Kathleen Vancleef

Assistant Professor

Kathleen completed her PhD in 2013 at University of Leuven (Belgium) where she studied perceptual organisation with psychophysical and neuropsychological methods. She then moved to Newcastle University (UK). Under the lead of Prof Jenny Read, she developed and validated ASTEROID, a 3D vision test for children with lazy eye that works on a tablet. In 2018, she started her Stroke Association Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of Oxford (UK). Since October 2021, she is an Assistant Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at Durham University. She is currently supported by an NIHR Advanced Fellowship.

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Kate Cowen

Postdoctoral researcher

Kate is an Occupational Therapist with experience in social care, criminal justice and homeless sector. For her PhD, she researched older men’s participation in social activities through qualitative and interpretive methods and co-production.

Kate is managing the diagnostic accuracy study of our Oxford Visual Perception Screen (OxVPS): comparing our 15 minute OxVPS against the present gold standard which can take 45 minutes to administer.

Ruby Castellani

MSc Research Student

Ruby is a student on the 1-year MSc Cognitive Neuroscience course at Durham University. She came to Durham after completing her BSc in Psychology at the University of York. During her time at York and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruby worked in a care home on both the skilled nursing and residential units. Linking this experience, plus Ruby’s time studying at both York and now Durham, she has realised she wants to be more applied, clinical, and public health related. She has hopes to do her PhD in something related to these fields.

Ruby supports the development of the Oxford Visual Perception Screen. She is involved in editing parts of the test and will be managing the normative data collection process from older volunteers.

Rebecca Shorthose

Research assistant

Rebecca is in her 2nd year of BSc Psychology. After working as a Health Care Assistant, in a dementia nursing home, during midst of the pandemic, she has a keen interest in cognitive and clinical psychology and a drive to understand clinical conditions. She eventually wants to become a clinical psychologist and gain a DClinPsy.

Rebecca supports the development of the Oxford Visual Perception Screen. She is involved in editing images for the face recognition test and will be collecting normative data from older volunteers.

Akshita Rai

Research assistant

Akshita Rai is attending Durham University to get a psychology bachelor’s degree that will be completed in July 2024. Her interests include dancing, learning new things, and watching shows about crime and psychology. She has previously worked with a Rotaract club and volunteered for mental health campaigns, which have helped her realise how much she loves helping people and wants to continue doing so in the future. Although she has kept her options open for potential future intentions, there is undoubtedly a tilt in favour of clinical and criminal psychology.

Akshita supports the development of the Oxford Visual Perception Screen. She is involved in editing images for the face recognition test and will be collecting normative data from older volunteers.

Yat Chan

Research assistant

Yan is Durham University psychology student who is gaining some experience as a research assistant in our group. Together with Rebecca, Akshita, and James, Yat is supporting the development of the Oxford Visual Perception Screen. He is involved in editing photos of people that we have taken for our new face recognition test and will be collecting normative data from older volunteers in the future.

James Marsh

Research assistant

James joined us in October 2022 as a research assistant on the Oxford Visual Perception Screen. He is a Durham University Psychology undergraduate with an interest in research. He is currently editing photos that we have taken for our face perception task and will try the task out with older volunteers with the help of Yat, Akshita and Rebecca.

Myra Azwan

Research assistant

Myra Azwan is a Second-Year Durham University pursuing a Behavioural Science degree. She is interested in different aspects of research, along with her hobbies of singing, dancing and gardening. She is involved in the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students coalition, as a Regional Chairperson where she supports Malaysian students in the North East region. She is supporting the development of the Oxford Visual Perception Screen by designing infographics and marketing materials to promote the project. 


PhD student

Are you interested in our work? Why not join us. We are growing our team and would love to hear from you. You do not need a background in Psychology, we are an interdisciplinary team.

Together, we can apply for departmental studentships, the Durham Doctoral Studentships, Chinese Scholarship Council scholarships, NINE DTP, Fight for Sight studentships, Stroke Association Postgraduate Fellowship, NIHR doctoral fellowship, Dunhill Medical Trust doctoral training fellowship, British Heart Foundation PhD Studentships, Action Medical Research Training Fellowship. To start in October 2023, please get in touch in October 2022.

Photo credit: Marco Bellucci


Postdoctoral researcher

To explore your own research interests and develop your own line of work, you can apply for Addison Wheeler Fellowships, British Heart Foundation fellowships, Dunhill Medical Trust postdoctoral fellowship, Stroke Association postdoctoral fellowship, Wellcome Trust Early Career Awards, Newton International Fellowship, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral fellowship, and others. Get in touch to hear how we can support you and your career.

Photo credit: Marco Bellucci


Research assistant or MSc research student

Want to find out if a research career is for you? Want to get research experience for your application for a Clinical Psychology Doctorate course? Why not join us! We regularly have short and long term opportunities.

Paid summer internship schemes we can apply for are AVA Undergraduate Research Scholarship, BPS Undergraduate Research Assistantship Scheme. Deadline for these are typically in March, so get in touch in January. Durham University students can join us through the Research Assistant Scheme or apply for a Laidlaw summer internship.

If you want to get a real feel of research and get a MSc on top, you can join us for a 1-year research project. There are several scholarships available with specific opportunities for students from developing countries and refugees.

Photo credit: Marco Bellucci

Former team members

Katrine Sand – PhD student

Isabel Bartolome – Laidlaw Research Intern

Xiaotong (Nancy) Ding – Research Assistant

Federica Guazzo – Research Assistant

Michael Colwell – Research Assistant

Corin Harrison – Summer Intern

Sara Dabek – Nuffield Foundation summer intern

Want to work with us?

I am interested to hear from keen students who are considering a MSc, PhD or postdoc in my research area. Get in touch for an informal discussion.