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Dr Magda Chechlacz

Dr Magda Chechlacz

Dr Magda Chechlacz
University of Birmingham
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Santiago Ramón y Cajal, not just for his groundbreaking discoveries and contributions to neuroscience but also beautiful drawings of neurons and neural networks. His line sketches used to capture my imagination when as neurobiology student I used to study axonal growth under the microscope and also inspire my current fascination with diffusion tractography, a magnetic resonance imaging technique used to non-invasively explore human brain connectivity underlying normal functions and dysfunctions in neurological disorders.

In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

Mentoring- as a Phd supervisor I am not a boss or a teacher but someone providing support and advice

Technique-oriented – best thing about being an academic is ability to continue learning new cutting-edge techniques

Collaborative – best research is done in collaboration, I view both colleagues and students I work with as collaborators, valued members of a research team

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:

I will facilitate technical training at first, either teaching, advising or putting you in touch with other researchers who can help. However, I will expect more independence later.

Progression monitoring and management:

I expect that at the start of the PhD I will provide a lot of support and guidance in development of ideas and choosing/learning research methods. But in time this relationship will change with a PhD student gradually taking on fuller ownership of the project and becoming a research partner rather than trainee at the time of thesis submission.


I have an open door policy and I am happy to discuss any issues and problems as they are arising, in return I expect honest communication. I am known to email my team/PhD students at all hours of the day and night (I have numerous international collaborators and projects, so different time zones apply), however I will not expect you to do the same.

How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?

At least once a month

In year 1 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per week

In year 2 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per fortnight

In year 3 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per month

What form do your 1:1 meetings with PhD students take?

Face to face (if allowed under current health and safety advice)

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response (if required) on every working day.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

Certain tasks in my lab need to occur at set times, and students need to be able to commit to a rota/timetable shared with other members of the team.

Notice for feedback (e.g. on reports, manuscript drafts, thesis chapters)?

I need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.