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Early Career Researchers

Ms Nicola Ward, Queen's University Belfast

Nicola is a PhD student at Queens University Belfast. Her main research interest revolves around how we can use lifestyle modifications to help combat chronic diseases. Currently focusing on the role of diet and physical activity in undernourished older adults and their impact on cognition. Nicola's previous projects have explored the neurological side of obesity, analysing the efficacy of novel weight loss technologies and investigated exercise and supplementation strategies for blood glucose metabolism regulation, muscle oxidative capacity, insulin sensitivity and glycaemic control. Nicola has an extensive professional history within the fitness and wellness sector, alongside 10 years management and service experience.

Ms Rachel Reid-McCann, Queen's University Belfast

Rachel is a third year PhD student at the Centre for Public Health, QUB and her research focuses on the role of a healthy diet in the muscle health of older adults. Her PhD project will involve analysing data to explore whether adherence to the PROMED diet and exercise programme can improve muscle mass, strength, physical performance and quality of life in a subset of PROMED-EX participants.

Ms Teresa Grohmann, University College Dublin

Teresa is a Postdoctoral research fellow at the Conway Institute, University College Dublin, with Professor Lorraine Brennan. Her PhD was awarded at the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen in 2021, where she conducted research on the effect of a food supplement on cardiometabolic outcomes in a population at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Teresa is involved in the investigation of metabolic profiles in individuals with early signs of cognitive decline compared to healthy individuals in PROMED COG.

Ms Elena Perdixi, National Research Council, Italy 

Dr Perdixi is a Psychologist with a Master’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Milan-BICOCCA (Italy) and a 2nd level vocational master's in Neuropsychology at the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy). She’s been working as a clinical neuropsychologist on several research projects. In particular, since April 2019 she is a research assistant for the “The NutBrain Study” (Exploring the Relationship Between Nutrition, gUT Microbiota, and BRain AgINg in Community-dwelling Seniors), an ongoing population-based cohort study performed in Northern Italy. She’s actively involved in participants' recruitment, on-site visits, data collection and neuropsychological evaluation. During her internship and work experience, Dr Perdixi acquired specific skills in cognitive and functional assessment in the general population.  
Her research interest is to evaluate how a lifestyle characterized by a healthy diet and engagement in leisure activities of intellectual, physical and social nature, is associated with slower cognitive decline in healthy older people and may reduce the risk of dementia.