Edinburgh Imaging

15 May 18. Congrats Dr Lucy Hiscox

After gaining her PhD viva, we asked Lucy Hiscox what life was like as a PhD student at Edinburgh Imaging.

Lucy Hiscox

Lucy Hiscox is based at the Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI and the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre. Since October 2013, Lucy has been working on her PhD research in clinical neuroscience, funded by Alzheimer Scotland. Her thesis was titled: “Early detection of neurodegeneration with high-resolution magnetic resonance elastography".

Why did you choose Edinburgh?

Lucy chose to study for her PhD in Edinburgh as the University has a world-class reputation. Lucy had previously visited the city for the Edinburgh Fringe festival and jumped at the chance to move here, as she found it a historical and vibrant capital city. 


PhD project

Lucy's PhD project combined an interest in brain imaging and the need for methods to improve the early detection of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Her research focused on the development of a novel brain imaging technique, known as Magnetic Resonance Elastography (MRE). MRE is a highly-sensitive non-invasive imaging technique that can quantify the mechanical properties of soft tissue; a tool akin to manual palpation. As such, Lucy was interested in whether MRE could provide additional information about brain health not currently accessible with more conventional imaging modalities.


Best part of the PhD?

Lucy has enjoyed meeting a wide range of people working across the disciplines of physics, engineering and the imaging sciences. Due to the novel aspects of her work, she has established collaborations with scientists at the Mayo Clinic, Charité Berlin and the University of Illinois. Lucy has also been lucky enough to present some of her work at conferences in Toronto, Singapore and Hawaii!


Life before Edinburgh Imaging?

Lucy graduated from Cardiff University in 2012 with a degree in Psychology, having spent a year on placement at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge.  After graduation, Lucy spent several months working within the neurosciences division of Frenchay hospital in Bristol, before taking the summer to travel across south east Asia.


Lucy Hiscox
Current work

Having now passed her viva, Lucy has gained a post-doc position in utilising the methods she developed throughout her PhD to study the brains in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While AD diagnosis has typically relied on MRI volume measurements, Lucy is interested in whether MRE may be more accurate as a diagnostic tool. She is also continuing to write up and submit several research papers to journals that formed part of her PhD thesis.


What next?

As a result of collaborations established during Lucy's time in Edinburgh, she has been offered a post-doctoral research fellow position at the Mechanical Neuroimaging lab at the University of Delaware, from September 2018. Lucy will be running a large scale 5-year NIH funded study that will apply MRE to study the brain in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment.  Lucy hopes to continue her career development as a researcher - gaining more skills, experience and publishing more papers, which she hopes will ultimately lead to a successful career in academia.


Lucy will be attending the June graduation to receive her PhD. We wish you all the best Lucy!