Ana Paula Rubio


I am a dedicated mixed-methods researcher with expertise in biological science and ethnographic methods. Throughout my academic journey, I have committed myself to public health advocacy, refining my skills in understanding the intricate connection between communities and health interventions.


Currently, I’m working as a Research Associate at SCONe within the Usher Institute, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. In this role, I’m leading the PPI research aimed at aligning technology with societal expectations and healthcare requirements. Prior to pursuing my master’s degree, I cultivated over five years of experience coordinating research initiatives addressing healthcare accessibility barriers and public health efforts. Employing diverse sets of qualitative and quantitative methods, I have meticulously assessed the impact of community-building initiatives, emphasizing a commitment to data-driven decision-making.


A pivotal highlight of my professional journey lies in my leadership in driving community projects, fostering public engagement, and embracing diverse perspectives in multidisciplinary settings. This experience has honed not only my community engagement skills but also my research methods, enabling me to effectively bridge research findings with real-world impact.

Project activity

The Scottish Community Optometry Network (SCONe) is a collaborative initiative involving optometrists, ophthalmologists, researchers, NHS, CSO, Scottish Government, and charities in Scotland. Its primary objective is to harness the extensive collection of retinal images acquired by optometrists across Scotland to advance eye healthcare, research, and education. SCONe aims to recognize the vast resources of retinal images in Scotland as an opportunity to innovate eye healthcare and gain insights into conditions such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Under the Scottish Collaborative Optometry-Ophthalmology Network e-research (SCONe) project, the initiative aims to utilize the vast repository of retinal images captured by community optometrists for research purposes. By integrating these images with NHS data within a secure framework, SCONe seeks to facilitate the development of new technologies for early disease detection and risk prediction.

The next critical phase involves the development of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) research, which serves as a vital bridge between the project’s advancements and the needs of the community it serves. By prioritizing engagement with diverse stakeholders, including patients, the public, optometrists, and organizational bodies, the PPI research aims to ensure that its technology aligns with societal expectations and healthcare requirements. Through objectives such as assessing stakeholder perspectives on AI in eye healthcare and evaluating the impact of patient involvement, the PPI research seeks not only to enhance the relevance and applicability of its findings but also to cultivate collaborative partnerships that maximize the positive impact of its technology on eye healthcare delivery and outcomes.