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Abigail Fiske

Postdoctoral Researcher

  • Wadham College Senior Scholar (2022 - 2023)

Neural and cognitive development of executive functions across the first four years of life


My research focuses on understanding the development of early executive functions, particularly inhibitory control, and using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) to elucidate the neural correlates of inhibitory control in the first years of life.

In October 2023, I submitted my doctoral thesis "Inhibitory control development from infancy: Identifying neural correlates and mapping behavioural trajectories into early childhood", which was completed under the supervision of Dr Karla Holmboe (now at the University of Bristol) and Professor Gaia Scerif.  My DPhil was funded by the Medical Research Council, as part of the industrial collaborative awards in Science and Engineering (iCASE).

Reflecting the ongoing collaboration between the University of Oxford and Gowerlabs, in early 2023 I undertook an internship at Gowerlabs in order to contribute to the optimisation of their fNIRS system for the study of early childhood neurocognitive development. I now have a consultancy role with Gowerlabs where I offer scientific research support to their customers.

From October - December 2023, I undertook a research visit in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, where I have initiated a new and ongoing collaboration with Professor Lauren Emberson to work on functional connectivity analyses for infant fNIRS data. We aim for this project to be complete in Summer 2024.


I was awarded my BSc (Hons) Psychology from the University of Essex in 2015, where I also worked as a research assistant for Dr Holmboe. After graduating, I undertook a PGCE in Primary Education at Canterbury Christ Church University (2015/16) with Teach First which enabled me to embark on a 4 year career in teaching. My teaching experiences motivated me to pursue my curiosity for child development research, and so, whilst teaching part-time, I gained my MSc in Developmental Disorders from the University of Nottingham (2018/19). I completed my DPhil in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford (2019 - 2024) and am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford (2024).