ECR Mentoring Biographies

On this page you will find biographies of Early Career Researchers to assist you in selecting a mentor.

NameSubject AreaEmailBiography
Alice ReesLinguistics and English LanguageAlice.Rees@ed.ac.ukI am currently a Leverhulme early career fellow working on my project using structural priming to investigate pragmatic phenomena in children. My research is in experimental pragmatics mainly focusing on pragmatic inferences. My background is in Psychology, I obtained my BSc from the University of Birmingham before moving to Cardiff University for my PhD.
I've spent several months doing internships in The Netherlands and Germany before working back in the UK in a non-academic job and then moving to Edinburgh in November 2019. My route has not been as linear as I had hoped for I am well versed in the challenges of getting an academic job post-PhD. Consequently, I have quite a bit of experience in starting over in new places with new faces along with the practicalities of long distance relationships (romantic and platonic).
Benjamin MolineauxLinguistics and English Languagebenjamin.molineaux@ed.ac.ukAs an Early Career researcher at the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics (AMC), I work on the historical phonology and morphology of Mapudungun, the ancestral language of the Mapuche people of south-central Chile and Argentina, as well as on the early sounds and spellings of the Scots language.

Originally from Santiago, Chile, I began my work life as a secondary-school Philosophy and English teacher, both on the southern island of Chiloé, and in New York City state schools. At times, I’ve also worked in adult education and HR consultancy in Santiago and as a freelance pronunciations editor for the Oxford English Dictionary.

Both English and Spanish are my native languages. I have lived in the UK for 12 years, half in England and half in Scotland. Culturally, I feel more Chilean than anything else, though both my parents are white United-Statesians. Outside of work, I am mostly a dad to a pretty cool nine-year-old.

Pronouns: he/him
Mora MaldonadoLinguistics and English LanguageMora.Maldonado@ed.ac.ukI am an experimental semanticist working as a postdoctoral researcher with Jennifer Culbertson at the Centre for Language Evolution. In my research, I use experimental tools to investigate how languages express meaning, and in particular why certain properties of meaning are more common than others across languages.
I am originally from Argentina (and I would probably be considered to be POC in many contexts). I did my BA in Literature in the University of Buenos Aires, and then got a scholarship that allowed me to move to France to do my PhD, which I got in 2018. I have been a postdoc in Edinburgh since then.
In my not-so-long career, I gained some experience dealing with gender, ethnic and linguistic biases in academia, which could be useful for younger researchers. I am also currently dealing with the two-body problem (meaning that I have a partner who is also in academia).
Rebekka PuderbaughLinguistics and English Languager.puderbaugh@ed.ac.ukI am working as a Teaching Fellow in Phonetics and Laboratory Phonology, a post I have held since 2018. As a phonetician, I am very interested in discovering and developing ways to relate acoustics and other means of capturing speech to phonological categories, and using that to consider implications for phonemic analysis in particular. I am particularly interested in under-documented languages and developing methods for cross-linguistically comparable phonetic descriptions. As a Teaching Fellow, I am also interested in linguistic and phonetic pedagogy, especially standards and skills based grading, experiential and interactive learning, and the power of storytelling to engage students even in large classrooms. I teach both undergraduate and masters courses in phonetics, and have supervised MSc dissertations for the past two years.

Prior to moving to Edinburgh, I lived in Canada for many years where I completed my PhD. I encountered many difficulties along the way to earning my degree, and I believe that my experiences in this regard could be helpful to others who might be in similar situations.
Giada FratantonioPhilosophygiada.fratantonio@ed.ac.ukI am a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Philosophy Department, working in the AHRC-funded Varieties of Risk Project, led by Martin Smith (Edinburgh) and Philip Ebert (Stirling). I specialise in the epistemology and normativity of evidence, including evidence-law. My current work lies at the intersection between epistemology, ethics, and the law. I sincerely believe we don't have to choose between good epistemology and good ethics. The epistemological and the ethical realm align much more than we often think! I gained my PhD at University of Edinburgh in 2018, under the supervision of Aidan McGlynn, Duncan Pritchard, and Martin Smith. After that, I got an ERC-funded postdoctoral position at University of Helsinki as part of the "Competence and Success in Epistemology and Beyond" project, led by Maria Lasonen-Aarnio. Last year, I got a research grant to visit Harvard University as Associate of the Philosophy Department. Before moving to Edinburgh, I did all my studies in Italy at the University of Milan. I am thus very well aware of the struggles of coming to a completely different academic system, while working in a different language. As a mentor for Edinburgh PhD students, I hope my experience can be helpful to someone else. My preferred pronouns are she/her.
Alex MitchellPsychologyalexandra.mitchell@ed.ac.ukI am currently a Teaching Fellow in Psychology with a focus on Perception, Cognitive Psychology and Human Neuroimaging Methods. I am passionate about visual neuroscience, specifically understanding how we use our vision to generate actions and sensory expectations. Most recently, I have worked on a project studying hand-eye coordination in individuals with Alzheimer's disease. I have experience with patient work, specifically stroke and dementia, as well as human neuroimaging methods such as fMRI and EEG.

I completed my PhD in Psychology at the University of St. Andrews in 2019, before moving to the University of Edinburgh. Here, I have bounced between teaching and research - which has given me a well rounded academic experience.

Please feel free to reach out. I am white, cis and my pronouns are her/she.
Chloe Fawns-RitchiePsychologyc.fawns-ritchie@ed.ac.ukI am a post-doctoral research assistant in Psychology working on the Generation Scotland project, a family-based health study of ~24,000 participants. My role with Generation Scotland is to develop the online assessments that will be administered to participants. I have quite a lot of experience designing cognitive assessments, especially for other adults.

My research interests are examining the psychological correlates and predictors of health, especially the relationship between cognitive function and health literacy with various aspects of health. I am also interested in examining the characteristics of those who follow health advice and those who do not.

I did my PhD part-time, while also working full-time and therefore know the challenges of juggling a PhD alongside other commitments.
Drew AltschulPsychologyDrew.Altschul@ed.ac.ukI am a British Academy postdoctoral fellow working at the intersection of individual differences, primatology, evolutionary and social psychology. My current project investigates the relationships between human and primate social hierarchies and assertiveness traits, in the context of recent great ape evolution. I experience in a variety of other areas related to psychology, including neuroscience, statistics, epidemiology, public health, sociology, animal behaviour and cognition.
I was a PhD student in psychology at Edinburgh as well; I served as tutor representative for 2 years, so I know the PhD experience here quite well. I have moved countries a few times during my academic career, to pursue fieldwork as well as my degrees. In addition to being a student at different times in different places, I previously worked in academia as a laboratory manager, and have worked outside of academia as well.
Judith OkelyPsychologyjudith.okely@ed.ac.ukMy career in psychology started at the University of Glasgow where I completed my BSc in psychology followed by an MSc in health psychology at the University of Stirling. Having enjoyed the research side of psychology, I went on to complete a PhD at the University of Edinburgh, looking at the association between psychological wellbeing and disease risk in older populations. After that, I was employed as a postdoc on the Lothian Birth Cohort studies team, where I worked for three years. I was awarded an ESRC New Investigator Grant last year and am currently working on that project which examines the potential link between musical engagement and healthy aging.

I have experience of tutoring, applying for post-doc positions, and fellowships that could be useful to PhD students interested in an academic career. I've also worked briefly as a knowledge exchange officer.
Ruth BrownPsychologyrbrown11@exseed.ed.ac.ukI'm Ruth Brown and I'm currently a postdoc research assistant working on projects investigating the mediating role of depressive symptoms in the relationship between adverse childhood experiences and maternal foetal attachment; and the mediating role of emotional lability in the relationship between ADHD symptoms and substance misuse . My overarching research interests include child and adult mental health (alexithymia, depressive and anxiety symptoms), neurodevelopmental disorders (autism and ADHD), as well as the causes and consequences of adverse childhood experiences. I currently have one publication in the Journal of Academic Paediatrics and a further four manuscripts at varying stages of journal submission. In terms of my academic path, I am aiming to gain entry into the Clinical Psychology doctorate in order to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist in the NHS.

During my time as a PhD student I worked as a undergraduate tutor for two years, where I was responsible for holding weekly seminars; engaging the students in critical appraisal of past studies; grading coursework and providing feedback. Furthermore, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to co-supervise both an undergraduate and masters dissertation project in my final PhD year. This allowed me to further gain skills in organisation, communication and research team management. Thus, I believe I have the skills in order to be a PhD mentor.

I am not a member of the BAME group and I identify as female.
Simon CoxPsychologysimon.cox@ed.ac.ukI've recently begun my role as Director of the Lothian Birth Cohorts group - genearlly speaking we're interested in understanding what happens to brain structure and cognitive functioning as we age, and what sorts of things might be related biomarkers of risk for cognitive decline, or possible determinants. I manage a team of 11 and supervise several postgrad students whose interests are fairly diverse, but are united under the general aegis of understanding why some people do not age as well as others. We work a lot with the Lothian Birth Cohort data (www.lothianbirthcohorts.ed.ac.uk) but also with the likes of UK Biobank, Generation Scotland and others. We often work on international collaborative efforts both with specific groups, and with large worldwide consortia.

I've been at the University of Edinburgh for 12 years, starting in 2008-2009 with the MSc in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology, then as PhD student, as the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 (LBC1936) Study Coordinator, an MRC Fellow in Brain and Cogntive Ageing, and as Senior Research Fellow and Principal Investigator. I also spent of bit of time out of academia both before and after my undergraduate degree at St Andrews (1999-2003), including a failed attempt at earning a living from music, and roles with Lamborghini (tractors...), a motion control robotics company, and project manager at opinion pollsters MORI.