Helen Lai: ‘I met some absolutely brilliant and wonderful people’

What is your name?

Helen Lai

Where are you from?


To which class you belong to?

MRes Experimental Neuroscience, Class of 2019 

Where and what did you study before joining Imperial College London?

BSc Major Biology, Minor Neuroscience, McGill University, Canada

How did you find your Master experience at the College?

I had a great time during my master’s, most of which I can’t quite remember—Hallmarks of a great party, really! In seriousness, it was an extremely intensive and hyper-productive ten months. I learned more than I could have imagined and met some absolutely brilliant and wonderful people 

Which research project did you work on?

I worked on three different projects during my three MRes rotations. The first one was on chronic neurodegeneration following moderate-severe TBI, supervised by Professor David Sharp. During the second rotation, I investigated Biomechanical features of head impacts in ice hockey with Dr Mazdak Ghajari. In the third one, I focused on data-driven methods to describe complex relationships between behavioural, motor, and imaging features of Parkinson’s Disease, supervised by Dr Steve Gentleman, Dr Adam Hampshire and Dr Stefano Sandrone

Where are you now? 

I am working as a research technician for the UK Dementia Research Institute Care Research and Technology Centre (UK DRI CR&T) at Imperial College London

What are you working on?

Several projects within the UK DRI CR&T, broadly focused around the theme of helping vulnerable people stay independent in their homes with the aid of technology 

What is the most important lesson you learnt as a Master student?

To be open-minded to learning new things—and fast!

How did the Master programme help you get to where you are now?

It helped me build up the necessary skills in data analysis and visualisation. More importantly, it helped me learn the interpersonal and time-management skills to work effectively as a unit within a large, evolving group, often with diverse backgrounds and perspectives