Every year, the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging recruit a new cohort of public engagement ambassadors.
These ambassadors follow a training programme which introduces them to the concept of public engagement with research, and equips them with skills in public speaking, narrative, generating ideas for activities, and communicating about animal research, among other things. They also commit to taking part in at least one public engagement activity.
These are our ambassadors for 2023:
|Roberto Bellanti is a DPhil student in Clinical Neurosciences. His research focuses on fluid biomarkers of peripheral nerve disease. He is also an Honorary Neurology Registrar at Oxford University Hospitals and previously undertook his clinical training between Cambridge, London, and the East of England. Through public engagement, Roberto hopes to create opportunities for scientists to meet the public and make science accessible to people of varying backgrounds and degrees of scientific knowledge. He also hopes to share the results of his research with patients, families and the wider public.|
|Laura Cini is a Research Assistant in the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN). She supports WIN's programme of translational research which includes assisting with activities of multiple in-house translational clinical research studies and external trials. She supports WIN's innovation and technology transfer activities and is also involved with policy engagement projects. She is excited to be a public engagement ambassador to better engage participants of clinical trials and ensure this reaches a diverse group of people.|
|Arun Joseph is a DPhil student in Clinical Neurosciences and a graduate scholar at Jesus College. His research focuses on how to get patients safely off the ventilators after a primary brain injury. As a public engagement ambassador, he would like to reach out to professionals, charities, patients and their families and the general public to emphasise the importance of ventilator management in neurocritical care.|
|Eoin Kelleher is a DPhil student in Irene Tracey's PAIN group, and his work focuses on the interplay between sleep and cognition in people with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. His background is as an anaesthetist from Dublin, Ireland. When not at work, he can be found doodling cartoons!|
|Camille Lasbareilles is a DPhil student in Clinical Neuroscience at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. Her research aims to improve our current understanding of non-invasive brain stimulation, specifically transcranial alternating current stimulation, in the context of healthy human motor learning and post-stroke upper limb motor recovery. Camille feels that public engagement is a vital part of science and is thrilled to be a part of a team that promotes the dissemination of knowledge to the wider community in a fun and accessible manner.|
|Cecilia Lee-Bargagna is a Lab and Facilities Technician in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences. As part of the Facilities Team, she helps to provide support to the diverse research work carried out in the Department. Prior to this job, she had extensive experience working with individuals with very complex needs, their families and a wide circle of professionals. Cecilia is excited to be a Public Engagement Ambassador to help make neuroscience accessible to people from any background.|
|Jade Marsh is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Clinical Neurosciences. Her research focuses on finding a cure for Parkinson's disease by modelling its pathology in human cells. To create faithful models of the disease, Jade uses stem cells from patients which are converted into brain cells. Many promising drugs are then tested on these 'brains-in-a-dish'. Through public engagement, Jade wants to help make neuroscience accessible to all audiences and share the hope that comes from pioneering research.|
|Bernadette Monaghan is an Msc student and Neurovascular Clinical Fellow with the Oxford Vascular Study (OXVASC). During neurology training, she worked in acute stroke care and from there, developed a strong interest in stroke prevention. Through her research with OXVASC, she hopes to learn more about the prevalence, prognosis and predictors of stroke in the posterior circulation. Bernadette hopes to share her enthusiasm for neuroscience research and improve awareness regarding stroke prevention through public engagement activities.|
|Sumedha Nalluru is a Research Assistant in the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit and the Department of Experimental Psychology. She is working on a project looking into the neural computations in learning and memory. Prior to this she completed her MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, and did one of her rotation projects on microglia in ALS and the other on learning and decision-making in adolescent psychiatric conditions. Through public and policy engagement she hopes to better communicate science and research to make it more inclusive and accessible.|
|Barbara Robinson is a Research Assistant in the Plasticity Group at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. Her research examines the relationship between sleep and rehabilitation after stroke, such as testing whether poor sleep can be improved in stroke survivors and if this has a subsequent impact on movement learning. As a Public Engagement Ambassador, she hopes to deliver exciting experiences that make research both accessible and relatable.|
|Faissal Sharif is a DPhil student in Clinical Neurosciences at the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit. He is investigating novel non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) applications targeting psychiatric symptoms present in a variety of affective and neurological disorders. As a freelance journalist, he has written numerous bylined articles on topics related to neuroscience, neurotechnology and neuroethics. In addition, he was featured in documentaries, performed at science slams and conducted workshops. As a public engagement ambassador, he aims to share his passion for neuroscience research with a wider audience.|
|Abi Wyllie is a Research Assistant in the Vision Group at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN), working on multiple research projects investigating amblyopia (lazy eye), Charles Bonnet syndrome, and looking behaviour. She is currently working on a public engagement research project about art and culture and has been involved in other public engagement activities in the past, including the 'Big Brain Roadshow', which set up interactive stalls in secondary schools to show students the types of things the University is researching and get them interested in science and research. She is excited to work with the public and increase communication with them to better spread the word about the research being done at WIN.|
|Qiming Yuan (Simon) is a DPhil Student in Experimental Psychology at the Speech and Brain Research Group. Simon is investigating the neural basis of speech disorders (e.g., stuttering). Specifically, He uses functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to see how brain function and structure change in people with speech disorders and how we can use noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS) to enhance their speech fluency. The research has the potential for both understanding the role of our brain when we speak and triggering the improvement of therapeutic interventions for people with speech disorders. He is thrilled to be a public engagement ambassador and hopes to use this opportunity to introduce speech and language research to the public.|