I am a PhD student at the CoMPLEX Doctoral Training Centre for Modelling Biological Complexity. My PhD project is on the reconstruction of neural circuits from electron microscope data, in collaboration with Lewis Griffin (UCL Computer Science) and Arnd Roth (Häusser Lab, Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research).
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 here to CoMPLEX.
I am interested in the emergence of complex system properties from simple, low-level interactions. In particular I am interested in how the complexity of the brain can be explained by local low-level connectivity and plasticity rules. My primary interest is to use modelling to evaluate the effectiveness of various theories of connectivity and plasticity by comparing the output of simulations to empirically determined biological data. However, we currently only have very sparse statistical connectivity data for the brain, which makes it difficult to discriminate between models. In my PhD project I am exploring methods to automatically generate connectivity maps from high resolution electron microscope imagery. I presented our initial work at the 6th international workshop on Microscopic Image Analysis with Applications in Biology (MIAAB) in Heidelberg in September and the paper is available for download from my publications page or the conference website.
The CoMPLEX doctoral training programme has an intial MRes year during which I wrote three case studies and did a 3 month summer project. In combination with my PhD related publications, these should give a flavour of how I approach a range of research problems.
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.
If you want to get in touch, you can drop me a line at: