Faculty of Medical Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Peter Taylor
Peter Taylor, Research Fellow

What is your background?

I trained in computer science and software engineering before doing a masters degree in computational molecular biology in Manchester. I completed my PhD in 2013, studying dynamical systems theory and computational modelling in epilepsy. I have since undertaken postdoctoral work at NTU Singapore, MGH Boston, and in Newcastle before starting a Faculty Fellowship at Newcastle University in 2015.

What is your research area?
My research is focused on using computational methods to understand brain function and in the case of disease, brain dysfunction. I use methods from mathematical modelling, dynamical systems and graph theory to investigate complex brain network dynamics. I use functional data such as EEG, MEG and fMRI in addition to structural data derived from MRI and diffusion MRI. Primarily I work on epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.

Why did you choose a Newcastle University Faculty Fellowship as the next step in your career?
The Faculty Fellowship gave me independence as a scientist. This has meant that I have been able to fully pursue my own research ideas and collaborations. I have been able to supervise students, apply for funding, and work on papers as senior author. The Faculty Fellowship in particular has meant that I have been able to do this with no teaching or administrative load – allowing me to focus on research.

What facilities were made available to you via the fellowship?
As a computer scientist by training, I mainly require high performance computing facilities. I have been able to use facilities throughout the university including, not only the FMS computing cluster, but also the servers in the school of computing science. This has been extremely useful for my work and has been possible by having a joint affiliation with both the SAGE and medical faculties. These strong links between the faculties is a key strength here in Newcastle.

What other support have you had?
During the fellowship I have had excellent support. This has included funding for a PhD student, training on grant writing, mentorship from senior academics and funding to host a conference. This is in addition to support for me to attend international conferences, and to visit collaborators. Further support has also helped to cover the costs of publication fees.

What has your Faculty Fellowship allowed you to achieve so far?
Within a year of starting my fellowship in November 2015, I have had accepted for publication five journal papers and one book chapter. These are in highly regarded journals including PLoS Computational Biology and Brain, both as senior author and with students of mine as first author. I have been involved in the application of around £2million worth of grant funding (either as PI, or co-I), and have begun as main supervisor of my first PhD student. From the end of my fellowship, in August 2017, I have an open-ended position as Lecturer. The fellowship played an instrumental role in helping me obtain this.