ESR1 Alberto González Olmos          ESR2  Sigurd Arne Melbye              ESR3 Mohammed Khwaja             ESR4 Claudette Pretorius   

ESR5 Franziska Tachtler               ESR6 Aris Malapaschas              ESR7 Bettina Moltrecht           ESR8 Toni Michel                ESR9 Darragh McCashin             

ESR10 Anja Cus         ESR11 Hidde van der Meulen            ESR12 Pegah Hafiz               ESR13 Shaun Liverpool             ESR15 Gianluigi Maria Riva

Alberto Gonzalez Olmos - ESR 1 University of Glasgow

I like dismantling my toys since I can remember. Mechanical toys are fun, but those that use electrons to function… that’s magic. I enjoyed so much trying to figure out what all these pieces glued together are doing that I keep doing it almost every time I see an attractive item thrown out in the street. I like learning how things work, from the formation of stones to toys to humans to societies to galaxies… youtube is helping me a lot with this.

About humans, I have enjoyed my summer times going camping with the Scouts in the very warm south of Spain, specifically in the region of Murcia, where I came to exist. There is a special social atmosphere that characterizes these kinds of youth associations that has motivated me to find opportunities to work with people in different situations. I think because of that I have ended up volunteering to work helping people with disabilities, organising artistic activities with children from deprived schools, teaching Spanish to people in social exclusion situations... These experiences have taught me important details about how society is fabricated.

As far as research is concerned I have worked designing electronics to control artificial muscles, applying machine learning to segment intravascular ultrasound images and I have analysed fMRI data to measure activity in brain-stem nuclei. Now, I am very happy to be working in a project where I will be in frequent exchange of ideas with people, and playing with electronics again  :) I am interested in the development of devices that bridge differences between neurodiverse people, so we can all better understand each other and work together. I am doing my PhD studies in Human-Computer Interaction, at the university of Glasgow, in a very nice research environment with wonderful and intelligent people.

Sigurd Arne Melbye - ESR 2  Region Hovedstaden

Born and raised in the arctic city of Tromsø Norway, I have experienced the challenges of long distances, scattered population and unreliable transportation opportunities. During my medical studies and later clinical practice, an interest for technical solutions, to meet these challenges, emerged. 

After my clinical rotation, mental health stood out as my preferred medical field, and I decided I wanted to specialize in psychiatry. When the opportunity came, to combine these two fields, and be a part of an innovative interdisciplinary team, brought together to make a brighter future for young people with mental health problems, I didn’t have to think twice about it. Now I am really happy to be part of TEAM-ITN, and I am optimistic that the synergy of the group will have an important and positive effect on all of the PhD-projects and on future care for young people with mental health problems.

My project is about identifying a smartphone “Footprint” to help in diagnosing young people with depression or biopolar disorder. It’s a clinical study, and I will meet young patients, relatives and control persons from the Copenhagen region. 

Mohammed Khwaja - ESR 3 Telefonica Innovacion Alpha

I was born in Chennai and raised in Bangalore, cities in the biggest democracy and one of the largest cultural hubs in the world, India. My parents taught me to be open minded, humble, sensitive to the needs of others, and encouraged me to explore the world. Together, these aspects motivated me to explore many cities and towns in South East Asia, East Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Traveling the world enabled me to meet people from a myriad of cultures and backgrounds, and cultivated my interest in technology, healthcare and business. While it may seem that these areas are too diverse and my interests convoluted, I have been determined from a young age to streamline them into my work and research, and create impactful innovations that help the society.

I currently work as a Research Scientist at Alpha, Telefónica's moonshot company; while undertaking my PhD at Imperial College London, UK. This unique collaboration promises to enhance my knowledge in all three areas mentioned above, and I am eager to create personalised mobile technologies that improve persuasive solutions for mental wellbeing. My research interests include machine learning and signal processing for biomedical applications, and medical technology entrepreneurship.

I received a Master of Science degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Imperial College and was awarded the Imperial College India Foundation Scholarship. While pursuing my Master’s, I co-founded a start-up to produce a non-invasive device for monitoring prenatal complications of expecting mothers. Previously, I completed my undergraduate studies from Vellore Institute of Technology, India. During this time, I contributed to research projects in Hong Kong, Singapore and India, under the broad umbrellas of medical devices, speech recognition and embedded systems.

Through the European Union’s unique program that presents me with an opportunity to take up an industrial PhD and TEAM’s unwavering support, I am confident that I will fulfil my ambitions and engineer solutions that I will be proud of. 

Claudette Pretorius  - ESR 4  ReachOut Ireland

Although I was originally born in Johannesburg, South Africa, I had the life changing opportunity to grow up in Botswana. The opportunity to grow up in another country allowed me to make friends from all over the world, develop a keen sense of adventure but also gave me an understanding for the importance of learning from those around you.

My interest in working with youth and promoting their mental health started through my work for non-profit organisation in South Africa that aimed to provide developmental resources for youth living in rural settings. This motivated me to become a registered counselling psychologist. I have worked with youth across a number of settings including in higher education.

With this background in mind, my current research will focus on developing an online referral system that will direct young people to the appropriate service based on their current concerns. This will build on information and resources already available through ReachOut Ireland, where I will be based as TEAM ITN early stage researcher.

I am excited about the opportunity to learn and grow in a new setting and develop a network with other professionals interested in supporting youth mental health through technology.

Franziska Tachtler - ESR 5  Technical University Vienna

After graduating from high school, I worked as a European volunteer in an organization supporting young adults to overcome and preventing crises caused for instance by unemployment, family issues or mental illness. Through this work, I have learned how much mental illness can affect your whole life. In addition, the reports by a friend of mine who is leading homes for unaccompanied migrant youth in Sweden, provided me with insights how challenging it is for the staff to deal and to prevent mental issues of the migrant youth. Besides, living abroad and having a lot of international friends has showed me how easy it is to fall out of the system and how challenging it is to become an integrated part of the society. Thus, I believe that improving and complementing ways to enhance resilience of unaccompanied migrant youths with the help of technology is an important research topic.

I obtain a Master of Science in Interaction Design at Malmö University, Sweden. As an Interaction Designer, it is important for me to design for the users’ situation. When I worked as a visiting lecturer in Interface Design at LMU Munich, Germany, I tried to share this attitude and make the students aware of their responsibility as designers and developers of future technologies.

From my academic and practical experience, I believe the exchange of knowledge and the discussion of varying opinions is an essential part of producing new and beneficial insights. Thus, I am glad to be part of the HCI research group in the Institute of Design and Assessment of Technology at TU Wien and of the international TEAM research group.

My passions are art and technology. This is not only demonstrated by my Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art with a Minor in Media Technology, but also by my free time activities: I love to paint, develop interactive art installation and visit art exhibitions. To restore my body and mind after a long and restless day, I am practicing yoga and go running. My friends appreciate my positive attitude for life and that I am a good listener. I hope that I can contribute these characteristics to the TEAM research group.

Aris Malapaschas - ESR 6  University of Glasgow

I spent most of my childhood on a beautiful island of the Aegean Sea, and a great deal of my adulthood in Athens, where I studied Computer Science and worked as a software developer. My sense of adventure, and my interest in Human-Computer Interaction led me to Finland, where I continued my studies and got involved in academic research.

I believe that the purpose of technology is to add quality to our lives, and especially to the lives of people who need it most. I joined the TEAM programme to contribute to this purpose, and gain valuable knowledge and experience in the process. With the help of the awesome team of researchers at the University of Glasgow, I will try to explore how technology can assist people with Cognitive Impairments due to Acquired Brain Injury.

Even though I’m planning to work hard for the TEAM project, I hope that it will leave me some spare time to spend on my hobbies, which include board games, music and travelling.

Bettina Moltrecht - ESR 7    Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

From an early age on life has offered me the most amazing opportunities to go on adventures, challenge myself, explore new places and make friends in countries all over the world.  This has sparked my never-ending motivation to expose myself to the unknown and to be curious about all the things that I do not know yet.

I love to share my positive energy with others and be part of a team. If there is too much energy left at the end of the day I love doing a million different things. To name a few: I love any type of sports (e.g. running, tennis, swimming, squash –you name it), practicing or teaching yoga, creating and making things (e.g. fun grandma activities like knitting).

With a clinical psychology background I am aiming to use my experience to develop a mobile app that increases young people’s mental health and helps them to become more resilient.  In doing so I am supported by my wonderful colleagues and supervisors from the Anna Freud National Centre.

Toni Michel - ESR 8 Technical University Vienna

Probably unlike many of the PhD candidates in TEAM my primary background is not in psychology. Instead I’m trained as a visual designer and engineer. Most of my previous work revolved around user interface design and user experience design. Companies I worked for include Bosch, Daimler and Fraunhofer Institute. Topics I worked on include the development of control systems for large scale heating systems, graph database applications and software to handle crisis situations (as part of EU Driver-Project).

On top of my Bachelor degree in Information Design I just recently acquired a Master degree in Interactive Systems and Games from Stuttgart Media University.

Within TEAM I’ll be developing a technological toolkit to support resilience in migrant youth. That means figuring out technological approaches to support making migrant youth more resistant to mental health risk factors that come with their life circumstances. One of the big challenges for me will therefore be to get a working understanding of the psychology involved in situations like this. Another will be figuring out new and potent ways to use technology in this regard.

I’m very excited for all the challenges ahead.

Darragh McCashin - ESR 9  University College Dublin 

Much of my career has revolved around exploring the question of how and why technology has come to be used for both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ purposes. 

Originally studying sociology and social policy (TCD), I was always fascinated with how to combine psychology with other disciplines to be better able to approach research questions from an interdisciplinary angle. A topic central to my research was the issue of sexual abuse, and the perceptions thereof. This was the focus of my psychology H.Dip (TCD), before I took a detour of sorts with a teaching stint abroad. 

Whilst always intending to return to doctoral research, I resided in Saudi Arabia for just under 3 years. I taught international curricula to civil servants, and of key relevance to TEAM, I also spent much of my time teaching via 1-to-1 iPad technology to primary boys. The sheer technological literacy of these students in a notably conservative and private society remains an enduring memory - both professionally and personally. 

Having returned to do an MSc in applied forensic psychology (York), my research returned to the psychology of sexual offending, with particular focus on online sexual offending. Most recently, I finished a year as a research assistant and associate lecturer at the University of Lincoln, researching case formulation of online sex offenders using mixed methodologies. 

This varied background spanning both academia and ‘real world’ has provided me with key insights and skills for critically evaluating the (un)desired role of technology in our society today and in the future. It is with great honour and excitement that I join TEAM and (once arch rivals!) UCD to develop CBT apps to support adolescent mental health. 

Anja Čuš​  - ESR 10  Medical University Vienna

I grew up in Slovenia, fairly close to the Austrian, Hungarian and Croatian border. In this area, I learned early about different cultural contexts and how they shape people. As a consequence, I developed a fascination for different behaviours and started studying Psychology. To satisfy my interest in working with people from different cultural backgrounds, I concluded my studies by specializing in Health and Social Psychology in Maastricht – in another cross-cultural tri-border area.

I am especially interested in improving people’s health with psychological insights. In my work on developing online intervention for body-dissatisfied women and implementing suicide prevention activities in adolescents I could observe how well-designed interventions support people in living a meaningful and productive life.

Digital technologies are omnipresent, especially in young people’s lives. This offers great potential in providing widely accessible and cost-effective interventions. As an early stage TEAM ITN researcher I will explore this potential for designing interventions to reduce auto-aggressive behaviour in adolescents. My aim is to develop a program that fosters adolescents’ resilience in at-risk groups.

Being a part of the TEAM research group gives me the unique opportunity to continue learning about and designing modern intervention programs while working in the inspiring and supportive environment of TEAM and the Medical University of Vienna.

Hidde van der Meulen - ESR 11 University College Dublin

I remember the childhood dream of becoming a game tester and making a living out of my main hobby. As I grew older I realized that it wasn't a very realistic goal (my parents agreed) and my interest in playing games also started to fade when I reached high school age. My Bachelors degree in Media Technology gave me the opportunity to specialize in game development but I decided to go for the web development branch and worked towards the field of Human-

Computer Interaction during my Artificial Intelligence Masters program. I have worked with eye-trackers, the Microsoft HoloLens and driving simulators and enjoyed being a researcher.

After finishing my masters some friends approached me to ask if I wanted to join a hackathon to develop a game. Since my web development skills would come in handy and I thought it was an exciting project, I joined. I learned that besides research I also really enjoyed game development. Almost exactly at that moment I found the open job position at the Team ITN of which I am now a proud member. I will develop and assess adaptable games for adolescents' mental health. It was only later that I realized my childhood dream actually became true.

Pegah Hafiz - ESR 12  Technical University of Denmark

I was born and raised in Shiraz, cultural capital of Iran and studied both Computer Engineering and Medical Informatics in high-standard universities of my city. From high school, I was interested to work on medical systems to assist anyone involved in the healthcare. After four years experience in professional programming as well as hardware simulations, I decided to study Medical Informatics to gain knowledge in this interdisciplinary field, which is full of awesome and challenging "real-world" applications.

I really enjoy observing and reading about bipolar patients to improve the treatment process. Formerly, I designed and implemented a clinical decision support system to diagnose success of In Vitro Fertilization in infertile couples. And now, I’m very excited to design a mobile application for bipolar patients using my experience of working in clinical environment which I acquired during my Master’s degree.

I will do my best to be a dedicated researcher with TEAM designing integrated monitoring and treatment platform for CBT for young people, most importantly, to help patients and to create a better health-care system.

Shaun Liverpool - ESR 13  Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

I am a product of the complex and multifarious environment that is Trinidad and Tobago. I followed my dream by pursuing tertiary education locally, regionally and internationally. Computers were my primary focus while growing up and now psychology is my passion. Most of all, I love life and every opportunity it presents me. In my spare time I enjoy volleyball, swimming and running along with other relaxing hobbies such as reading, meditating and staring at the stars.

Like my career choice, I am unique and eclectic in many ways, from my research interests to my life experiences. My current research addresses policy calls to promote shared decision making in services for young people with long term mental health conditions. It builds on prior research by the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families to develop a mobile app supporting shared decision making with young people, caregivers and therapists. This project will develop and evaluate a new app that enables greater involvement of caregivers in their child’s therapy. Along with my very supportive supervisors, I intend to make excellence my trademark. When I enjoy something it shows, so I know I will shine from the inside out. I always confront my fears, embrace my weaknesses and live my passion, one day at a time.

Gianluigi Maria Riva - ESR 15  University College Dublin

I am a Ph.D. fellow at the UCD School of Information and Communication Studies and at the UCD Insight Centre For Data Analytics, within TEAM. My research work is an interdisciplinary study focused on Law (Privacy and Contracts), Ethics, IT (new technologies and Artificial Intelligence) and Neuroscience.  The aim of the research is to understand how the cross application of Neuromarketing techniques, NPL, and digital and artificial intelligence technologies could influence and enhance human behaviour in yielding data and sign contracts. In addition to figure out the ethical and legal issues in human to machine interaction and hybridisation.  My goal is to design legal frameworks, borders and guidelines for users, players and professionals in using and developing these technologies to apply the results of my studies to the E-Health environment: specifically, to the mental health for young people.

Before joining at UCD I was an Italian qualified lawyer working as a legal counsel in IT, Privacy and Cyber Security fields for SME and start-ups. I am a certified DPO (data protection officer), an ADR qualified mediator and I was a teaching assistant in IT Law at the University of Pavia Law School, Italy. I also worked in Shanghai, China as legal intern in a start-up seed development project.  During my career I worked as attorney in several law firms. Before this I worked as a notary trainee and, during my university studies, I worked as a legal and commercial manager in the industrial field, as a legal advisor and hr manager in a SME and as a police officer during my voluntary 2 years long military service.

I have a master degree in Law and Economics and I graduated in 2010 at the University of Pavia, Italy with a thesis in Civil Procedure.   I attended three years of post-graduated specialization courses in Contracts Law.   I wrote as a columnist for several Italian newspapers. I co-founded E.L.S.A. Pavia and founded a university student brotherhood (SOARL) at the University of Pavia. I am fellow of the Neurotheoretical and Mental Science Study Group of the I.R.C.C.S. “Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale C. Mondino” of Pavia, Italy and fellow of the Tech and Law Centre of Milan, Italy.

Our Network Partners

  • University College Dublin

  • Denmark Technical University

  • Technical University Vienna

  • Medical University Vienna

  • Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

  • University of Glasgow

  • Region H Psychiatry

  • Telefonica Alpha