SINAPSE is committed to supporting PhD and Early Career Researchers across the network in their development. We hold an annual PhD Welcome Event open to all 1st and 2nd year PhDs throughout SINAPSE, make funds available for exchange trips aiding in forming links at home and abroad, and our Annual Scientific Meeting is the perfect place to begin presenting posters and research in a friendly atmosphere.
Aiding us in supporting you are volunteer representatives from our partner universities who form the Early Career Researcher Committee. Each university has at least 1 PhD and 1 ECR representative and in turn a PhD and ECR from the Committee attends the SINAPSE Executive meetings.
We have online training, and are developing an entrepreneurial course for the SINAPSE network.
We also recognise that sometimes you face difficulties and need support. We have an ECR support page which directs you to resources and help at your home institution.
Early Career Researcher Committee
The Early Career Researcher Committee represents the views of PhD students and Early Career Researchers to SINAPSE so we can better support and respond to the needs of this important part of the imaging community. If you’d like to be a representative please contact Richard Mosses.
Current ECRC Representatives
Aberdeen – PhD Rep Liene Balode; ECR Rep – No Rep at the moment
Edinburgh – PhD Rep Fabian Yii; ECR Rep – No Rep at the moment
St Andrews – PhD Rep Alex Backler, ECR Rep – No Rep at the moment
Stirling – PhD Rep Emily Cunningham; ECR Rep – No Rep at the moment
PhD Representative – Liene Balode
Biography: Liene Balode is a 2nd year PhD student in Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen. Her research investigates the optimisation of T1ρ MRI for cardiac applications at 3T MRI. Liene’s research interests include T1ρ MRI, cardiac MRI, and image processing.
PhD Representative – Martina Kopcanova
Biography: Martina Kopcanova is a postgraduate researcher currently in the first year of a combined MSc-PhD studentship based in the Psychology Division at the University of Dundee. Her research interests are primarily in the fields of cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychology with a focus on non-invasive electrophysiology like M/EEG. Her current research projects involve investigating neural correlates of metacognition and attentional lapses, as well as biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease
ECR Representative – Dr Yilong Zhang
Biography: Dr Yilong Zhang is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Science and Engineering, University of Dundee. Yilong obtained his PhD at the University of Dundee in 2022 with research focused on optical coherence tomography (OCT) technology and applications. Yilong’s main research interests are OCT, elastography for medical diagnosis, and tissue-engineering applications. He also has extensive experience in ultrasound and MRI imaging for prostate disease, investigating the bioeffects of low-intensity ultrasound, wound healing, image processing and statistical modelling.
Phone: +44 (0) 7731960231
PhD Representative – Fabian Yii
Biography: Fabian Yii is a multi-disciplinary PhD candidate based at the Institue for Regeneration and Repair in Edinburgh BioQuarter. His research focuses on developing individualised prediction models for myopia (short-sightedness), which is a highly prevalent condition characterised by blurred distance vision (often because the eyeball is too long). Another focus of his research is to predict the development and progression of pathologic myopia, which is a sight-threatening disease often conflated with “high myopia”. He aims to tap into artificial intelligence to predict these conditions from routinely acquired photographs or scans of the back of the eye. The goal of his research is to accelerate the advancement of precision medicine in clinical practice, which in the context of myopia means “myopia treatment of the right intensity for the right individual at right time”.
Follow his work on ResearchGate (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Fabian-Yii-2/contributions) and GitHub (https://github.com/fyii200)
PhD Representative – Elizabeth Jacobs
Elizabeth Jacobs is a multidiscipinary researcher and PhD student, currently working within the SOCIAL AI CDT, located at the University of Glasgow. Her interest in human behaviour and emotion science was further cultivated by her time at York, when she was enrolled there for a BSc in Psychology. In her final year, she specialised and designed her dissertation project around the Dangerous Decisions theory and first impressions of faces. Furthermore, Elizabeth also conducted aliterature survey on whether the modulation of human emotions is capable via artificial intelligence. Both of these independent research avenues really honed my interest in on the relationship between human behaviour and artificial intelligence, especially in relation to emotions, micro-expressions and body language. Her current research interests extend beyond her undergraduate psychology background, into human behaviour, computing science and artificial intelligence domains. Elizabeth’s current research project revolves around the fight or flight phenonmena, and how virtual reality can be harnessed to study and modulate the emotional appraisal of fear, aggression and empathy.
Elizabeth is always keen to collaborate with her fellow researchers, to paint a more comprehensive picture of emotion science and evoked behavioural responses that manifest through bodily action and facial expressions.
Human behaviour, consisting of emotion appraisal, body langugage and micro-expressions. Survival responses that are centric to fear and trauma research. The use of artificial intelligence to emulate, replicate and evoke emotional states for study.
PhD Representative – Jayden Tomkinson
Biography: Jayden Tomkinson (they/them) is a Glasgow based PhD researcher in Medical Robotics. They are based in the James Watt Building of Glasgow University. Their research interest include: ultrasound diagnosis, medical robotics and autonomous systems
St Andrews Representatives
PhD Representative – Alex Backler
Biography: Alex Backler is a 1st year EASTBIO PhD candidate in Psychology at St Andrews University. His research investigates multisensory interactions and its behavioural benefits using EEG and computational modeling. His research interests are decision-making and cooperation. To investigate such interests, he has taken a multidisciplinary approach by using tools from several different disciplines (i.e. primatology, psychology, neuroscience, and evolutionary game theory) such as observational studies, behavioural experiments, neuroimaging, computational modeling, and computer simulations.
PhD Representative – Emily Cunningham
Biography: Emily Cunningham is a 1st year PhD student in the Psychology department at the University of Stirling. Her research involves finding reliable neural and physiological markers of attentional lapses, both in the lab and outside of the lab, in more ‘real-world’ settings.
PhD Representative – Claire Rogers
Biography: Claire rogers is a 1st year multi-disciplinary PhD student working within the NeuraSearch laboratory at the University of Strathclyde. Having completed her BSc and MSc in Psychology, her research interests include Alzheimer’s Disease, particularly its management and detection, Mild Cognitive Impairment, neuropsychology, and the integration of computing science and psychology. Her current research involves exploring the neuropsychological underpinnings of information relevance in Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment.
ECR Representative – Peter Lukacs
Biography: Dr Peter Lukacs is a research fellow at the Centre for Ultrasonic Engineering, University of Strathclyde. He currently works on Scattering-based Ultrasonic Arrays, which is supported by his EPSRC Doctoral Prize. Peter obtained his BEng and PhD at University of Strathclyde in 2017 and 2023, respectively. His PhD work was mainly focused on developing a system and imaging algorithms for high quality, non-contact, 3D ultrasonic imaging using Laser Induced Phased Arrays. His main research interests include non-destructive testing, ultrasonic imaging, 3D visualisation, remote sensing and phased array design.