Dr Suzannah Helps
I completed my PhD at the University of Southampton in 2009 with joint supervision from the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (signal processing engineering). In my PhD, I used signal processing techniques to investigate intra-individual variability in attention in children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I showed that this variability had a low frequency periodic structure, so that children with ADHD were making occasional, periodic lapses in attention. I also showed that these lapses in attention were associated with the phase of very low frequency oscillations, as recorded by scalp electroencephalogram (EEG), and that failure to attenuate this low frequency EEG from rest to task was associated with poorer task performance. After my PhD I had two postdoctoral research positions at the University of Southampton. In the first I was the principle research fellow investigating whether white noise facilitated children’s attention and performance. In the second, I managed the IDIA electrophysiology laboratory. I then worked on two research projects at the University Hospital Southampton. The first investigated the outcomes of children who were given enhanced nutrition after being born very prematurely and the second investigated the long term outcome of children who had been treated with hypothermia treatment for Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE: brain damage after being starved of oxygen around the time of birth). I joined the University of Portsmouth in August 2015 to work on the Portsmouth Birth Cohort Registry.
My primary interest is in disorders of attention and I have worked with a wide range of clinical and typically developing populations throughout my research career. I am currently working as a Senior Research Fellow setting up the Portsmouth Birth Cohort Registry, a registry of all babies born in Portsmouth from November 2015-November 2016. I am also collaborating with researchers from the University Hospital Southampton and assessing the attention and functioning of children who spent time in the neonatal unit there after being born very prematurely or suffering brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation during birth.