Dr Peter Oliver is an Associate Professor at the University of Oxford and MRC Programme Leader, and has used the EthoVision XT software. This entertaining and informative chat reveals how Peter’s research follows the genes, as opposed to starting with a disease. For example, his lab identified a family of proteins when gene mapping a mouse mutant with a distinctive pathology, linking to a form of epilepsy. Peter covers the important skills required by a researcher, such as: the ability to make mutually beneficial collaborations; writing skills for publications and grant proposals; and the flexibility to take on new techniques as the research evolves. He also gives us an insight in to publication review and the many creative ways of sharing academic research.
Sam Royle is a Psychology Technician at the University of Salford. In this conversation he gives the listener a real sense of what the role entails and its importance within both academic research and teaching. He shares his experiences of undertaking his Master’s, how he was drawn to the technician’s post as a way of financially supporting his PhD and then discovering the rewards of problem solving, a central feature of the role. Sam explains his fortunate position in being well supported at Salford and how he has enthusiastically embraced all opportunities that have come his way, getting involved in varied research, teaching, outreach and joining the ATSiP technician’s community.
Professor Deirdre Murray is both Head of Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at UCC and Clinical Lead for Paediatrics at Cork University Hospital, dividing her time between research and clinical work. We get to hear how her enjoyment of science and being a people person paved the way towards a career in medicine. Deirdre reveals the interaction of her dual role, enabling her to explore her curiosity beyond current, established protocols with the aim to use research outcomes to make small changes in the clinical approach. Deirdre’s enthusiasm and dedication are apparent when she discusses her work with infants suffering the effects of hypoxia. She also covers a project that looks to assess children at 2 years with an app, allowing those affected by hypoxia to be picked up earlier than school age and be supported.
Professor Katie Slocombe, an Observer XT user, is a comparative psychologist at the University of York. Katie explains how our close primate relatives can inform us on the evolutionary development of human uniqueness. Katie provides real insight in to the experience of being out in the field studying primates, with the highs of exposure to real wildlife activity, as well as the lows of poor weather, waiting for your primates to be present and the close proximity of animals you maybe didn’t want to study. She also covers the importance of people skills with regards to nurturing students and working with an extensive number of collaborators to facilitate the spread of knowledge. Her latest research involves a new strand to include the study of human infants.
Dr Arun Ulahannan is a Research Fellow within the Institute for Future Transport and Cities at Coventry University and used eye tracking within his engineering doctorate. Arun tells us that he knew quite early on in his career, that the human factors space was the ideal location for him, having both engineering and design interests. He refers to key influential supervisors, the benefits of internships and gives insight into his research to date. This includes his current project on understanding the feasibility of electrifying taxis, from a taxi driver experience and public viewpoint; and his engineering doctorate studying semi-automated vehicles, in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover, to provide information on design guidelines for an interface to maintain driver engagement.
Helen Ball is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Infancy and Sleep Centre at Durham University and has a fixed observational lab from Tracksys. Helen reveals how choosing a biological anthropology class during her human biology degree led to her becoming an anthropologist, and why she switched from studying primates in Puerto Rico to infant and parent sleep. She chats about her research on bed sharing; the development of the Baby Sleep Info Source; and career highlights – her involvement in changing the SIDS messaging around bed-sharing and the impact of parent-infant proximity on breastfeeding.
Dr Carl Senior is a Reader in Psychology at Aston University. An inspirational essay, titled ‘The Smile’ by Alan Lightman directed his research towards face perception and facial displays, first using brain imaging and then through behaviour observation in the social world, using the FaceReader software. He refers to pivotal people, such as Professor Anthony David, that helped steer his path, and the importance of embracing failure. Carl looks in detail at how the eye brow position facilitates dominance, and has measured the facial displays of leaders such as Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. He is extending his research to explore the emotional responses of supporters to their favoured leader before and after elections.
Dr Sean Jenkins is the Principal Innovation Fellow for the Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. Sean’s centre has a fixed lab and in this conversation he shares how the centre provides an evaluation service to industry through research both in and out of the lab, enabling the design for health-related products to be further developed. He highlights how applied research can improve the lives of people living with health conditions. Sean also reveals his career journey from a design course and how taking on new interests can be challenging both from a knowledge and time perspective.
Dr Atif Waraich is Head of Computer Science at Liverpool John Moores University and long-standing user of fixed and portable behaviour observation labs. During this conversation, Atif reveals the thread of science and technology throughout his career from building his research foundations, to his experiences in industry and his return to academia. He highlights how computer science provides students, fellow academics and external collaborators with access to the latest computer solutions for measurement and analysis. Atif covers topics such as immersive technologies, usability engineering and the design of new courses.