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Rianne Haartsen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London working with Emily Jones. Rianne is interested in individual variability in developmental trajectories in neurodiverse populations. Her work focuses on brain responses and networks from infancy to adulthood measured with the use of electrophysiology (EEG). She further develops robust, scalable, and personalised measures of brain activity across development for implementation in clinical settings and global health settings.


Personal statement:

I was excited to join the network because of their broad focus on neurodevelopment rather than autism only. I was also motivated to engage in multidisciplinary collaborations as I believe these will lead to new innovative neurotechnology with a wider use so we can move towards more inclusive research and practise.

Chiara Bulgarelli is a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Research Fellow at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, University of London. She is currently using cutting edge technologies, like immersive virtual-reality and wearable functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), to investigate the development of empathy in toddlers. In the next future she hopes to validate this set-up for the study of atypical social skills development.

Personal Statement

I was interested in being part of the R4N network as I strongly believe that to understand neurodevelopment we need reliable neuroimaging tools. It is mandatory that moving forwards scientists in the developmental neuroscience field work on dropping attrition rate of their studies in order to being able to assess as many and as diverse participants as possible. For this goal, experts in the field need to join forces and inform neurotechnologies companies of our needs, and this network uniquely provides the opportunity to do so. I am also delighted to serve the Early Career Network as it is worth leveraging the chance of a network of scientists from different institutions and different levels of seniority to contribute to the most junior’s career development and to form across-institution collaborations.

Sanjana Gandhi is a Research Assistant at the Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences department at King’s College London working with Prof. Eva Loth. Sanjana is interested in neurobiological correlates of clinical outcomes and underpinning psychosocial mechanisms in autism. Her recent research focused on investigating the mediating role of alexithymia in emotion processing difficulties and cardiac autonomic function in autism. 

Personal Statement: 

I was excited to join the R4N network because I believe that participatory research that includes people with lived experiences is essential in providing tailored support. In doing so, innovative neurotechnology has made significant advances. I am interested in addressing barriers of accessibility and adaptability of these technologies by multidisciplinary collaborations to overcome this in the coming years. 

Ottavia is a research assistant at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive development, Birkbeck, University of London, supervised by Prof. Emily Jones. She is interested in understanding more about sensory perception in children with and without autism. She is currently combining different measures of brain and behavioural responses to sensory stimuli in order to establish how preschool-age children perceive the surrounding sensory environment, how they respond to it and help them better adapt and thrive.

Personal Statement

I decided to give my contribution to the ECR network because I strongly support interdisciplinary collaborations to co-create innovative daily solutions to help neurodivergent people improve their quality of life. At the same time, I believe that the progress in neurotechnology can allow us to better detect neurodevelopmental patterns and develop strategies to support person-specific needs.

Eirini Papageorgopoulou is a PhD student at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive development, Birkbeck, University of London, supervised by Prof. Emily Jones. Eirini is interested in brain development and the role of the early social environment in infant developmental trajectories. Eirini’s research project combines laboratory and parent-child free-play interaction measures to examine the links between early brain function and parent-infant interaction in infants who are at an elevated likelihood for autism.

Personal statement: I am excited to be part of the R4N network because it takes a multidisciplinary approach to building reliable and personalised neurotechnology for children with neurodevelopmental conditions. I believe that having an inclusive community where the voices of people with lived experience can be heard is the way forward to advance neurotechnology to provide individualised support to children and their families.