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Deputy Director promoted to professor

Martina Callaghan, Deputy Director, and head of the Physics Team at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging has been promoted to professor for her outstanding contribution to neuroscience.

Martina and her group focus on the development and optimisation of novel neuroimaging methods to non-invasively characterise the structure and function of the human brain using MRI. Their developments span all aspects of the neuroimaging chain, including pulse sequence design for data acquisition, bespoke image reconstruction schemes, and the development of post-processing and data modelling tools.

Martina began her career undertaking a BSc in Applied Physics at the University of Limerick before attending Imperial College London and joining Professor Jo Hajnal’s MR physics group at Hammersmith Hospital where she obtained her PhD in image reconstruction of under-sampled data.

As a postdoctoral researcher, she worked on projects including parallel transmit technology, lipid quantification in clinical populations and the use of nanotechnology in oncology. In 2012, she joined the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging before becoming the Deputy Head of Physics in 2013. She subsequently succeeded Professor Nicolaus Weiskopf as Head of Physics in 2016 before becoming the Deputy Head of the Centre in October 2019.

In May 2019, an ultra-high field 7 Tesla MRI scanner was installed at the centre, which Martina and her team will utilise to identify very small, subtle changes in the brain’s microstructure at early stages of disease, ideally before clinical symptoms are present. Imaging at such high magnetic field strength poses considerable technical challenges, however Martina and her team will work to overcome these through the development of new acquisition, reconstruction and modelling strategies.

Upon receiving her promotion Martina said:

“I’m very happy to have received this promotion and would like to thank all of my supportive colleagues at the Centre, in particular Cathy (Centre Director) and the Physics Group – past and present”.

Professor Cathy Price, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging added:

“We are very proud that Martina has been promoted to Professor Callaghan in recognition of her superb academic and enabling activities. Congratulations Martina – and thank you for all the work you do for us”.