Prof Ian Abrahams | Research Coordinator

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Ian Abrahams is Head of the School of Education and Professor of Science Education in the College of Social Science. Having previously been a teacher of physics and head of department he undertook a PhD in Education and then, in 2007, moved into Higher Education working initially at Bishop Grosseteste University College before moving to the IoE (now UCL Institute of Education), the University of York and then most recently the University Leeds. Ian’s research interests relate to practical work, misconceptions, Continuing Professional Development – in particular the effectiveness of such programmes – and students’ and teachers’ attitudes towards science education and the use of drama as a tool for teaching science. Ian has directed the evaluation of various large-scale national interventions, including the ‘Getting Practical’ programme (2009-11), a Nuffield funded project to improve the effectiveness of practical work (2012), and the Wellcome Trust funded pilot CPD programme for primary science specialists (2012-14). Ian’s research has led him into collaborations with colleagues in China, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Singapore and Turkey. 



Dr Lesley Allinson | Research Lead in Technology-Assisted Interventions

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Lesley Allinson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology with degrees in Psychology and Computer Science. With a background in Human Computer Interaction and Autism, she is particularly interested in the development and application of technology for the benefit of individuals on the autism spectrum. She was instrumental in producing the earliest realisations of Learning Support Environments, which then led to her exploring and providing such tools for children on the autism spectrum and related special needs. She has taught on the subject of Autism for many years and is currently a governor at Gosberton House Academy, which is a specialist primary school mainly for children with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.



Mr Robert Barber | Community Lead

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I am a Commissioning Officer within Adult Care at Lincolnshire County Council, working in Specialist Adult Services, which covers Autism, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health. I am currently the Vice-Chair of the Lincolnshire Autism Partnership Board (LAPB) and also lead the Autism Awareness and Training Working Group, which is a subsidiary to the main Board.

I was involved in the development of Lincolnshire’s first ever local autism strategy and in ensuring that the key actions contained in the strategy are being delivered. This includes work to develop an Autism Reasonable Adjustment Mark to assess if mainstream services are being made accessible to autistic people, the introduction of an online local autism information hub and establishing Autism Champions across public and community services. 



Dr Paul Baxter | Research Lead in Technology-Assisted Interventions

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I am a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computer Science (College of Science), and a member of the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems and the Autism Research and Innovation Centre. Previously, I completed a PhD at the University of Reading, and worked on a number of European-funded projects at the University of Plymouth as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

My research interests are broadly in the overlap between social human-robot interaction and cognitive robotics, in which I develop the theory and technology to support autonomous robot behaviour so that they fulfil useful functions. I have a particular focus on application to child-robot interaction for education, and social skill support for children with autism. These research efforts have taken my robots and I out of the laboratory and into schools, clinics and hospitals, where I try to learn about what works best for both children and robots.



Dr Niko Kargas | Director

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My research interests lie broadly in sensory processing, cognitive functioning, psychoacoustics, language and communication in people with and without developmental conditions. Generally, I am interested in understanding the ways in which developmental sensory and cultural processes interact to shape the cognitive abilities and communication skills found in children and adults. Currently, I am investigating the role that auditory processing plays in the expression of autistic symptomatology as well as the links between sensory sensitivities (i.e., hyper & hypo) and communicative abilities in people with autism. 



Scott Landsborough| Stakeholder Engagement Lead

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Prof Graham Law | Research Coordinator

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Graham Law is a Professor in Medical Statistics in College of Social Science. He has published extensively in epidemiology and medical statistics. His research focusses on sleep and the consequences of good and poor sleep on metabolic and cardiovascular health. 



Dr John Mendy | Research Lead in Employment

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John Mendy has published in and continues to review for a range of national and international refereed journals and other publication outlets including Labor Studies Journal and IGI Global, amongst others. His research interests include research, HRM and Organisational Studies, migration studies, organisational improvement, organisational culture and change, change management, the management of working relationships between a diverse range of employees, autism and HRM and smart cities as learning cities. 



Prof Kerstin Meints | Research Lead in Animal-Assisted Interventions

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Dr. Kerstin Meints completed her PhD at Hamburg University within its Cognitive Science Doctoral programme in 1996. She then collaborated with Professors Kim Plunkett and Paul L. Harris in Oxford’s department of Experimental Psychology on a Leverhulme grant proposal from which her post-doctoral position arose. Within the project, she carried out a range of experiments on early word learning and categorisation in the Oxford Babylab. She is a member of Wolfson College, Oxford. Dr. Meints joined the University of Lincoln in 1999, opened the Lincoln Babylab the year after and has since established the lab as one of the world’s most advanced infant research labs. Recently, new software has been developed in the Lincoln Lab to facilitate Intermodal Preferential Looking, Listening, Habituation and Eye-tracking studies and to enable the combination of these studies in one user interface. The Lincoln Infant Lab programme package (2008) enables precise, fast and easy data collection and processing and more convenient data management. Next to this, an online vocabulary database has been set up and the first UK-CDI vocabulary database will be hosted from 2015 on the Lincoln webpages. Next to ongoing and externally-funded research in young children’s language learning and categorisation skills, Dr. Meints also researches colour and face perception, the development of trust and also works on comparative research – together with colleagues a Dog Preferential Looking Lab was set up on the Riseholme campus so children and dogs can be tested with the same methods on a range of topics. She also works on applied research in human-animal interaction, especially dog bite prevention. She has recently been awarded a prestigious NIH research project on teaching children dog signalling and is part of the international project on dog bite prevention “The Blue Dog”. She has been responsible for helping to create the final version of the Blue Dog DVD and booklet and also for the first assessment of the Blue Dog programme. Dr. Meints is a Professor in Psychology. 



Prof Daniel Mills | Research Lead in Animal-Assisted Interventions

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I am a RCVS, European and ASAB recognised specialist in clinical animal behaviour, as such I have been developing and exploring new interventions for behaviour problems, such as:

  • The use of semiochemicals to control the emotional reaction of animals (pheromonatherapy)
  • The use of mirrors to control stereotypic weaving in horses

I also have a strong research interest in the comparative psychology underpinning these conditions and other behaviours. I am particularly interested in what makes an individual different and how this arises from their interaction with the environment. This links both my applied and fundamental research, for example by examining how we and non-human animals recognise and respond to the emotional state of another.
More recently I have had opportunities to scientifically explore my interests in the potential value of our relationships with animals. My research in this area focuses on the benefits from pet keeping using a multidisciplinary approach, for example collaborations with biologists, health care professionals, psychologists, lawyers and economists. Recent projects include:

  • An examination of the effect of a pet dog on families with an autistic child
  • The economic significance of pet dogs to the UK
  • The position of the cat in UK legislations
  • Matching of dogs with potential adopters