The new year has begun for the Motor Bias project and we wanted to take some time to reflect on the ups and downs of 2022. Like most people we were delighted to emerge from the Covid 19 restrictions which had been so disruptive to our research. The most important consequence for us was the restart of the Dunhill Medical Trust funded PSP project, and the appointment of Dr Alexis Cheviet as a postdoc. Alexis made a great start to the project and we hit two major milestones, firstly when the project opened for recruitment at Sunderland Royal Infirmary, then when we collected data from our first group of patients. Achieving these goals would not have been possible without the fantastic support we recieved from Susan Wilson and Dr Uma Nath in Sunderland, Bryony Storey and Dr Claire McDonald in Gateshead and Dr Louise Wiblin and Kelly Hylton at James Cook in Middlesbrough, and we’re excited about getting recruitment up and running across all the sites in the new year.
In addition to testing our first patients in the PSP project this was a year of many other ‘firsts’: There were major milestones for Siobhan, who published her first paper (also the 1st registered report for the motor bias project), which used mixture modelling to establish the source of oculomotor interference in spatial short-term memory representations (McAteer et al., 2022), then promptly went and got her first job in industry. Fortunately Siobhan won’t be leaving until the summer so there’s lots of time to squeeze a few more papers out! Dan published his first paper using Pavlovia/Psychopy, demonstrating the existence of a horizontal-vertical anisotropy in spatial short-term memory (Smith 2022) and Soazig gave her first keynote talk to the North West Vision Group. Other notable highlights were new papers from Alexis on attention in dyslexia (Cheviet et al., 2022) and the neural substrates of saccadic adaptation, (Metais et al., 2022), Soazig’s new collaboration on concussion with Dr Ali Lane, and we also delighted to see Dr Kasey Philyaw and Dr Rebekah Brockbank receive their PhDs. It was also a treat to return to in-person conferences and work from the Motor Bias project was presented at a very jolly EPS meeting in Stirling, ECVP in Nijmegen, ECEM in Leicester and NWVG in Liverpool. There were, of course, le
ss positive moments including some unsuccessful grant applications and some harshly rejected papers (curse you reviewer 2!!). However,
with a fair wind we’re confident the grants and papers can be revised and improved in the coming year.
Looking forward to 2023 the big aims will be to collect a nice big sample of patients for the PSP project and present the initial findings at FESN in Thessalonika, hopefully as part of a symposium, to publish more data from Siobhan’s PhD, to start some PPI work to develop Dan’s idea for a project looking at how prism glasses are used by people with PSP and ultimately get a grant to support the work, and to finally finish Soazigs EPS grant on presaccadic attention and working memory. It’s going to be a busy year!