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 25800 citations (h-index 74; 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. She gave a TED talk at TEDGlobal 2012. Her second book, Inventing Ourselves: the secret life of the teenage brain, was published by Doubleday in March 2018.

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, a member of the Royal Society Public Engagement CommitteeChair-elect of the Royal Society of Biology Education and Science Policy Committee. and was a member of the Wellcome Trust Expert Review Group for Cognitive Neuroscience and Mental Health.


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. In the Blakemore Lab, Saz 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 she 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


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.


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 Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. His research focuses on adolescent social cognition and its relationship with social group dynamics and emotion.


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.


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. Jovita will be starting her PhD with Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore in September 2018. 


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.


Masters Students

Maximilian Scheuplein

Maximilian completed his bachelor´s degree in Psychology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University in Frankfurt where he worked with Dr. Dejan Draschkow and Professor Melissa Võ in unraveling the effect of visual search and scene grammar violation on memory performance using virtual reality. During his time in Frankfurt he worked as a Research Assistant in Professor Melissa Võ´s Scene Grammar Lab.
Currently, Maximilian is a student in the MSc Cognitive Neuroscience programme at UCL. In the Blakemore Lab he hopes to gain more knowledge about identity development during childhood and adolescence. Under the supervision of Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr. Lucy Foulkes his research project will focus on perspective taking in relationship with the sense of self in adolescent development.


Affiliated Lab Members and Collaborators

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 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 will start as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon in Fall 2018. 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. Kate 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. 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.


Dr Stefano 

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. 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

The Blakemore Lab Christmas Party, December 2017

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

Lab Alumni

Annie Gaule, MRC PhD roatation 2016. Currently PhD student at UCL.

Dr Lisa Knoll, post-doc research fellow 2012-2017.

Dr Delia Furhmann, PhD student 2013-2017. Currently post-doctoral research fellow at MRC-CBU, Cambridge.

Courtney KwanMSc student 2016-2017.

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

Hugo Fleming, Undergraduate Summer Intern 2016, University of Oxford. Currently PhD student at UCL, 

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 at UCL

Fabian Stamp, MSc student 2014-2015.

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 working as a postdoctoral fellow in 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 PhD student supervised by Iroise Dumontheil and Rudd Custers at UCL.

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. 

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

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

Dr Narges Bazarganiresearch assistant, 2010-2012.  

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. Jen was awarded the Experimental Psychology Society Frith Prize 2012 for her PhD research. Currently Research Fellow at Birmingham University. 

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

Dr Stephanie Burnett Heyes, Wellcome Trust PhD student 2005-2009. Currently lecturer at Birmingham University, UK. 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 at UCL

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 at UCL.

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

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

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

Isobel Pastor-Bristow, Wellcome Trust summer student 2004; currently working in the Civil Service, UK

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

Dr Teresa Tavassoli, Intern student 2004; PhD student at Autism Research Centre, Cambridge. Research Associate at UCL Centre for Research in Autism and Education.

Dr Niall Boyce, Medical Elective student 2004; 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

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