About us

We are a group of people who are invested in the well-being, progression, and resilience of the early career researcher within the Department of Brain Sciences. We represent postgraduate stages of academia with a diverse team including student and postdoc reps, EDI champions, as well as members of the academic service sector. We are particularly proud to include researchers from all divisions, centres, campuses, and from various backgrounds.

The group is open to any ideas and to anyone committed to improving the experience of young researchers in the Department. In addition, we also hope to share our academic skills and experience to help each other with the challenges of our careers.

Initiated in summer 2021 following the COVID-19 pandemic by our ECR champion Professor Amin Hajitou, our aim is to bring together the ECR community and provide much-needed opportunities for career development at the departmental level. To achieve this, we are organising a variety of events from seminars and training to socials and networking opportunities. Keep your eyes on this page to learn about upcoming events.

For more information about the committee, please email Dr Maria Weinert.

Upcoming events

More information about our upcoming events can be found on this webpage (Imperial login required).

Our members

Victoria Burmester

Dr Victoria Burmester

  • Title: Research Associate
  • Additional role(s): Postdoc Rep
  • Division: Psychiatry
  • Location: Hammersmith
  • About me: I work in child and adolescent mental health and I’m interested in introducing peer support groups into clinical treatment programmes for adolescents and investigating whether oxytocin increases there effectiveness. I’ve also just taken up tennis so if anyone fancies practising their tennis skills, get in touch!

Dr Alessia Caramello

  • Title: Research Associate
  • Additional role(s): Postdoc Rep, EDI committee member
  • Division: Brain Sciences
  • Location: White City
  • About me: I’m currently a post-doc in Paul Matthews lab, previously PhD student at the Francis Crick Institute. My scientific interests span from developmental neurobiology, neuronal stem cell differentiation potential and neurodegenerative diseases. During my years in academia, I’ve greatly enjoyed teaching and supervising students, trying to convey my passion for science to younger peers while supporting a creativity- and interest-led approach to research. Outside the lab I enjoy cycling, climbing and gardening.
Jessica Chadwick

Jessica Chadwick

  • Title: Research Associate
  • Additional role(s): PhD Student Champion for the EDI Committee; Founder of ImperialSAID
  • Division: Neuroscience
  • Location: Department of Brain Sciences, Hammersmith Campus
  • About me: Passionate about driving cultural change within the department, encompassing all minority groups and the topic of intersectionality. Founded and launched Imperial SAID seminars in 2020 to highlight role models from the Imperial community and foster an inclusive network. Representative of the student voice and focused on improving the development opportunities of master and PhD researchers within Brain Sciences.

Leire Melgosa Ecenarro

  • Title: PhD student
  • Division: Neuroscience
  • Location: 5th floor, Burlington Danes building
  • About me: I am a PhD student at the UK Dementia Research Institute, investigating cortical circuit changes occurring at the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to my own research, I take the time to contribute to the sustainability team in the Department of Brain Sciences and represent women in science through the ECR committee. When not in the lab, I enjoy hiking, practising team sports like football and handball, or sharing a pint with friends.

Dr Nurun Fancy

  • Title: Research Associate
  • Additional role(s): ECR rep at Department of Brain Sciences, EDI committee member, Race equality champion
  • Division: Neurology
  • Location: White City campus
  • About me: I am part of the Multi-omics Atlas Project (MAP-AD) at UK Dementia Research Institute (Imperial centre) where I am leading the transcriptomic data analysis. My focus is to decipher molecular mechanism and biological processes involved in cellular senescence during ageing and neurodegeneration. Along side research, I am passionate about gender balance and race equity in STEM and I’ve recently taken up the race equity champion role at the Department of Brains Sciences. Outside my work, I love to spend time with my family.
Amin Hajitou

Professor Amin Hajitou

  • Title: Professor of Targeted Therapeutics
  • Additional role(s): ECR member Committee and Lead, Divisional Cohort Lead, Module-1 Lead BSc Neuroscience & Mental Health
  • Division: Neuroscience
  • Location: Burlington Danes Building, Hammersmith Hospital Campus
  • About me: Teaching in various MSc and BSc courses at ICL, Personal Tutoring. Has provided pastoral care for PhD students over many years as Divisional Cohort Lead and Departmental ECR Lead. Postdoc Champion within the Postdoc and Fellow Development Centre (PFDC). Member of the Departmental Management Board and Faculty Research Committee. Head of the Cancer Phagotherapy group.
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Rhiannon Kirby

  • Title: Personal Assistant to the Head of Division
  • Division: Neuroscience
  • Location: Burlington Danes, 4th Floor, Room E401

Ines Maldonado-Lasuncion

  • Title: Research Associate
  • Additional role(s):Postdoc Rep 
  • Division: Neuroscience
  • Location: Hammersmith, Burlington Danes
  • About me: My passion is understanding the neuroimmune interactions in the spinal cord after traumatic injury and harnessing them to find new therapeutic approaches to promote regeneration and recovery after spinal cord injury. I am also passionate about education, mentoring and contributing to improve the academic system. In my spare time, I love spending time in nature, with art or practicing sports, most recently focusing on boxing and aerial hoop.
Sima Toopchiani

Sima Toopchiani

  • Title: Second-year PhD Student and Clinical Trial Monitor at Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU).
  • Division: Ageing Epidemiology Research Unit, School of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, 
  • Location: Charing Cross Hospital and Stadium House
  • About me: I have a great interest in exploring sex and gender differences in disease manifestation, progression and treatment. I work part-time at the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit (ICTU) as a Clinical Trial Monitor. I also assist with co-supervising BSc projects alongside my supervisor to gain experience in academia and research.
Maria Weinert

Dr Maria Weinert

  • Title: Research Associate
  • Additional role(s): Postdoc Rep, ECR champion at the EDI committee
  • Division: Neurology
  • Location: Hammersmith
  • About me: My interest is molecular neuroscience focussing on neuroinflammation and stem-cell based model systems. Long-term I am pursuing a career in academia and would love to serve as a role model for women and those with caring responsibilities. Coming from a non-academic background, I am passionate about education and mentoring beyond papers and hard skills. Outside the lab, I very much enjoy the outdoors in every shape and colour.