Hey! My name is Alejandro and I like to make things. I also really like speaking with people, whether they be strangers, loved ones, old friends... anyone really. A great conversation is always welcome.
One thing that I have come to realise is that you never know what can come from a conversation. We are told that we live in a world distanced by only six degrees of separation, but oftentimes it seems even smaller and more connected.
Whether we listen to others' stories or share our own, it becomes clear how much in common we have with one another. This is why I built this site. All of the featured projects on this page are ones I am passionate about, and if you are too, please share with me your thoughts or ideas for collaboration. I would love to hear them! You never know what can come from a conversation.
January 29th, 2021
Over the Summer months, I worked with a fantastic team to set up and publish the UK's first undergraduate interdisciplinary peer-reviewed academic journal.
Interdisciplinary thinking allows us to combine subjects together in new and relevant ways to solve problems that can not be solved in any other way. To tackle the many problems we face today in the world, we need different disciplines working together to come up with innovative solutions that make an impact.
I am very pleased to announce that The 1451 Review is now live, freely accessible for anyone to read using this link.
13th November, 2020
Game plan, space, tactics, playing style, deception, attack, defence, concentration - they all are part of the many strategies employed to play the beautiful game. Football and Chess share more similarities with one another than may appear at face value. I designed a chess variant which bridges the strategic underpinnings of football and chess on one playing board to celebrate the beautiful game(s).
I really like designing chess variants, so I have started a blog series which explores the game in more detail, which is available here. I have also attached a PDF rulebook which comes with a printable board and peices.
Want to play the game online? Play on the interactive gameboard here.
November 3rd, 2020
While AI has been on the rise for much of the past decade, I think that the Covid19 pandemic has set the stage for its sudden explosion - and integration in many industries.
Looming recession? Cut costs with AI. Need to position your services for a digital environment? Optimise the experience with AI. Need to train models to predict the next global disaster? Train any and all datasets with AI.
While it won't be the answer to everything, I think it certainly will begin to shape the way in which we conduct research, and how governments will need to adopt a data-driven decision to drive their policymaking. I recently had an article published in the genei.io blog which explores exactly this.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is only just beginning to penetrate the workplace, prompting executives to rethink their corporate governance. Many of the tasks that make up today's jobs will be taken over by AI. Whether it is replacing workers with computer-controlled processes or machines being able to make complex decisions and perform tasks normally reserved for people like artificial intelligence, the way work is done is changing.
October 27th, 2020
Since March, most of the world has enacted travel restrictions on tourists across the world due to the lingering risk of Covid-19. I love to travel and find myself longing to travel again. Like many, I can't do much though due to these seemingly ubiquitous restrictions.
I decided to start something new which could help keep the urge to travel in check (at least temporarily). I started a blog on this site called Worldwide Fictional Travel. The idea is to
travel across the world, though on the page. Each fictional book is located in a different part of the world, which are all marked on this map.
September 21st, 2020
What if we treated learning about mental health in the same way we treat learning new languages? I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity this year to give a TEDx talk on something which is very dear to me. In the talk, I speak about how language is an essential part of mental health education and promotion of well-being.
If you're also keen to engage in meaningful conversations about mental health, it would mean a lot to me if you checked it out.
September 9th, 2020
Sleep and mental health share a close association, with sleep disturbances appearing to be highly prevalent across all stages of Bipolar Disorder.
I recently have had a study I co-authored published with a research team in Milan which reviews electroencephalography (EEG) studies in Bipolar Disorder, considering sleep architecture and microstructural oscillatory activity. I have copied the reference below.
Zangani, C., Casetta, C., Saunders, A. S., Donati, F., Maggioni, E., & D’Agostino, A. (2020). Sleep abnormalities across different clinical stages of Bipolar Disorder: A review of EEG studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
Total sleep time and Sleep latency are impaired in all stages of Bipolar Disorder. * Increased REM density may precede the onset of the disease. * Microarchitecture is a poorly studied, especially sleep spindles. * Psychotic versus non-psychotic subjects and within-subject analyses are required. Sleep disturbances are highly prevalent across all stages of Bipolar Disorder.
August 1st, 2020
I am super grateful to have been able to help out as the dramaturg on the production of pillowtalk, an Instagram-based play developed by Live Witness Theatre. Live Witness Theatre are doing tremendous work in Scottish Theatre, embracing the use of technology to create very innovative plays with bright ideas. Their website can be found at livewitnesstheatre.com.
The piece follows three couples navigating shared spaces in isolation, revealing their intimate conversations and private shared moments. pillowtalk utilized the new world of online performance and included podcasts, playlists, articles, handwritten letters, excerpts from films, novels, and poetry to create a fully immersive experience for our audiences.
May 4th, 2020
Earlier this year I had a research paper published which investigated the effectiveness of a minimally intrusive 3-minute mindfulness intervention on changes to levels of State Anxiety in university students. The original manuscript is available for download here.
I was invited to the Let’s Talk About X 2020 student conference to give a talk on the research, which summarises the main goals and takeaways of the study. The conclusion? It seems as if students did show significant decreases in levels of State Anxiety following the three-minute intervention. Personality factors did not seem to moderate the extent of these changes, and more research is needed to validate the effectiveness of similar audio-based mindfulness meditations.
April 4th, 2020
Covid-19 has forced many people into lockdown. During this time, I have noticed that many people have taken pride in their home cooking, and have experimented with novel dishes. At the same time, many remain isolated, so I planned to bridge the two together.
I built a Twitter bot which tweets out two cooking challenges a day. It pulls from a database of ingredients which anyone is free to add to. It randomly selects one set of ingredients and challenges its followers to cook a dish using them. Followers are encouraged to share photos with each other to bring chefs together in this time of isolation.
October 4th, 2019
University students face a vast array of stressors which impact their academic performance. State Anxiety has been associated with lower overall test performance in student populations. To investigate how we may be able to reduce such State Anxiety with a minimally intrusive intervention, I conducted a study where university students measured their State Anxiety before and after engaging with a 3-minute mindfulness intervention.
I feel fortunate to have had this piece of research published by [X]position, a multidisciplinary academic journal. The full manuscript is open for access and available for download here.
Alejandro Serrano Saunders - Investigating the Effects of Mindfulness on the Change of State Anxiety Levels in Students, and the Moderating Effects of Personality Traits
University exposes students to many stressors, where anxiety can affect academic performance. State anxiety(SA), a real-time fluid change in emotion prompted by perceived physiological arousal, has been associated with lower overall test performance in student populations. SA has been suggested to correlate with personality traits, with specific coping styles which target anxiety sharing a strong relationship with situation specific coping responses.
August 28th, 2019
I've recently gotten into building Twitter bots. This one, in particular, is automated to tweet out two riddles per day from a database of 4000 riddles which I compiled. Tweet back if you have any answers!
🦆🦆It occurs once in every minute. Twice in every moment and yet never in one hundred thousand years.— DuckDuckGuess (@DuckGuessRiddle) July 26, 2020
August 15th, 2019
Alongside the Psychiatry team at the Ospedale San Paolo in Milan, we organised a painting session for inpatients as part of Lundbeck’s People In Mind art competition. The competition seeks to empower artists to share what their mental health means to them through artistic expression. Our approach sought to give patients a wide array of art supplies to choose from to help express themselves on a canvas.
In this summary, I explain how the artistic expression of the patients helped break down stigmas and challenged the issue of labelling patients with mental ailments.
October 4th, 2014
Textbooks and revision guides can be long and cumbersome sometimes. I have made a series of bite-size revision videos on YouTube which help teach key concepts within A Level subject courses. Psychology, Economics, Geography, French and Spanish all feature; alongside some other subjects too.
For more information on the A Level Revision website, it can be found through this link.