Dr Melanie Burke


I graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Physiology before gaining my PhD from the University of Manchester on Visual Neurophysiology. From there I continued my interest in vision and the brain by investigating optical imaging with Dr Niall McLoughlin before accepting a research fellow position with Professor Graham Barnes in the Sensorimotor Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Manchester. In 2007 I accepted a lectureship position at the University of Leeds in the School of Psychology (SoP) and has established my own Brain and Behaviour laboratory capable of simultaneous brain recordings using functional Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy (fNIRS, Artinis Medical Ltd), brain stimulation using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS, Magstim Ltd), and recording of eye (EyeLink 1000 Hz, SR Research) and hand movements. In 2014 I was promoted to Associate Professor within the SoP. 

I am the Grand Challenge Lead of the Successful Ageing group in the SoP, a member of the Cognitive Neuroscience (CoNi) Research Group, and the Perception, Action and Cognition Lab (PACLab) group.

Burke, M.R. Croucher, A. (2019) Wellcome Trust Summer Studentship (£2000)

Burke, M.R. Coats R.C. Delvenne J-F (2017-2018) Equipment grant: Can targeted interventions, designed to delay cognitive decline, really change brain dynamics? (£68.249,23)  

Burke, M.R. Ozer, S. Bunce, D. and Young J. (2015-2016) Applications of successful screening tools in Mild Cognitive Impairment. Donation in memory of Mr Walter Rogers (£5,000).

Delvenne, J. Burke M.R. Bunce D. (2014 - 2015) Inter-hemisphere transfer times in mild cognitive impairment. Alzheimer's Research U.K. (£68,195)

Burke, M.R. (2009) Differences in active versus passive short-term memory acquisition for smooth pursuit eye movements revealed by event-related fMRI. Brain Travel Grant.

Wilkie, R.M., Mon-Williams, M., Burke, M.R., Bhakta, Levesley, Walsh. (2009) Designing Home-based Rehabilitation Equipment. Integrated Products Manufacturing KTN, SPARK Award.

Wilkie, R.M., Mon-Williams, M., Burke, M.R., Bhakta, Levesley, Walsh. (2009-2012) Improving motor learning using DC-stimulation: augmenting rehabilitation for stroke survivors. MRC CASE Award.

Burke, M.R., Wilkie, R.M. (Nov 2008 - Mar 2009) Developing Research Skills in the Faculty of Medicine and Health using Research-Led Teaching Funds. Teaching Quality Enhancement Fund.



Vision Sciences Society (VSS) Naples, Florida, USA. The role of rSMG in volitional eye movements. Burke et al. 10th to 15th May 2013

British Neuroscience Association, London, UK. Poster presentations:

Sequence Learning in Pursuit and Saccades: A comparative fMRI study, Gonzalez and Burke (2013)

Cortical Network for Sequence Learning during Eye and Hand Coordination, Gonzalez and Burke 7th-10th April 2013.

AVA meeting, York, UK. Eye and hand movements during reconstruction of spatial memory.  Burke et al., 2011.

Organizer and Host for the 22nd British Ocular Motor Group Meeting (BOMG) at the Institute of Psychological Sciences, University of Leeds. U.K. 10th December 2010.

Organizer and speaker during the Festschrift in honour of Prof Graham Barnes at the University of Manchester (UK) on the 9th December 2010.

Design with Vision (Open University), Milton Keynes. Keynote invited speaker: “Keeping your eye on the ball: linking eye movements and cognition”: 8th June 2010.

Yorkshire Vision Network (YVN), Invited speaker. 21st April 2010.\n \n University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Invited speaker, 2009.

University of Hull (Dr Igor Schindler), Departmental Research Seminar: 5th November 2009.

European Conference on Eye Movements (ECEM): Southampton, invited to give a plenary session talk on smooth pursuit: August 2009.


  • Director of Post-Graduate Research Studies

Research interests

My principal interests lie in changes in cognitive and visuomotor processing across the lifespan. I am interested in both typically developing individuals and those with a pathological development or ageing disorders. I use a variety of technology to explore cognitive and behavioural responses that include eye-trackers, touch-screen monitors and joysticks. I monitor behaviour alongside more neurophysiological measures to explore the brain processes behind these responses and these include:

  • functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
  • functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • Electroencephalography (EEG)
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) techniques
  • Eye movements and motor control
  • Cogntive processing in the brain and changes during ageing

The combination of these methods helps to identify causal relationships between brain areas and function.

In summary, my research looks at activity in the brain during eye and hand movements to a range of cognitive tasks. I am interested in the brain areas involved memory and motor control during coordination throughout the lifespan and how these neural mechanisms change with healthy and abnormal ageing.


  • BSc (Hons) in Applied Physiology
  • PhD in Visual Neurophysiology
  • Fellow of the HEA (PGCAP certificate)

Professional memberships

  • Manager and creator of the Visuomotor Laboratory at IPS
  • Member of the British Neuroscience Association (BNA)
  • Founding member of the Yorkshire Vision Network (YVN)
  • Perception-Action-Control laboratory
  • Member of the British Ocular Motor Group (BOMG)
  • Member of the Active Vision Association (AVA) 

Student education

My teaching in the SoP is centred around my areas of expertise. Early in the course I contribute to teaching students about vision and the brain and provide details for the neural pathways involved in visual processing.

I also teach Cognitive Neuroscience and more specifically focus on the brain areas needed to attend, decide and remember information. I have a specialized module at level 3 which looks at advanced techniques in neuropsychology. This module teaches students about brain imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonnance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG), alongside some intervention methods of brain stimulation such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).



Research groups and institutes

  • Academic Unit for Ageing and Stroke Research
  • Perception, action, cognition
  • Successful ageing
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>