I have recently completed my PhD at CoMPLEX (UCL's centre for interdisciplinary research in the medical and life sciences).
I originally trained as a physicist at Imperial before working for several years as a business analyst. In 2007 I went back to university to take an MSc in artificial intelligence at Edinburgh, where I specialised in intelligent robotics and neural modelling. I got hooked on the idea of understanding the brain by "faking it" and that's what lead me to CoMPLEX to do a combined MRes/PhD.
I am interested in how our brains perceive the world around us, and am particularly interested in visual perception. In my MSc and MRes projects I modelled how adaptation to one aspect of a stimulus in early stages of the visual pathway can result in changes to how a different aspect of the stimulus is represented in later stages.
My PhD research
Understanding how the neurons in the brain are connected is crucial for understanding the computations they perform, and electron microscopy is currently the only technique capable of providing the information required to perform a dense reconstruction of every neuron in a neural circuit. However, manual reconstruction of usefully large circuits would take hundreds to thousands of years. For my PhD project I developed methods to automate such reconstructions, and my PhD thesis is available for download from my publications page. You can also read a shorter overview of our initial 2D reconstruction work in a paper I presented at a conference in 2011. We're currently working on a journal paper describing our 3D reconstruction work, and I'll make this available for download once it is accepted for publication.
Outside of the lab I love the outdoors and dabble in camping, hiking, climbing, skiing and sailing. I particularly enjoy bigger expedition-style adventures and over the years I have walked 190 miles from coast to coast, trekked 9 days in the Canadian Rockies, walked the 270 mile Pennine Way and cycled 1,000 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats. My most recent adventure was sailing 2,500 miles across the Atlantic from The Gambia to French Guiana.
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