live data collection of a 2-player Stop Signal task.

May 2016

- Attended the British Psychology Society's "Replicability and Reproducibility in Psychological Science" debate at the Royal Society in London. Videos of the presentations and discussions can be found here.

April 2016

- Manchester hosted the Research in Imagery and Observation (RIO) 10th Anniversary Meeting, and I presented a poster of my planned PhD work and attended the workshop on action observation and imitation in Parkinson's.

2015

October 2015

- Took part in the "Science Spectacular" public engagement event at Whitworth Hall, where we had a stall showcasing our research related to action observation and imitation.

September 2015

- Attended the Oxford Autumn School in Cognitive Neuroscience

- Graduated from my BSc Psychology degree at the University of Lincoln and moved to Manchester for my Master's degree (MRes Psychology), as part of a 1+3 studentship from the Economic and Social Research Council.