The Episodic Memory Group

People

 THE TEAM

Chris Bird

Chris Bird: Principal Investigator

Chris has been using neuropsychology and fMRI to investigate memory and other cognitive processes since 2000. He joined the University of Sussex in 2011. Prior to this, Chris worked in the Neuropsychology Department at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery and for nearly 10 years at UCL’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in London. He is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Sussex and teaches Cognitive Psychology and FMRI to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Chris is a recipient of a 5-year European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant and a 5-year ERC Consolidator Grant. He is a winner of the Elizabeth Warrington Prize from the British Neuropsychological Society and is an elected member of the Memory Disorders Research Society. 

Dominika Varga

Dominika Varga: PhD Student

Dominika's research focuses on how we comprehend and remember real-life, complex experiences, especially those that are surprising or conflicting with our prior knowledge. She currently uses neuroimaging to investigate how surprising actions influence the way we segment our everyday lives into discrete events. Prior to joining the lab in 2020, she worked in Professor Beth Jefferies lab and completed an MSci in Psychology at the University of York.

Petar Raykov

Flavia De Luca: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Flavia is interested in studying how humans understand and remember complex experiences. Flavia completed her PhD at the University of Bologna, where she investigated how people remember past episodes, imagine future episodes, and make future-based decisions, studying patients with focal brain lesions. During her PhD, she was also a visiting scholar at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging at UCL, where she focused on scene construction processes, studying patients with focal brain lesions and healthy individuals using structural MRI. Flavia moved to University of Sussex in October 2019 to work as a post-doc with Professor Chris Bird on the ERC funded EVENTS project. As part of her research, Flavia uses a combination of behavioural, neuropsychological and functional MRI techniques.

Jessica Daly

Jessica Daly: PhD Student

Jessica is a PhD student in the School of Psychology who is supervised by Professor Chris Bird. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between APOE genotype (the largest genetic risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease) and memory. Jessica uses fMRI data and both standard and specialised tests of memory to investigate functional and behavioural differences due to APOE genotype across the lifespan. Her PhD is funded by a studentship from the Alzheimer's Society Doctoral Training Centre at theUniversity of Sussex.

Kasia Mojescik

Kasia Mojescik: PhD Student

Kasia is a PhD student funded by the Sussex Neuroscience pogramme. She is interested in the relationship between episodic memory, future thinking, and mental imagery, as well as how these phenomena are influenced by individual differences. During her PhD, she aims to investigate these cognitive abilities using neuroimaging and behavioural measures. Prior to joining the lab in 2022, she completed MSc in Software Development and MA in Psychology at the University of Glasgow. She was also an exchange student in Psychology at the University of Otago, New Zealand.

Petar Raykov

Petar Raykov: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Petar is interested in how we rely on our previous experiences to understand and form memories of the world around us. He has used fMRI to examine how incoming information is integrated with previously acquired knowledge. Petar joined the University of Sussex in 2016 after completing his MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology at the University of Edinburgh. After his PhD, Petar was awarded a SeNSS post-doctoral fellowship on examining the effect of schema knowledge on new learning. He is currently working on the EVENTs project.

Sam Berens

Sam Berens: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sam is interested in developing computer models of brain function that explain how we are able to learn new information and recall past events. His previous work has focused on how we learn general patterns(1,2), new vocabulary(3), and the layout of unfamiliar places(4,5). Recently, he has also been investigating what kinds of information are forgotten with time and why this happens(6). As part of his research, Sam uses a combination of behavioural testing and functional MRI scanning.

Having completed a PhD and a 14-month post-doc with Prof Chris Bird, Sam moved to the University of York to work as a post-doc with Dr Aidan Horner. He has since returned to Sussex to work on the ERC funded EVENTS project.

 LAB ALUMNI

Alice

Alice De Visscher: Visiting scholar

Alice’s research interests focus on the typical and atypical development of numerical cognition. In particular, she studies the different types of dyscalculia (math learning disorders) using case and group studies. She started a PhD in the Numerical Cognition Lab of the UCL (Belgium) with Professor Marie-Pascale Noël and then joined the University of Sussex. Under the supervision of Chris Bird, Alice carried out an fMRI study on the brain regions associated with interference effects when recalling numerical facts. This was published in NeuroImage(1).

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James Keidel: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Brain Imaging)

James received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied with Mark Seidenberg.  He has since worked at the University of Manchester and Bangor University.  His work has used fMRI (with a focus on multivariate analysis techniques) to investigate topics ranging from Shakespeare to semantics to bilingualism.  He is running studies investigating memory function in typical populations as part of the TRANSMEM project.

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Christiane Oedekoven: Post-doctoral Research Fellow (Neuropsychology)

Christiane is interested in cognitive ageing, especially regarding changes in memory processes with age. After studying Psychology, she received her PhD from the University of Marburg, investigating episodic memory in healthy elderly and patients with memory impairment using fMRI and neuropsychology. Since then, she worked at the University of Tuebingen, focusing on the effects of training and possible compensatory mechanisms. She is carrying out neuropsychological studies of episodic memory in individuals with memory problems as part of the TRANSMEM project.

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Gemma Campbell: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (former PhD Student)

Gemma is interested in all aspects of learning and memory, particularly with regard to how these processes might change with abnormal cognitive ageing. Gemma originally joined the University of Sussex in 2009 and graduated with a degree in Psychology. She then completed an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at UCL and has since returned to Sussex to start her PhD under the supervision of Chris Bird. Her research uses neuropsychological testing to investigate novel methods of learning in individuals with memory problems such as Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Konstantinos Bromis: Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Konstantinos’s research interests focus on resting state functional connectivity, aiming to explore the intrinsic functional organization of the human brain and its role in cognition and disease. Konstantinos graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Biomedical Informatics. Since then, he completed an MSc in Neuroimaging at King’s College London and afterwards he received his PhD from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA). He is currently working on the investigation of functional connectivity patterns that may be altered during memory tasks as part of the TRANSMEM project.