OUR TEAM

Dr. Margherita Malanchini

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Margherita is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Psychology at Queen Mary University of London. After graduating in Psychology from Goldsmiths University of London in 2010 and obtaining her MSc in Developmental Sciences from Birkbeck College in 2012, Margherita started her PhD at Goldsmiths University of London in 2013. Her PhD research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, focused on the noncognitive side of educational achievement, investigating how individual differences in motivation and anxiety contribute to differences in school achievement over development. After her PhD, Margherita worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre, King’s College London, mentored by Professor Robert Plomin, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, mentored by Dr Elliot Tucker-Drob and Dr Paige Harden. During her postdoctoral years Margherita established close ongoing collaborations with both the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) and the Texas Twin Project

Margherita is the Director of MILES, which she founded during her PhD. Through this longitudinal research project she aims to address several important questions related to why children differ so widely in learning and academic abilities. The goal of Margherita’s research is to provide knowledge that can inform educational practice and interventions, ultimately allowing students to achieve their full potential. 

Contact details: email / website

Dr. Nicholas Shakeshaft

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Nic studied Law at Oxford University, graduating in 2005, before changing career. He undertook a second undergraduate degree in Psychology with the Open University, part-time, graduating in 2012. While completing this degree, he worked as a research assistant in the Experimental Psychology department at the University of Bristol from 2005-2007. This provided the opportunity to participate in a large number of fascinating projects, studying behaviour related to diverse subjects from prejudice to nutrition, and fostering an enthusiasm for good methodology. Nic saw the potential of the internet for conducting research with large samples of participants, and started a business in 2007, together with Kerry Schofield, to offer this as a service both for academia and industry. This culminated in 2011 with the founding of forepsyte.com, an online platform designed to collect and analyse data. After completing his BSc, Nic enrolled on a '1+3' programme (an integrated postgraduate programme comprising an MSc and PhD) in the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King's College London, under the supervision of Professors Robert Plomin and Francesca Happé. His work, conducted mostly as part of the long-running Twins Early Development Study (TEDS), examines the environmental and genetic influences on cognitive abilities (such as spatial ability and face recognition) and their relationships with educational outcomes. The programme has also allowed him to continue to pursue his interest in online data collection methods, using the web to facilitate large, ambitious projects such as TEDS and MILES.

Dr. Kerry Schofield

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Kerry studied Experimental Psychology (with a side order of Philosophy) at Christ Church, Oxford, followed by an MSc in Research Methods and Statistics, and a course in Clinical Criminology at the University of Leicester. In 2010, she completed her PhD in ExperimentalPsychology at the University of Bristol, studying individual differences in hemispheric lateralisation, and its relationship to schizotypy. As part of this research, she conducted both lab-based and online studies, and was impressed by the speed and efficiency of web-based testing for data collection. In partnership with Nic Shakeshaft, this led to the launch in 2011 of forepsyte.com, an online platform for data collection. In 2012, Kerry co-founded Silicon Valley startup Good.Co, a company culture analytics and psychometrics platform, and is now Chief Psychometrician at Good&Co Labs, part of the StepStone group. She is also a visiting researcher at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at King’s College London, working with the Twins Early Development Study (www.teds.ac.uk). This position, the MILES project, and her work at Good&Co, all allow her to pursue her interest in online and 'gamified' data collection methods, and to explore possibilities for connecting 'big data' approaches in industry with the scientific rigour of academic data analysis.

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATORS AND SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS

Dr. Maddalena Malanchini

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Maddalena graduated in Psychological Sciences from the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele in Milan (Italy) in 2009 with a thesis entitled: "Personality, temperament and panic disorder". In July 2011 she specialised in Clinical Psychology from the same University, graduating with Distinction (110 cum laude), and the following thesis: "female sexuality: a comparison between a sample of alcohol-dependent and a non-clinical sample". In March 2013 Maddalena also received a Masters in Integrated Clinical and Forensic Psychodiagnostics. Since January 2014, Maddalena has been training to become a psychotherapist, attending the Postgraduate School of Cognitive-Behavioural Psychotherapy "Cognitive Psychotherapy and Research" in Milan. Maddalena has worked as a post-graduate research assistant in the Centre for Alcohol Dependencies at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan. Additionally, from 2013 to 2015 she has deepened her knowledge of psycho-educational interventions working as a learning support specialist and an educator in primary and secondary schools in the Milan Province.  Maddalena is extremely interested in psychological wellbeing in childhood and adolescence, and she has developed several projects aimed at promoting physical and mental health in primary, secondary and high schools. Maddalena is also working as a psychologist, supporting the parents and teachers of primary school children at the Comprehensive Institute of Vertova (Bg). Maddalena is part of the "National Project for Psychological Health", a program that encourages cooperation between general practitioners and psychologists in the city of Bergamo. Maddalena has been part of MILES since its inception, helping with every aspects of the research, from promoting the project in schools to selecting, translating and piloting the measures and is currently involved in planning the forthcoming MILES data collections. 

Dr. Zhe Wang

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Zhe is an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Texas Tech University. Zhe obtained here Ph.D. degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Statistics from Virginia Tech and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. Zhe studies individual differences in the development of socio-emotional outcomes and educational attainments in children and young adolescents, and parenting behaviors in adults. Her research incorporates genetic, physiological, and behavioral approaches and examines how factors at these levels interact with environmental contexts (e.g., socioeconomic backgrounds, chaotic households, and harsh parenting) to produce diverse developmental trajectories. Additionally, she takes a reciprocal transactional approach where she also studies how family context and child characteristics, in turn, contribute to stress and harsh reactive parenting behaviors in parents. In her research, she utilizes a variety of kinship designs and combines them with multi-wave longitudinal data and advanced statistical modeling to reveal the complex transactional processes in development. 

Dr. Kaili Rimfeld

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Kaili Rimfeld studies causes of correlates of individual differences in academic achievement combining behavioural genetic and statistical genetic methods with psychometrics and innovative assessment methods. She has published empirical research using quantitative genetic methodology, involving both the twin design and DNA-based methods, to increase the understanding of individual differences in educational achievement.Kaili gained her BSc in Psychology and MSc in Developmental Psychology from Birkbeck College, University of London. In 2013, Kaili received an MRC studentship and began her PhD at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London, supervised by Robert Plomin. The aim of her PhD, that she completed in 2017, was to increase understanding of the aetiology of individual differences in educational achievement at the end of compulsory schooling and beyond.
 Kaili Rimfeld’s current work, that is funded by the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, aims to get to the heart of the association between early educational experiences and adverse life outcomes using advanced statistical genetic methods that aid in identification of specific risk that predict outcomes during childhood and later in life while controlling for genetic confounding. 

CURRENT UNDERGRADUATE THESIS STUDENTS 

Bethan Kate Pollard (Psychology student, Queen Mary University of London)
Project title: Does having a sibling contribute second language through self-confidence and motivation?

Prethi Vaishnavi Thayaparan(Psychology student, Queen Mary University of London)
Project title: Examining the links between eating behaviour, cognition and achievement 

Hiba Nasir(Psychology student, Queen Mary University of London)
Project title: The relationship between mental health and academic achievement during adolescence

 

​Ruta Ademone (Psychology student, Goldsmiths University of London)
Project title: Personality and Intelligence as Predictors of School Achievement when Variance in Intelligence is Restricted

Zeynep Nas (Psychology student, Goldsmiths University of London)
Project title: Analyzing relationships between mental toughness, academic achievement and cognitive ability