Advanced Care Research Centre

The Academy 2022 Cohort

Below is a list of the students who started with the ACRC Academy in September 2022. You will find out their backgrounds, their PhD, who their supervisors are, and which work packages they are linked with.

Elisa Cardamone


"Narratives of Usefulness": advancing self-care through empathy-oriented digital device interventions with an ageing population

Elisa has a BA (Hons) in Archaeology and Anthropology form the University of Manchester and an MSc in Medical Anthropology from the University of Oxford, where she focused on implanted devices, new sensory experiences, and the body’s somatechnical construction. As a medical anthropologist working across design and engineering, Elisa is interested in technology's potential to reshape communities by creating new meanings, practices, and choices while ageing at home.

Elisa is an affiliate of the Centre for Technomoral Futures 

Supervisors: Dr Arno Verhoeven (School of Design), Prof Ian Underwood (School of Engineering), Prof John Vines (School of Informatics)

Workpackage: IntegratedTechnologies of Care

Sasha Lewis-Jackson


The use of restrictive practices with people with diminished capacity in care settings

Sasha has a BSc (Hons) in Anthropology from Bournemouth University and an MSc in Medical Anthropology from University College London (UCL). Prior to starting at the ACRC, Sasha held the Ann McPherson pre-doctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include the use of qualitative methodologies to capture patient narratives to improve patient experiences. She intends to use her research experience to explore the impact of restrictive practices on those with dementia and delirium.

Supervisors: Prof Heather Wilkinson (School of Health in Social Science), Dr Tom Russ (Deanery of Clinical Sciences), Dr Susan Shenkin (Usher Institute)

Workpackage: Understanding the Person in Context

Emilie McSwiggan


Evaluation of social prescribing for people in later life

Emilie has spent ten years working in policy development and politics, with a particular interest in health and social care, social welfare, and disability. She completed her Master of Public Health (MPH) online at the University of Edinburgh, and has worked as Project Manager for UNCOVER (the Usher Network for COVID-19 Evidence Reviews) for the past two years.

Supervisors: Professor Stewart Mercer (Usher Institute), Dr Jackie Gulland (School of Social and Political Science), Dr Amy O’Donnell (Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University), Dr Eddie Donaghy (Usher Institute)

Workpackage: New Models of Care

Kayla Ostrishko

Kayla headshot

Inclusive ‘Usual Care’ Pathways for BAME Older People: Co-producing a conceptualising framework

Kayla has a B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Health in Society from Rutgers-New Brunswick. She recently completed her MRes in Population Health Sciences at The University of Edinburgh. She is interested in examining the influence of systemic racism and its relationship to medical care services within the NHS, refugee and asylum seeker health experiences, and Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) within University systems. Kayla is also a committee member of the CMVM EDI committee as a postgraduate research representative and has worked on multiple projects within the University focusing on EDI initiatives within STEM.

Supervisors: Dr George Palattiyil (School of Social and Political Science), Dr Georgia Cole (School of Social and Political Science), Dr Gwenetta Curry (Usher Institute)

Workpackage: Understanding the Person in Context

Vasilis Raptis


Dissecting the genetic risk factors of delirium and identification of therapeutic targets. 

Vasilis completed his undergraduate degree in Biological Science at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece (2020) and his MSc in Quantitative Genetics at the University of Edinburgh (2021). His previous research experience in human complex traits genetic analysis will help inform his PhD project, aiming to understand how the risk of developing delirium is affected by our genome. 

Supervisors: Prof. Albert Tenesa (Roslin Institute), Prof. Alasdair MacLullich (Usher Institute) and Dr. Tim Cannings (School of Mathematics).

​​​Workpackage: Data-Driven Insight and Prediction

Laurence Rowley-Abel

headshot of Lawrence

Allostatic load in later life: How does neighbourhood 'get under the skin'?

Laurence has an MSc in Social Research from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in French and Arabic from the University of Cambridge. He has spent several years working as a researcher both inside and outside of academia, focusing on the quantitative modelling of social inequalities and health outcomes.

Supervisors: Dr Alan Marshall (School of Social and Political Science), Prof Jamie Pearce (School of Geosciences), Prof Catharine Ward Thompson (School of Architecture)

Workpackage: Data-Driven Insight and Prediction

Ki Tong


Enhancing access to greenspace for older people to improve quality of life

Ki is a chartered landscape architect with design and construction experience for projects in the UK and internationally. Prior to a career in landscape architecture, she completed a research degree in psychology exploring the relationship between emotion regulation and executive control. She is keen on identifying requirements for enhancing the restorative effect of external environments. She hopes to make use of evidence-based design research to inform design requirements for promoting mental and physical well-being.  

Supervisors: Prof Gillian Mead (Usher Institute), Prof Catharine Ward Thompson (School of Architecture), Dr Sarah Morton (Moray House School of Education and Sport), Dr Jennifer Liddle (Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University), Dr Gail Carin-Levy (Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies Division, Queen Margaret University)

Workpackage: Understanding the Person in Context

Sumetha Uthayakumar


Sensing in the community – Wearables and other sensors for at home monitoring of health and wellbeing  

Sumetha has a BSc in Biomedical Science and an MSc in Biomedical Engineering. Prior to starting with the ACRC Academy Sumetha worked as an Early Career Researcher at the University of Warwick using the motion capture system and smart shoes, which had sensors embedded in the soles of the shoes.    

Supervisors: Dr Stewart Smith (School of Engineering), Dr Kasia Banas (Usher Institute), Dr Liesbeth Tip (School of Health in Social Science)

Workpackage: IntegratedTechnologies of Care

David Vaca-Benavides


Portable urinary incontinence management device

David is originally from Ecuador and has an undergraduate degree in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering from ESPOL Polytechnic University and an MSc in Engineering from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland. David was a full-time lecturer and researcher at ESPOL Polytechnic University for 6 years. His research interests include medical data processing on embedded systems and mixed-signal electronic design for power converters and medical applications. 

Supervisors: Dr Srinjoy Mitra (School of Engineering), Professor Chris Speed (School of Design), Dr Susan Shenkin (Usher Institute)

Workpackage: Integrated Technologies of Care

Godfrey Wanok


Automated measurement of recreational reading performance on electronic devices as an indicator of visual frailty diagnostic aid and in ageing

Wanok has a BSc in Optometry from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and MSc in Primary Care Ophthalmology from The University of Edinburgh. He also has a Fellowship in Low Vision Rehabilitation from LV Prasad Eye Institute, India. He will use his knowledge and experience in optometry and low vision to explore the feasibility of using reading performance to monitor trends in visual and other physiological functionalities related to ageing.

Supervisors: Prof Baljean Dhillon (Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences), Prof Ian Underwood (School of Engineering)

Workpackage: New Models of Care