Principal Investigator

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore PhD FRSB FBA

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. She holds Honorary Professorships at UCL, London, UK and at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her group's research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the human adolescent brain, and adolescent mental health. Her group runs behavioural studies in schools and in the lab, as well as neuroimaging studies, with adolescents and adults.

Professor Blakemore studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University (1993-1996) and then did her PhD (1996-2000) at the UCL Functional Imaging Lab with Professors Chris Frith and Daniel Wolpert, investigating the self processing in schizophrenia. She then took up a Wellcome Trust International Research Fellowship (2001-2003) to work in Lyon, France, on social cognition in schizophrenia. This was followed by a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship (2004-2007) and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (2007-2016) at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. She was a Group Leader at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience until 2019, when she took up a Chair in Psychology at Cambridge.

Professor Blakemore's publications can be found on Google Scholar.

Professor Blakemore is actively involved in public engagement with science activities, particularly in relation to neuroscience and education. She co-authored a book with Professor Uta Frith called The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education. She was a member of the Royal Society BrainWaves working group for neuroscience, education and lifelong learning, the Royal Society Vision Committee for Science and Mathematics Education, and the Royal Society Public Engagement Committee. She was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Life Scientific. Other recent public engagement activities include a play, Brainstorm, written and performed by teenagers and shown at the National Theatre in London, and a TED talk at TEDGlobal 2012. Her first solo book, Inventing Ourselves: the secret life of the teenage brain, was published in 2018 and was awarded the Royal Society Book Prize 2018.

Professor Blakemore is Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Four Year PhD Programme in Neuroscience at UCL, and Chairs the Royal Society of Biology Education and Science Policy Committee. She was Founding Editor-in-Chief of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience from 2009 until 2019.

Professor Blakemore was awarded the British Psychological Society Doctoral Award 2001, the BPS Spearman Medal for outstanding early career research 2006, the Annual Lecturer Award 2011 by the Swedish Neuropsychology Society, the Young Mind & Brain Prize 2013, the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award 2013, the Klaus J Jacobs Prize 2015 and the BPS Presidents' Award 2018. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.


Twitter: @sjblakemore

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

Dr Saz Ahmed

Dr Saz Ahmed completed her PhD in Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, during which she focussed on the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying implicit and explicit emotion regulation across adults and adolescents, and how they vary with aggression. Dr Ahmed is working as a postdoctoral research associate on the MYRIAD project. This is a Wellcome Trust-funded project assessing the feasibility of teaching mindfulness in schools, and the ways in which mindfulness might promote mental health and resilience in adolescents. For more information about this project, please visit

Dr Gabriele Chierchia

Dr Gabriele Chierchia’s research focuses on the neural and cognitive bases of social decision making. Throughout his PhD (with Prof Coricelli at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences of Trento) and his post-doctoral research (with Prof. Tania Singer at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences), Dr Chierchia ’s work takes a multi-disciplinary approach to decision making, by integrating insights and methodologies from behavioural economics, social psychology and cognitive/affective neuroscience.


Independent Research Fellows

Dr Susanne Schweizer

Dr Susanne Schweizer is a Sir Henry Wellcome fellow investigating the development of affect regulatory processes in adolescence. She is particularly interested in exploring the role they play in the onset and maintenance of mental health problems across the lifespan. Before joining the Blakemore Lab, Dr Schweizer earned an MSc from the University of Maastricht, spent time at the late Professor Nolen-Hoeksema Depression and Cognition Program at Yale University and then was awarded a Gates Scholarship to complete her PhD at the University of Cambridge. After her PhD she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, where she was a member of Dr Tim Dalgleish's Cognition, Emotion and Mental Health Programme.


PhD students

Jack Andrews

Jack studied Psychological and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, completing his final year research project within Professor Emily Holmes’s group at the MRC Cognition and Brain Science Unit. He has also previously worked as a summer Research Assistant at Stanford University’s Mood and Anxiety Disorders Laboratory. Jack is currently on the UCL Four-Year MRC PhD Programme in Neuroscience and Mental Health under the supervision of Professor Blakemore. His research focuses on adolescent social cognition and its relationship with social group dynamics and emotion. Jack was awarded the UCL PALS Sully Scholarship for his PhD upgrade.


Jessica Bone

Jess studied Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, completing her final year research project under the supervision of Professor Kia Nobre and Dr Susannah Murphy. Following this, Jess completed an MSc in Clinical Mental Health Sciences at UCL. Here she worked with Professor Glyn Lewis and Dr Gemma Lewis to investigate longitudinal associations between emotional facial expression recognition and depressive symptom severity. Jess currently has an ESRC PhD studentship and is supervised by Professors Glyn Lewis, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Jon Roiser, and Dr Gemma Lewis. Her research focuses on the role of learning about social approval and disapproval in adolescent depression.


Jovita Leung

Jovita studied her MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at UCL. She was the Research Assistant in the Blakemore Lab and has previously worked as an Assistant Psychologist at the Psychological Medicine Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Jovita is currently on the ICN PhD programme in Cognitive Neuroscience under the supervision of Professor Blakemore. Her research focuses on the development of affective cognitive control, emotion regulation and their relationships with mental wellbeing during adolescence. Jovita also works on the MYRIAD project, a collaboration with University of Cambridge and University of Oxford investigating the impact of mindfulness training on resilience and mental wellbeing. For more information about the project, please visit


Madeleine Moses-Payne

Maddy studied Experimental Psychology at UCL before working as a research assistant under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Roiser. This sparked her interest in metacognition (thinking about one’s own thinking) and depression. Maddy is now funded by the UCL Four-Year MRC PhD Programme in Neuroscience and Mental Health. Her research focuses on the cognitive mechanisms underlying the development of a self-concept during adolescence, self-conscious emotions (shame and pride) and risk for depression.



Blanca Piera Pi-Sunyer

Blanca completed her MRes in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, where she developed her research project under the supervision of Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr Gabriele Chierchia. Specifically, Blanca assisted with a study that assessed social influence in adolescence and its effect on prosocial behavior. Blanca is currently working as a research assistant for the lab. Her tasks include several administrative functions as well as assisting with the execution of different research projects from the lab.

Affiliated Lab Members and Collaborators

Dr Emma Kilford

Dr Emma Kilford carried out her PhD at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience under the supervision of Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr Vaughan Bell. Her PhD research examined the development of cognitive control and its integration with social cognitive and motivational-affective processing during adolescence, using a combination of genetic, cognitive and computational research techniques. After her PhD, Dr Kilford worked as a postdoctoral research associate on the project '”Developing a scalable treatment for depression in rural South Africa', funded by a GCRF Global Impact Acceleration Award, a project she remains actively involved in. Dr Kilford is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the UCL Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology working on a translational research project titled “Treating depression with self-compassion in virtual reality”, funded by a NIHR i4i Mental Health Challenge Award.


Twitter: @ejkilford

Dr Anne-Lise Goddings

Dr Anne-Lise Goddings is a Postdoctoral Clinical Training fellow at the UCL Institute of Child Health. After completing her medical training at Cambridge University and UCL, Dr Goddings has undertaken her paediatric clinical training in London alongside pursuing her research interests in Adolescent Health and Development. In 2015, she completed her PhD at UCL focusing on the role of puberty in adolescent brain development, supervised by Professor Russell Viner at the UCL Institute of Child Health and Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr Goddings was awarded the 2016 British Psychology Society Doctoral Award for her PhD research. Dr Goddings currently collaborates with leading groups around the world analysing longitudinal datasets of adolescent neurodevelopment and relate structural and functional MRI changes in the brain to changes in behaviour over this time. She continues to work as a practicing clinician in Central London alongside conducting her research.

Dr Iroise Dumontheil

Dr Iroise Dumontheil is since Oct 2012 a Reader in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck, University of London. She previously spent time as a postdoc in the labs of John Duncan at the MRC-CBU in Cambridge, Torkel Klingberg at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and in the Developmental Group at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL. The main topic of Dr Dumontheil's research is the development and adult function of social and executive functions associated with the rostral prefrontal cortex. To investigate this, she combines different methods: behavioural assessments, genetics, and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging. Dr Dumontheil was awarded the BPS Spearman Medal 2015 for her early career research.

Dr Kate Mills

Dr Kate Mills is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. Her current work examines the social, biological, and cognitive processes that underlie the development of skills needed to navigate the social environment. She was previously a graduate student in the Blakemore Lab as part of the NIMH-UCL joint doctoral program in neuroscience, and completed her PhD in 2015. Dr Mills was awarded the British Neuroscience Association Graduate Prize 2015 for her PhD research.


twitter: @drkatemills

Dr Maarten Speekenbrink

Dr Maarten Speekenbrink is a Lecturer in Mathematical Psychology at the Department of Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, University College London. His main research interests are in the areas of human learning and decision making. His work generally involves a combination of mathematical modelling and behavioural experiments. Dr Speekenbrink also has a strong interest in psychological methodology, including the application of mixed-effects and dynamic (state-space) models, Bayesian statistics, and optimal experimental design.


Dr Vaughan Bell

Dr Vaughan Bell is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in the Division of Psychiatry, Faculty of Brain Sciences, and is a Principal Clinical Psychologist in the Psychological Interventions Clinical for outpatients with psychosis at the Maudsley Hospital. His research focuses on the cognitive neuropsychiatry of psychosis, delusions and hallucinations.


Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen

Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen is a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow at the University of Cambridge where she investigates the cognitive and neurobiological effects of child maltreatment. Anne-Laura completed her PhD in December 2013 at Leiden University in the Netherlands under the supervision of Bernet Elzinga. After finishing her PhD she moved to Cambridge to work with Professor Ian Goodyer at the Department of Psychiatry. During this time, she was awarded a two year Rubicon Fellowship from the Netherlands Society for Scientific Research.


Dr Stefano Palminteri

During his PhD thesis at the Brain and Spine Institute (Paris) and his first post-doc at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) Dr Stefano Palminteri studied reinforcement learning and decision making. More precisely he focused on the description of the computational, neuro-anatomical and neuro-chemical bases underlying these processes in healthy subjects (basic neuroscience) and if and how an impairment in these processes could explain neuropsychiatric symptoms (computational psychiatry). Dr Palminteri’s research is highly interdisciplinary and involves fMRI, behavioural testing of neurological patients (Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, Tourette's syndrome, brain tumours) and psychiatric patients (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and computational modelling. Dr Palminteri worked as a Marie Curie Research Fellow in the Blakemore Lab from 2014-2017. He explored the development of reinforcement learning and decision-making during adolescence.


Dr Lucy Foulkes

Dr Lucy Foulkes completed her PhD in Mental Health at UCL, during which she focussed on individual differences in social reward processing and their association with clinical disorders. Dr Foulkes worked as a postdoctoral research associate on the MYRIAD project, a Wellcome-funded project assessing the ways in which mindfulness might promote mental health and resilience in adolescents. Dr Foulkes is now a lecturer at the University of York, UK.

The Blakemore Lab Christmas Party, December 2018

The Blakemore Lab Christmas Party, December 2017

The Blakemore Lab at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, January 2012

Lab Alumni

Cait Griffin, Research Assistant 2016-2019. Currently working as a UX Researcher.

Maximilian Scheuplein, MSc student 2017-2018. Currently a Research Assistant at the Developmental Neuroscience lab at University of Oxford.

Annie Gaule, MRC-DTP PhD rotation 2017. Currently PhD student at UCL.

Dr Lisa Knoll, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 2012-2017. Currently working in science data consultancy.

Dr Delia Furhmann, PhD student 2013-2017. Currently post-doctoral research fellow at MRC-CBU, Cambridge. Delia was awarded the British Neuroscience Association Graduate Prize 2018 for her PhD research.

Courtney Kwan, MSc student 2016-2017. Currently training in clinical psychology, USA.

Dr Stefano Palminteri, Marie Curie Research Fellow 2015-2017. Currently Researcher at Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France.

Hugo Fleming, Summer Intern 2016. Currently Wellcome PhD student at UCL,

Ashok Sakhardande, Research Assistant 2013-2016. Currently working in Australia.

Dr Emily Garrett, Research Assistant, 2013-2016. Currently Junior Doctor, London, UK.

Caroline Casey, Wellcome PhD project rotation 2015. Currently Wellcome PhD student at UCL

Fabian Stamp, MSc student 2014-2015. Currently PhD student in Germany.

Dr Hauke Hillebrandt, PhD student 2009-2014. Currently working at Giving What We Can, Oxford, UK.

Dr Anne-Lise Goddings, MRC Clinical Research PhD student 2011-2015. Currently working as a paediatrician in the NHS and a Clinical Research Fellow at the ICH, UCL. Anne-Lise was awarded the 2016 British Psychology Society Doctoral Award for her PhD research.

Dr Kate Mills, UCL-NIMH PhD student 2011-2015. Currently assistant professor at the University of Oregon, USA. Kate was awarded the British Neuroscience Association Graduate Prize 2015 for her PhD research.

Dr Laura Wolf, Wellcome Trust PhD student 2010-2015. Currently working as consultant in Germany.

Dr Lara Menzies. Academic Clinical Fellow 2013-2014. Currently working as a paediatrician in the NHS, UK.

Dr Elina Jacobs, Wellcome PhD rotation student 2014. Currently Wellcome postdoc at UCL.

Lucía Magis-Weinberg, MSc student 2012-2013. Currently postdoc at UCB, USA.

Dr Iroise Dumontheil, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 2007-2012. Currently Reader at Birkbeck College, London, UK. Iroise was awarded the BPS Spearman Medal 2015 for early career research.

Dr Alex Moscicki, MSc student 2011-2012. Winner of the Tim Shallice Prize for MSc project.

Dr Sarah Jensen, Masters student 2011-2012. Currently a postdoc in the lab of Prof. Charles Nelson at Harvard University.

Dr Narges Bazargani, research assistant, 2010-2012. Currently working in scientific patenting.

Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 2010-2012, currently Research Fellow in Oxford and Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey, UK.

Dr. Guillaume Barbalat, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 2000-2012, currently working as Psychiatrist in New Zealand.

Dr Jennifer Cook, Wellcome PhD student 2008-2011. Currently Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham. Jen was awarded the Experimental Psychology Society Frith Prize 2012 for her PhD research.

Dr Marion Rouault, Intern student 2010. Currently post-doctoral research associate at the UCL Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging, London, UK.

Dr Stephanie Burnett Heyes, Wellcome PhD student 2005-2009. Currently lecturer at the University of Birmingham, UK. Stephanie was awarded the British Neuroscience Association Graduate Prize 2010 for her PhD research.

Dr Catherine Sebastian, BBSRC PhD student 2006-2009. Currently Reader at Royal Holloway, London University. Cat was awarded the BPS Doctoral Award 2010 for her PhD research.

Dr Rachael Houlton, Wellcome PhD project rotation 2009.

Dr Rachel Swain, Wellcome summer student 2008.

Ana Seara Cardoso, Intern student 2008.

Dr Ben de Haas, Intern student 2009.

Bano Hassan, MSc student 2008.

Dr Stephanie Thompson, BBSRC PhD student 2004-2007. Currently working as an Consultant Psychologist, UK.

Isobel Pastor-Bristow, Wellcome summer student 2004. Currently working in the Civil Service, UK

Dr Susana Calo, Intern student 2004.

Dr Teresa Tavassoli, Intern student 2004.

Dr Niall Boyce, Medical Elective student 2004. Currently Editor of the Lancet Psychiatry, UK.

Dr Hanneke den Ouden, Erasmus Intern student 2004. Currently Assistant Professor at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.

Dr Suparna Choudhury, MRC PhD student 2003-2006. Currently Assistant Professor at the McGill University.

Dr Emily Jacobs, Intern student 2003. Currently Assistant Professor at UCSB, USA

Dr Leonora Weil, Paediatric Clinician researcher, 2010-2011. Currently working in public health, UK

Dr Eduard Klapwijk, Intern student from Leiden University, 2010. Currently post-doctoral researcher in the unit Developmental and Educational Psychology of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University.

James Song, MSc Neuroscience student 2009