Principal Investigator

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. She is Deputy Director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and leader of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group. Her group's research focuses on the development of social cognition and decision making in the adolescent brain.

Sarah-Jayne studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University (1993-1996) and then did her PhD (1996-2000) at the UCL Functional Imaging Lab with Chris Frith and Daniel Wolpert, investigating the self-monitoring in schizophrenia. She then took up a Wellcome Trust International Research Fellowship (2001-2003) to work in Lyon, France, on the perception of causality. 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. Sarah-Jayne 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 and the Klaus J Jacobs Prize 2015.

Sarah-Jayne's publications have had over 20500 citations (h-index 66; Google Scholar). 

Sarah-Jayne is actively involved in public engagement with science activities and has an interest in the links between neuroscience and education. She co-authored a book with Professor Uta Frith called The Learning Brain: Lessons for Education. She sat on the Royal Society BrainWaves working group for neuroscience, education and lifelong learning and the Royal Society Vision Committee for Science and Mathematics Education. She was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 programme The Life Scientific.  She worked with the Islington Community Theatre on their amazing play, Brainstorm, written and performed by teenagers, which was shown at the National Theatre in London.

Sarah-Jayne is Deputy Director of the Wellcome Trust Four Year PhD Programme in Neuroscience at UCL, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and a member of the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group for Cognitive Neuroscience and Mental Health.


Twitter: @sjblakemore

Post-Doctoral Research Fellows

Dr Lisa Knoll

During her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, Dr Lisa Knoll's research focus was on the underlying brain mechanisms and structures involved in syntactic processes in the developing brain of preschool children. She is investigating decision making and peer influence in adolescence.


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 diseases' symptoms (computational psychiatry). Dr Palminteri’s research was highly interdisciplinary and involved fMRI, behavioural testing of neurologic (Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases, Tourette's syndrome, brain tumours) or psychiatric (Obsessive-compulsive disorder) subjects, and computational modelling.

Thanks to a Marie Curie Fellowship, in 2014 Stefano Palminteri joins the Blakemore’s Lab, in order to explore 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. In Sarah-Jayne Blakemore’s lab, Lucy 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

PhD students


Emma Kilford

Emma Jayne Kilford studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, during which she spent time working under the supervision of Professor Emily Holmes, investigating the role of cognitive processing in intrusive memory development. Emma is currently on the UCL four-year PhD Programme in Mental Health, under the supervision of Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. She is investigating the development of social-affective information processing and cognitive control, and how they are associated with the development of social anxiety in adolescence.

Delia Fuhrmann

Delia Fuhrmann studied Psychology, Biology and Divinity at the University of St Andrews. Her PhD with Prof. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr. Maarten Speekenbrink is focused on plasticity and experience-dependent changes in adolescent development. Delia is a fellow of the Cusanuswerk and a statistics demonstrator at the Division of Psychology and Language Science at UCL.


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 CBU, investigating the use of mental imagery for behavioural activation. He has previously worked as a summer Research Assistant at Stanford University’s Mood and Anxiety Disorders Laboratory and at The Centre for Family Research, in Cambridge. 

Jack is currently on the four-year MRC Doctoral Training Programme in Neuroscience and Mental Health at UCL and is completing a rotation project in the Blakemore lab exploring the effects of Mindfulness on cognitive biases in adolescents.


Research Assistants

Jovita Leung

Jovita completed her master’s degree in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at UCL and has a particular interest in the mental health and wellbeing in adolescents. She previously worked in the Psychological Medicine Team at Great Ormond Street Hospital and at the Institute for Child Health, UCL. Currently, she is working as a research assistant on the MYRIAD project and other adolescent development projects with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.


Cait Griffin

Cait completed her MSc in Human Cognitive Neuropsychology at The University of Edinburgh, during which time her research focused on emotional development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.  She has previously worked as an assistant psychologist in The Rutland Centre, Dublin.

At UCL, Cait is currently working as a research assistant on the MYRIAD project. This project will assess whether mindfulness training for teenagers has the potential to improve their resilience and overall mental health.

Affiliated Lab Members

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 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 here in the Developmental Group at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL. The main topic of her 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. Iroise was awarded the BPS Spearman Medal 2015 for her early career research. 

Dr Kate Mills

Dr Kate Mills is a postdoc in the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab at University of Oregon, working with Jenn Pfeifer and Nick Allen. Her current work focuses on examining longitudinal brain development in relation to mental health and social cognition in adolescent girls. 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. Kate was awarded the British Neuroscience Association Graduate Prize 2015 for her PhD research.

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. He 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.

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

Some of the Blakemore Lab at SfN, New Orleans, 2012

Lab Alumni

Ashok Sakhardande, Research Assistant 2013-2016.

Dr Emily Garrett, Research Assistant, currently Junior Doctor at UCL, London, UK.

Caroline Casey, Wellcome Trust PhD project rotation 2015, currently PhD student in UCL, London, UK.

Fabian Stamp, MSc student 2014-2015.

Dr Hauke Hillebrandt, PhD 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

Dr Kate Mills, UCL-NIMH PhD student 2011-2015, currently working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Fair Neuroimaging Lab in Portland, 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 in Germany.

Dr Lara Menzies. Academic Clinical Fellow 2013-2014; currently working as a paediatrician in the NHS.

Elina Jacobs, Wellcome Trust PhD rotation student 2014.

Lucía Magis-Weinberg, MSc student 2012-2013; currently doing a PhD with Iroise Dumontheil and Rudd Custers, UCL, UK.

Dr Iroise Dumontheil, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the lab from 2007 to 2012, currently reader at Birkbeck College, London, UK. Iroise was awarded the BPS Spearman Medal 2015 for her early career research. 

Alex Moscicki, MSc student 2011-2012; currently at Med School in the USA. Winner of the Tim Shallice Prize for his MSc project.

Sarah Jensen, Masters student 2011-2012; currently doing a PhD with Ted Barker and Iroise Dumontheil at IoP/Birkbeck, London, UK  

Narges Bazarganiresearch assistant 2010-2012; currently on the UCL Wellcome PhD programme in Neuroscience, UK   

Dr Kathrin Cohen Kadosh, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 2010-2012, currently Research Fellow in Oxford, UK.  

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

Dr Jennifer CookWellcome Trust PhD student 2008-2011, currently Research Fellow at Birmingham University. Jen was awarded the Experimental Psychology Society Frith Prize 2012 for her PhD research.

Marion Rouault, Intern student 2010, currently post-doc at the UCL Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging, UK.

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

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

Rachael Houlton, Wellcome Trust PhD project rotation 2009, currently PhD student in UCL, London, UK.

Rachel Swain, Wellcome Trust summer student 2008; Natural Sciences graduate, Cambridge, UK.

Ana Seara Cardoso, Intern student 2008; PhD student in Essi Viding's lab in UCL Department of Psychology, UK.

Ben de Haas, Intern student 2009; Wellcome Trust PhD student at UCL, UK.

Bano Hassan, MSc student 2008; Research Assistant ICH, UCL, UK.

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

Isobel Pastor-Bristow, Wellcome Trust summer student 2004; Civil Service Fast Track, UK

Susana Calo, Intern student 2004; PhD student at ICH, UCL    

Teresa Tavassoli, Intern student 2004; PhD student at Autism Research Centre, Cambridge

Dr Niall Boyce, Medical Elective student 2004; Senior Editor of the Lancet, UK.

Dr Hanneke den Ouden, Erasmus Intern student 2004; post-doc at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Dr Suparna Choudhury, MRC PhD student 2003-2006; Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin

Dr Emily Jacobs, Intern student 2003; Research Fellow at Harvard, USA

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

Eduard Klapwijk, Intern student from Leiden University, 2010, currently doing a PhD in Leiden University, NL

James Song, MSc Neuroscience student 2009