Principal Investigator

Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore PhD FSB

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and 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 typically developing adolescent brain.

Sarah-Jayne studied Experimental Psychology at Oxford University (1993-1996) and then did her PhD (1996-2000) at the Functional Imaging Lab (FIL) 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, with Jean Decety on the perception of causality in the human brain. 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 and the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award 2013. 

Sarah-Jayne has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals. Her h-index (h papers cited at least h times) is 55; i10-index (number of papers cited 10+ times) is 90; her papers have had over 13,500 citations (Google Scholar). 

Sarah-Jayne is actively involved in Public Engagement with Science: she frequently gives public lectures and talks at schools, has worked with the Select Committee for Education, and acted as scientific consultant on the BBC series The Human Mind in 2003. Sarah-Jayne 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.

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

Sarah-Jayne was honoured to have her portrait sketched for the Royal Society exhibit on Women in Science in 2013. 

email: s.blakemore @

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. 



PhD students

Laura Wolf

Laura Wolf studied Biochemistry at the Technical University of Munich (Germany). She is a Wellcome Trust 4 year PhD student in Neuroscience at UCL. Her PhD focuses on risk taking and peer influence in adolescence, under the supervision of Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Iroise Dumontheil. 

Kate Mills

Kate Mills studied psychology at Portland State University, during which time she investigated brain connectivity changes across development under the supervision of Dr. Damien Fair at Oregon Health & Science University. Kate is currently on the UCL-NIMH four year Doctoral Training Programme in Neuroscience under the supervision of Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr Jay Giedd. She uses brain imaging methods to investigate typical developmental trajectories between childhood and adulthood, as well as behavioural experiments to investigate how we navigate the social environment in adolescence and adulthood.
twitter: @le_feufollet

Dr Anne-Lise Goddings

Dr Anne-Lise Goddings is a paediatrician who completed her undergraduate training at Cambridge University and UCL.  Since then, she has worked at a number of London hospitals and is a member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.  She is undertaking a PhD as part of an MRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship investigating the effects of puberty on adolescent cognitive brain development, supervised by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Professor Russell Viner at UCL.


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.


MSc Students

Fabian Stamp

Fabian Stamp studied Biological Sciences at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He is currently pursuing an MRes in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. In his research project he investigates whether the teenage years represent a sensitive period for learning abstract information. 

Research Assistants

Ashok Sakhardande

Ashok completed a BSc in Psychology at UCL, choosing to focus on topics including neuroscience, education and learning and memory. During this time he also worked on a number of university outreach and education projects. He is assisting the Blakemore lab on a number of studies including a new Educational Neuroscience project, investigating whether early adolescence represents a sensitive period for learning.

Emily Garrett   

Emily Garrett is a fourth year medical student at UCL, and has just completed an IBSc in the History of Medicine. She has particular interests in neuroscience and child health, and has assisted Dr Lisa Knoll and Lucia Magis-Weinberg in their project relating to risk perception in adolescents. She is now working on a project on the effects of puberty on brain structure and function with Dr Anne-Lise Goddings and Dr Lara Menzies.

Affiliated Lab Members

Dr Iroise Dumontheil

Dr Iroise Dumontheil is since Oct 2012 a Lecturer 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 (MRI).


Jo Evershed, CEO Cauldron Science

Jo Evershed has a background in psychological science and economics. She is responsible for the science and business aspect of Cauldron, and her personal area of interest is in developing evidence-based interventions for education, and in particular STEM education. Cauldron supports psychological scientists by offering specialist technical support and creating bespoke experimental platforms. Effective use of digital technology can support research in many ways, but in particular supports randomised controlled trials in front-line environments. Our ultimate goal is to support the transfer of research into front-line evidence-tested interventions that benefit society. For more information, and to see a demonstration of the experimental supermarket we created for the Behavioural Health Research Unit, visit:

Dr Jo Moss

Dr Jo Moss is a research fellow at the Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CNDD), University of Birmingham and an honorary senior research associate at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL.  Her main research interests include the study of behavioural phenotypes in genetic syndromes associated with intellectual disability, specifically understanding the nature and developmental trajectory of autism spectrum disorder and related characteristics in this population and broader aspects of sociability and social functioning in these groups.  She is an executive committee member of the Society for the Study of Behavioural Phenotypes and is Secretary to the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Committee for the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation UK and Ireland and Cornelia de Lange Syndrome World Federation.


 CNDD homepage:

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.

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

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

Lab Alumni

Dr Hauke Hillebrandt, PhD 2009-2014, currently working in Berlin, 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 a lecturer at Birkbeck College, London, UK

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 post-doc with Dr Jennifer Lau in Oxford, UK
Dr. Guillaume Barbalat, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 2000-2012, currently post-doc with Professor Paul Fletcher in Cambridge, UK
Dr Jennifer CookWellcome Trust PhD student 2008-2011, currently post-doc at Professor Barbara Sahakian's lab in Cambridge, UK

Dr Leonora Weil, Paediatric Clinician researcher, 2010-2011, currently working in London hospitals, UK

Eduard Klapwijk, Intern student from Leiden University, 2010, currently doing a PhD with Prof. Robert Vermeiren, Leiden University, NL

James Song, MSc Neuroscience student 2009

Marion Rouault, Intern student 2010, currently undergraduate at Ecole Normale Superieure, Lyon, France
Dr Stephanie Burnett Heyes, Wellcome Trust PhD student 2005-2009, currently British Academy Fellow, Oxford, UK. BNA Doctoral Award for her PhD.

Dr Catherine Sebastian, BBSRC PhD student 2006-2009; lecturer at Royal Holloway, London University. BPS Doctoral Award for her PhD.

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