2020 was a very challenging year for us all. In the research field, our workplace was closed for the majority of the year and most of us are still working from home now as we start 2021. Participant visits have been cancelled and we have tried our best to keep providing participants and patients with support and care via phone and video calls. Despite all of this, we are extremely proud of the research we have managed to carry out throughout the year, including welcoming new members to our ever-growing team. We are very excited to introduce the new lab members who have become a part of our team and who have already significantly contributed to our projects. 

Phoebe Foster is an undergraduate student studying Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Manchester. Currently, she is on her placement year gaining experience working as a GENFI research assistant. She is particularly interested in the neuropsychological consequences of FTD and is presently engaged in a project focused on how empathy is particularly affected early on in the disease.

Kiran Samra is a Clinical Research Fellow who is starting a PhD in the group. She will be working in collaboration with Dr Neil Oxtoby who is in the POND group at UCL to model the stages of disease progression in genetic FTD, with a particular focus on the presymptomatic phase of the disease. 

After finishing a Dual Masters between UCL and Paris during the peak of lockdown last year, Arabella Bouzigues joined the team as the lead coordinator of the GENFI project. Arabella’s role is to facilitate communication between all the European and Canadian research sites who are involved in GENFI to ensure that the collaboration is smooth and efficient. In parallel, she is working on research projects investigating the relationships which may exist between cognitive changes that occur in people with FTD and their structural and functional brain changes. 

Aitana Sogorb Esteve is a postdoctoral researcher who joined the team in the middle of the pandemic. She is part of our fluid biomarker team and will help to find and validate blood and spinal fluid markers. She works within the UK DRI Biomarkers Lab run by Henrik Zetterberg, and her main project focuses on synaptic health in FTD.