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Dr Harry Witchel

Harry Witchel web

Dr Harry Witchel (PhD)

Senior Lecturer in Physiology
E: H.Witchel@bsms.ac.uk
T: +44 (0)1273 873549
Location: Room 204 Trafford Centre for Medical Research, BSMS, University of Sussex, BN1 9RY

Other roles: Intercalation Lead
Areas of expertise: Non-verbal behaviour; motion capture; engagement; psychobiology; soundscape
Research area: Neuroscience

Biography

  • Senior Lecturer, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
  • Senior Research Fellow, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • Visiting Professorship, Institute of Pathology, University of Florence (Italy)-hERG cell biology
  • Research Fellow, Molecular pharmacology of cardiac ion channels, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • Research Associate, Cloning rabbit cardiac ion channels, Dr. Jules Hancox, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • Research Associate, Cloning rabbit cardiac ion channels, Dr. Allan Levi, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol
  • Research Associate, Molecular Biology of Invertebrate Ion channels, Dr. Robert Meech, Department of Physiology, University of Bristol

Education

  • PhD (Physiology - Anatomy), University of California at Berkeley
  • AB (Physics), Columbia University, New York

Research

Research focus

Harry is Discipline Leader in Physiology, and uses time series analysis to correlate physiological and motion metrics with physiological, psychological or pathological (disease) states. Work in the laboratory focuses on the triangulation of behavioural data, physical properties and subjective reporting.

  1. We use wearable sensors, motion capture and time series analysis to determine the cognitive, emotional and behavioural correlates of engagement and disengagement in response to different psychologically relevant stimuli (e.g. music and soundscape). We are currently developing devices for the measurement of subconscious postural micromovements and also for the synchronisation of tools to measure these.
  2. We use wearable inertial sensors to develop metrics of ambulatory function/dysfunction, for example in multiple sclerosis.

Current research

  1. Developing motion analysis techniques to demonstrate differences in physiology and in subconscious, non-instrumental postural micromovements based on different stimuli. We focus on seated healthy volunteers, in order to detect subtle (mm) changes over time in response to discrete, two-minute, homogeneous stimuli including games, quizzes, and films. This kind of stimulus allows us to make clear conclusions about the emotion elicited by the stimulus, as two minutes is long enough to become bored, but not long enough to re-engage. We also measure postural surrogates of fatigue and arousal.
  2. We use dynamic time warping of inertial measurements for walking, and also mathematical models for static balance, to make metrics of disability that are objective.

Active collaborations

  • Professor Nachiappan Chockalingam, Staffordshire University
  • Professor Hugo Critchley, Brighton and Sussex Medical School
  • Professor Kate Galvin, University of Brighton

Current/recent laboratory funding/grants

Harry has an academic interest in drug safety, and his successful grant proposals have thus far received £869,960. He has received grant funding from the British Heart Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, the BBSRC, Pfizer, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Teaching

Teaching focus

Physiology (cardiovascular, ECG, arrhythmogenesis, neuroscience, ions and action potentials)

Teaching responsibilities

  • Module Leader for Heart, Lungs and Blood
  • Deputy Phase 1 Leader (Years 1 & 2)

At BSMS Harry has an extensive teaching and administration load; he serves as Intercalation Lead, he is the Module Leader for Module 103 (Heart Lungs and Blood), previous to that he was the Module Leader for Module 202 (Neuroscience and Behaviour) from 2009-2011, and he has been the Discipline Leader in Physiology from 2008 to the present. As a module leader, he manages ~50 instructors contributing to ~80 learning sessions, he leads an annual Module Review process, and he manages the assembly of a wide range of assessments for students that are standard set by expert committees and must meet the national standards of the General Medical Council. He teaches over 60 hours of structured contact per year in divergent subjects including cardiac, vascular, respiratory, neuroscience, gastrointestinal, blood, skeletal muscle, bone and general physiology. 

Selected publications

Subhani BR, Amos-Oluwole OI, Claxton HL, Holmes DC, Westling CEI, Witchel HJ (2019).  Compliant activity rather than difficulty accelerates thought probe responsiveness and inhibits deliberate mind wandering. Behaviour and Information Technology, in press.        

Witchel HJ, Westling CEI (2019).  A Manifesto for Cognitive Ergonomics: Re-evaluating technology usability for the 21st century.  ECCE 2019 Proceedings of the 37th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics. Position paper. 

Söderström U, Li S, Claxton HL, Holmes DC, Ranji TT, Santos CP, Westling CEI, Witchel HJ (2019).  Toward emotional recognition during HCI using marker-based automated video tracking. ECCE 2019 Proceedings of the 37th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics. doi: 10.1145/3335082.3335103 

Amos-Oluwole OI, Subhani BR, Claxton HL, Holmes DC, Westling CEI, Witchel HJ (2019).  Compliant activity inhibits deliberate mind wandering and accelerates thought probe responsiveness compared to compliant inactivity.  ECCE 2019 Proceedings of the 37th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics.  doi: 10.1145/3335082.3335115

Witchel HJ, Westling CEI, Tee J, Ranji TT, Needham R, Healey A, Santos CP, Ackah KJ, Chalkley J, and Chockalingam N (2019). Can fidgeting be used to measure student engagement in online learning tasks?  Research Matters: Proceedings of Enhancing Higher Education through Research (University of Brighton).pp. 39-48.  https://staff.brighton.ac.uk/clt/Pages/Research/publications.aspx. Review

Witchel HJ, Guppy JH, Smith C (2018).  The Self-Assessment Dilemma: an open-source, ethical method using Matlab to formulate multiple choice quiz questions for online reinforcement. Advances in Physiology Education, 42(4), 697-703.

Witchel HJ, Oberndorfer C, Needham R, Healy A, Westling CEI, Guppy JH, Bush J, Barth J, Herberz C, Roggen D, Eskofier BM, Rashid W, Chockalingam N and Klucken J (2018).  Thigh-Derived Inertial Sensor Metrics to Assess the Sit-to-Stand and Stand-to-Sit Transitions in the Timed Up and Go (TUG) Task for Quantifying Mobility Impairment in Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in Neurology.  9:684.  doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00684

Witchel HJ, Claxton HL, Holmes DC, Ranji T, Chalkley JD, Santos CP, Westling CEI, Valstar MF, Celuszak M, Fagan P (2018). A trigger-substrate model for smiling during an automated formative self-assessment quiz: engagement is the substrate, not frustration.  ECCE 2018 Proceedings of the 36th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics. doi: 10.1145/3232078.3232084

Witchel HJ, Needham R, Healy A, Guppy JH, Bush J, Oberndorfer C, Herberz C, Westling CEI, Kim D, Roggen D, Barth J, Eskofier B, Rashid W, Chockalingam N and Klucken J. (2017).  Using Wearable Inertial Sensors to Compare Different Versions of the Dual Task Paradigm during Walking. ECCE 2017 Proceedings of the 35th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, pp. 150-157. doi: 10.1145/3121283.3121285

Chalkley J, Ranji TT, Westling CEI, Chockalingam N, Witchel HJ (2017).  Wearable sensor metric: screen engagement rather than interest causes NIMI of wrist fidgeting more than ankles.  ECCE 2017 Proceedings of the 35th European Conference on Cognitive Ergonomics, pp. 158-161. doi: 10.1145/3121283.3121290.

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