Personal profile


I am a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health. I completed my BSc in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Manchester in June 1998. I carried out my PhD (‘Tactile Spatial Attention and Parkinson’s Disease’ supervised by Dr Don O’Boyle and Dr Fred Cody) at the University of Manchester, which I completed in 2002. I then worked for 18 months as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with Professor Graham Barnes at UMIST, before taking up a lectureship in Psychology September 2003. I was promoted to senior lecturer in 2010 and together with Dr Emma Gowen, I direct the Body, Eye and Movement (BEAM) lab.

Research interests


I am interested in the overlap between cognition and motor processes; in particular how we copy (imitation) and simulate (motor imagery) actions. I have been exploring how these processes are affected in Parkinson’s disease and autism. I am also interested in the processing of tactile and bodily information, and how these may be affected in different conditions. I am co-director of the BEAM (Body Eyes and Movement) lab with Dr Emma Gowen


Our research uses a range of measures (reaction times, eye movements, hand movements). I am committed to involving people affected by Parkinson’s and autism in developing our research questions and approaches, and explore how our findings can be translated into interventions or real-word application.



PSYC10770 Study Skills in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology (module leader)

PSYC11312 Sensation & Perception

PSYC21012 Perception and Action

PSYC31161 Cases in Clinical Neuropsychology (module leader)

PSYC31242 Understanding Dementia: Brain and Behaviour

NURS13110 Life sciences for midwives

BIOL21341 Sensory Systems



BIOL63151 Contemporary Research Skills (MRes)

PSYC69841 Professional Issues (MSc)

BIOL62112 Cognitive Psychology for Clinical Neurosciences (MSc)

BIOL63122 Research Methods in Experimental Psychology (MRes)

BIOL62172 Clinical and Behavioural Neuroscience (MSc)

My collaborations


Social responsibility

I am Director of Social Responsibility for the Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology. I take the lead on organising Widening Participation activities for school children, as well as activities for the wider public. I have recently devised Science-Art workshops in partnership with the Whitworth Art Gallery. I am currently a committee member of the British Science Association Psychology Section.

I use patient and public involvement (PPI) in my own research and teaching and have recently co-authored a paper with two people with Parkinson’s disease. I am also a member of the Parkinson’s UK Involvement Strategy Group, working to facilitate PPI for researchers across the UK.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing


  • Parkinson's disease
  • Multisensory
  • Attention
  • Eye movements
  • Body
  • Autism
  • Imitation


Dive into the research topics where Ellen Poliakoff is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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