Early Stage Researchers

We are happy to announce that 15 selected ESRs have obtained a PhD position within ENTWINE. The ESRs will start between the months of March and May at their host institutions in one of the five countries involved in the ENTWINE Network. We are very glad that all candidates accepted and we are looking forward to this collaboration!

Below you will find more information about the selected ESRs within the three different work packages.

Work package 1: Investigating willingness to care

Work package 2: Designing solutions for informal care

Work package 3: Implementing novel technology based solutions

Work package 1: Investigating willingness to care



Mikołaj Zarzycki - Prevalence of care and cultural differences (the United Kingdom) (ESR 1)

My name is Mikołaj Zarzycki. I'm a polish graduate in psychology and physiotherapy interested in diverse psychological and health science research.

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Until now my research activity in the field of psychology has been devoted to two separate academic paradigms, a qualitative one with focus on IPA and narrative psychology and a quantitative one with emphasis on cognitive psychology, physical and mental rehabilitation. I also had the pleasure to take part in numerous apprenticeships in psychology and physiotherapy thus systematically developing my professional skills and preparing popular science projects.

Currently, I am working at Bangor University (the UK) under the supervision of Prof. Val Morrison and Dr. Noa Vilchinsky. As part of the project I conduct qualitative and quantitative prospective research studies regarding the issues of prevalence of care and willingness to provide care among informal caregivers. The studies are aimed at information of designing and implementation of care solutions.
E-mail address: m.zarzycki@bangor.ac.uk
Personal page: check here

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Eva Bei - Personal and geographical barriers and facilitators of caregiving (Israel) (ESR 2)

My name is Eva Bei and I come from a small town of Greece, Trikala. My special interest in the area of informal care begun during my early academic years at University of Crete (UOC), where I earned a BSc Degree in Psychology with Distinction.

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Since then, I have further expanded my knowledge in the field, by completing my MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences (Division of Psychiatry), at University College London (UCL), with Distinction. In addition to my educational background, I have actively pursued clinical experience and successfully been involved in a range of health care settings. As an Assistant Psychologist in Royal Hospital, London, I encountered service users with Chronic Illness, Dementia, Depression and other psychiatric disorders; witnessed psychotherapy of both patients and informal carers; and contributed to the development of treatment plans, based on the caregiver-care recipient dyads’ interests, abilities and needs.

Overall, my research project ESR#2-“Personal and geographical barriers and facilitators of caregiving”, at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, focuses on how individual and socio-geographical characteristics could influence caregivers’ outcomes and willingness to care over time. Along with my supervisors Dr. Noa Vilchinsky, Prof. Mario Mikulincer and co-supervisor Prof. Valerie Morrison, we aim to investigate the impact of all the potential barriers and facilitators of informal caregiving, taking into account not only individual differences but also diverse socio-cultural settings, socio-economic factors and for the first time to our knowledge, geographical barriers.

Apart from my targeted interest in informal care, in my spare time I also enjoy the sounds of great music, spending time with my lovely dog Pouf and seeking adventure in the outdoors!
E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Giulia Ferraris - Diversity of experiences in caregiver-care recipient dyads (the Netherlands) (ESR 3)

My name is Giulia Ferraris, I am 25 and I come from Milan, Italy. Throughout my educational and professional path, I graduated in Clinical Psychology at Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan.

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I have developed expertise in clinical research methods and health-care issues with a focus on both patients and their significant others/caregivers. From 2016 to 2018 I took part in a psycho-oncology research project finalised at examining couples facing at breast cancer.

Currently, I am working as an early stage researcher at the department of Health Psychology at the UMCG on the ENTWINE project “Diversity of experiences in caregiver-care recipient dyads” with my supervisors Prof. dr. Mariët Hagedoorn and Prof. dr. Robbert Sanderman and my co-supervisor Prof. dr. Louise von Essen. My project focuses on interpersonal processes and characteristics of dyads which could stimulate or decrease the willingness to care in care providers. A longitudinal design (ENTWINE-iCohort) will be planned to analyse this phenomenon in-depth and to enhance a relational perspective in the process of adjustment to illness.

My interest in exploring dyadic coping, especially in cancer patients and their informal caregivers, lead me to embrace the dyadic approach in health-care themes. However more studies are needed to increase our knowledge on dyadic processes in illness adaptation and on the effectiveness of eHealth interventions to improve psychosocial care.

I like jazz music and going to theatre; currently in my free time I attend boogie-woogie competition.
E-mail address: g.m.a.ferraris@umcg.nl
Personal page: check here

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Saif Elayyan - A comparison across countries of formal versus informal caregiving and personal preferences in caring for older people now and in the future (the Netherlands) (ESR 4)

My name is Saif Elayan and I come from Amman, the capital of Jordan. I completed my undergraduate degree in Pharmacy at the University of Jordan where I gained in-depth knowledge of medications and disease states with a particular focus on achieving optimal use of medications, and optimal patient outcomes.


Oliver Fisher - Opportunities and challenges of household-based migrant care work as a support to informal caregiving (Italy) (ESR 5)

My name is Oliver Fisher and I am a specialist in labour rights and labour migration. I am originally from Australia, but have spent the last few years working and studying in Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Thailand and Cambodia.

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Prior to the start of my PhD, I worked with the International Labour Organization on a labour migration programme that aimed at promoting fair migration and maximizing the contribution of labour migration to equitable, inclusive and stable growth in ASEAN. My work has largely focused on ensuring that migrant workers, especially women, are able to have safe, profitable and positive migration experiences.

My PhD research project is focused on the opportunities and challenges of household-based migrant care work as a support to informal caregiving. As part of this research, I will analyse the decent work and labour migration outcomes of migrant care workers in Europe and in which ways household-based migrant care work can be empowering and beneficial for migrant care workers and care recipients and their families. During this project I will be hosted by the National institute of health and science on ageing (INCRA), Italy, and Università Politecnica delle Marche. My project will be supervised by Dr. Giovanni Lamura from INCRA, and Dr. Erik Buskens from the University of Groningen.

E-mail address: o.fisher@inrca.it
Personal page: check here

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Work package 2: Designing solutions for informal care



Guy Laban - Communicating emotion and needs (the United Kingdom) (ESR 6)

I am Guy Laban from sunny Tel Aviv, Israel. 3 years ago I moved to picturesque Amsterdam, Netherlands, and have now relocated to Glasgow in bonnie Scotland.

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I completed my Bachelor's degree in Communication with a specialization in Interactive Communications at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya in Israel. In addition to this, I completed my Research Master's in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Currently, I am working at the Social Robots (sobots.com) and Social Brain on Action (soba-lab.com) labs in the University of Glasgow on ESR#6 - “Communicating emotion and needs: can social robots interpret and respond to carer needs or help reduce the ‘load’”, under the supervision of Prof. Emily S. Cross,Prof. Valerie Morrison and the co-supervision of Prof. Giuseppe Riva. The project is aimed at examining the engagement and interaction of social robots with informal caregivers by analysing caregivers emotions and needs using this novel technology, and developing interventions for caregivers well-being using social robots.

My interests lie in human-robot interactions and what elicits meaningful experiences and relationships between humans, robots, and other artificially intelligent entities. I am thoroughly experienced in computational social science and data science methodology, as well as in experimental psychology. I enjoy hiking, mountaineering, and photography (especially in the mountains ;)).

E-mail address: guy.laban@glasgow.ac.uk
Personal page: check here

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Michelle Semonella - Assessing the effects of a cognitive-Behavioural Conjoint Therapy for caregivers (Israel) (ESR 7)

My name is Michelle Semonella from Milan, Italy. When I was 8 years old I told my parents I would have been a psychologist, and Walt Disney was right: “If you can dream it, You can do it”.

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I studied well-being psychology at Catholic University of Milan, and after my bachelor I started doing research at Istituto Auxologico Italiano using technologies as a new tool in clinical fields such as cognitive behavioral exposure therapy, rehabilitation and stress.

My latest research field was about gambling addiction using virtual reality and psychophysiological signals. During this period, I had the opportunity to meet many couples and to speak with them, and I understood that I had a lot of interesting in couples dynamics, especially in caregivers.

I decided to apply for the ESR7 at Bar Ilan University (Israel) under the supervision of Dr. Noa Vilchinsky & Prof. Rachel Dekel. We will conduct a RCT in order to investigate the benefits of the cognitive behavioral conjoint therapy (CBCT) respect a caregiver only (CBT).

In the meantime, with my Co-supervisor Prof. Mario Mikulincer I will learn about the technical and commercial aspects of translating knowledge into an eHealth programme, and with my other Co-supervisor Prof. Gerhard Andersen I will learn how to adapt CBCT into an online intervention.

E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Milica Petrovic - The potentiality of advanced positive technology for dealing with psychological stress in caregiving (Italy) (ESR 8)

My name is Milica Petrovic and I am a psychologist with a research focus on well-being, happiness and positive psychology.

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I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Master of Science in Counseling Psychology by the University of Sheffield. I enjoy conducting research and I use both qualitative and quantitative methods. I have been exploring happiness and well-being through its links to human gut microbiota and personality.

My current project is focused on designing a solution as a part of “positive technology” that will support caregivers in recognizing and managing their emotions by understanding and applying effective coping strategies and as a result provide optimal care.

I am happy to have an opportunity to learn from and work with Dr. Andrea Gaggioli as my supervisor at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Milan and Prof. Dr. Mariët Hagedoorn from the University Medical Center Groningen as a co-supervisor. My goal is to create an effective and sustainable psychological solution for informal care through the use of “positive technology” with possible future application in the AI development.

E-mail address: milica.petrovic@unicatt.it
Personal page: coming soon

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Srishti Dang - Balance in caregiving: an eHealth application to support decision-making (the Netherlands) (ESR 9)

My name is Sristhi Dang. I earned my Master’s in Cognitive Science & Bachelor’s in Anthropology at University of Allahabad, India.

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Before joining my Ph.D., I worked with Siemens Research in India.

Currently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at University of Groningen, the Netherlands. My main research interests include cyber psychology, persuasive technologies and informal caregiving.

In my current research, I focus on developing a decision-making tool for informal caregivers by understanding their needs, pain-points, interests and requirements. Along with that, I also investigate how technology can help informal caregivers to make suitable decisions.

E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Shweta Premanandan - Developing persuasive and adaptive ICT solutions that encourage carers’ willingness to care in real time, tailored to contexts (Sweden) (ESR 10)

My name is Shweta Premanandan and my research interests are in the area of understanding technology adoption behavior and designing interactive, engaging systems in ehealth.

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I hold a Master’s degree in business administration and a Bachelor’s in computer science engineering from India. Before joining ENTWINE I worked at Amrita School of Business, India in the area of Information Systems and Analytics. I find research interesting and have used quantitative and qualitative research methods. I have been conducting research to understand the role of culture in the adoption of e-government services using a mixed method approach.

My current project as an ESR 10 is to design and develop persuasive systems to encourage informal care givers’ willingness to care. I am employed as a doctoral student in the Department of Informatics and Media at Uppsala University. I look forward to learning from and work with Prof. Pär Ågerfalk, Prof. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen and Dr. Jonas Sjöström. In my free time I love to read, listen to music and volunteer at the local animal shelter.

E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Work package 3: Implementing novel technology based solutions



Alhassan Hassan - ICT-based support services for informal caregivers: upgrading InformCare, a Europe-wide web-platform (Italy) (ESR 11)

My name is Alhassan. I was born in Cairo, 20 km from the great pyramids! From an early age, connecting and supporting health with technology was a special passion for me.

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I am a Project manager, public health expert and biomedical engineer with great international experience in the European and Arabic contexts acquired through studying and working in 5 countries: Egypt, England, Germany, Denmark and Italy.

After being awarded the European Commission’s Erasmus Mundus scholarship to study the European Public Health Master's Course, I completed the first course of the curriculum at the University of Sheffield (UK) and I wrote my Master thesis in the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) with a specialisation in public health informatics.

My PhD research project is focused on the opportunities and challenges of ICT-based support services for informal caregivers. I will be exploring the ICT-based services that are most helpful in the support of family caregivers of older people. In particular, to use the InformCare real-life tool to analyse and address specific challenges, in close connection with both European and national level carers organisations and researchers.

I will be happy to learn from and work with Dr. Giovanni Lamura my supervisor at the National institute of health and science on ageing (INCRA), Italy and Prof. Mariët Hagedoorn from the University Medical Center Groningen as a co-supervisor.

Outside of academics, I enjoy composing and producing music!

E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Sofia Bastoni - Development and implementation of Smart Solutions (Italy) (ESR 12)

My name is Sofia Bastoni, I am 25 years old and I was born in Milan. In 2019, I have graduated in Organizational Psychology. My academic interests include Social Psychology, Positive Psychology and Technologies for Wellbeing.

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I have been focusing on quantitative research on complex emotions, wellbeing and technology. More specifically, I have been working with Virtual Reality and its impact on various fields of application, from corporate trainings to clinical interventions. Furthermore, I explored the role of visual and performative arts- as transformative tools- on complex constructs such as wellbeing, emotions and cognition.

I am currently working on laying the grounds on how to successfully implement and develop eHealth Smart Solutions in the framework of Informal Care, with Prof. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen (University of Twente), Prof. Robbert Sanderman (University Medical Center Groningen) and Prof. Andrea Gaggioli (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano) as my supervisors. I am very confident in the positive role technologies can play when it comes to making our lives better in many ways. For this reason, I am very enthusiastic to make this my field of research.

Aside from my academic interests, I enjoy skiing, hiking, contemporary art, laughing with friends and, of course, pasta.

E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Nikita Sharma - Agile development of unobtrusive sensing technology to support caregivers in caring for patients on a distance (the Netherlands) (ESR 13)

Hi, I am Nikita Sharma from India. I did Master’s in Electronics & Communication Engineering with research work in Cognitive Neuroscience from International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad, India (IIIT-H).

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I worked as a Research Intern in Microsoft Research (Technology for Emerging Markets group), India and Siemens R&D (User Experience Design Team), India. By working in these renowned research labs I gathered work experience in various domains like User Experience, User Research, Human-Computer Interaction, Web and App development, and Data Analysis.

Currently, I am working at NEDAP Healthcare, Netherlands (www.nedap-healthcare.com) under the supervision of Dr. Jan Hendrik Croockweit and co-supervision of Prof. Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen. My project work focuses on “Agile development of unobtrusive sensing technology to support caregivers in caring for patients on a distance” (#ESR 13). With the implementation of unobtrusive sensing technology, we aim to monitor and coach older people to support caregivers in order to enable care from distance.

My interests lie at the intersection of technology and human needs. I am highly motivated to conduct research with the aim of providing solutions for the betterment of prevalent societal issues. Apart from work, I enjoy exploring new places.

E-mail address: coming soon
Personal page: coming soon

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Chelsea Coumoundouros - Implementing eHealth psychological support for informal carers: a pragmatic realist complex intervention approach (Sweden) (ESR 14)

My name is Chelsea Coumoundouros. I am from Windsor, Ontario in Canada and I will be completing my PhD studies at Uppsala University in Sweden as part of the ENTWINE network.

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I began my studies in biochemistry at the University of Guelph and will be completing a Master of Science in Public Health at McGill University. It was during my masters that I became involved with caregiver research and I am excited to continue in this field during my doctoral work.

I will be working at Uppsala University with Dr. Louise von Essen, Dr. Joanne Woodford and co-supervised by Dr. Robbert Sanderman on the ESR 14 project. I will investigate the real-world implementation of an eHealth intervention to improve the mental health of caregivers.

E-mail address: chelsea.coumoundouros@kbh.uu.se
Personal page: General department
Personal page: Research Group

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Ieva Biliunaite - Implementation of a supportive intervention for older spousal caregivers (Sweden) (ESR 15)

Hello! My name is Ieva and I was born in a small town in the north of Lithuania. For what is now almost ten years, I was working and studying in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and now, most recently, in Sweden.

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My previous experiences include working as a research assistant, as well as an analyst and the most recent one, tutor for Bachelor Psychology students at University of Erasmus Rotterdam. I have also gained experience working as a trainee clinical psychologist back in my home country Lithuania.

As part of this exciting project, ESR15, I am going to be based at the University of Linköping, working under supervision of prof. Gerhard Andersson as my primary supervisor, and prof. Robbert Sanderman as co-supervisor (based in Groningen, the Netherlands). I am very pleased to join the research team at the University of Linköping and work towards implementing internet based treatment for spousal and family caregivers. Moreover, I am very much looking forward to be a part of the ENTWINE project and meet as well as to work in collaboration with other institutions as well as fellow PhD students.

When it comes to my free time, I enjoy traveling and learning new languages. As Sweden is going to be my fourth country of residence, I am very curious to learn more about its culture and ways of living.

E-mail address: ieva.biliunaite@liu.se
Personal page: General department

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