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

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Hadeel Abdeen


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


  • Title: PhD student
  • Division: Dementia Research Institute, Neuroscience
  • Location: 5th floor, Burlington Danes building
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!
Jessica Chadwick

Jessica Chadwick


  • Title: PhD Researcher
  • 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.
Mariya Chepisheva

Mariya Chepisheva


  • Title: PhD Candidate in Clinical Neuroscience
  • Division: Neurology
  • Location: Charing Cross Hospital
  • About me: Currently finishing my PhD in vestibularly guided spatial orientation and postural control in patients with central affections of the nervous system due to traumatic brain injury or dementia.
Leire

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.
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.
Flavia Loreto

Flavia Loreto


  • Title: Research Assistant & PhD Student
  • Division: Neurology
  • Location: Charing Cross Hospital
  • About me: Flavia is a research assistant and PhD student interested in the study of biomarker evaluations (e.g., cognition, blood, imaging) for the diagnosis of atypical Alzheimer’s disease. Her background is in psychology and neuroscience and she is passionate about clinical research and scientific writing. She is also part of the student liaison committee of the Federation of the European Societies of Neuropsychology.
Meg Spriggs

Dr Meg Spriggs


  • Title: Research Associate/Post Doc
  • Division: Centre for Psychedelic Research, Division of Psychiatry
  • Location: Hammersmith
  • About me: I moved to London at the end of 2018 to work with the Centre for Psychedelic Research because I am passionate about changing the way we approach mental health. I am currently leading our trial looking at psilocybin as a treatment for anorexia nervosa. I am not sure where my career will lead me, but I appreciate the vastness of opportunity that research offers.
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.
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Yuyang Yan


  • Title: PhD student
  • Division: Neuroscience, adjunct; Dept of Life Sciences
  • Location: 5th floor, Burlington Danes Building