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NikoLAUS Steinbeis

I obtained my PhD in 2008 from the University of Leipzig. I then joined the University of Zurich as a postdoc before moving to the Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences as a Senior Researcher in 2010 and a group leader in 2014. After research visits to the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute I became Assistant Professor in the Department of Developmental Psychology in 2016 at the University of Leiden. In September 2017 I joined the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at UCL as a Principal Research Fellow. My work is funded by the Jacobs Foundation and the European Research Council.


Abigail thompson

I'm a post-doctoral research associate in the DCP Lab. Prior to joining I completed a PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. My PhD focused on frontal lobe white matter development in autistic children and adults, using diffusion MRI tractography. I then joined Autistica, the UK’s autism research charity, where I was involved in the implementation of the UK’s first national autism research network, Discover. A key part of my role was developing Autistica’s ‘involvement’ strategy, embedding the voices of autistic people at all levels of research. I am interested in both neurodiverse and neurotypical development, and have a particular interest in the frontal lobes. Email Abi, or see her Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate pages for more information.


Claire Smid

I joined the Developmental Change and Plasticity Lab in May 2018 as a PhD student. I previously worked as a Research Assistant at Birkbeck College on the Unlocke project. As an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Utrecht University, I conducted a research project looking into the influence of comorbidities in psychiatric disorders at the Autism Research Centre of Cambridge University and investigated stress hormones and resilience at the Utrecht University Medical Centre. I am highly interested in individual predictors of learning success, reinforcement learning and the malleability of decision-making in development. For more info, Email Claire or see her Twitter, LinkedIn or ResearchGate.


Keertana Ganesan

I joined the DCP Lab in September 2018 as a PhD candidate. Prior to joining the lab, I conducted research as an undergraduate student at the University of Oxford investigating the relationship between psychosis and social rejection. As an MSc student at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, I examined how social and individual factors may promote mental health resilience amongst bullied individuals. I am interested in understanding mental health outcomes, attentional processes and motivation from a developmental perspective. See Keertana’s Twitter or LinkedIn for more info, or send her an Email.


Josh Spowage

I joined the lab in January 2018 as a Research Assistant. Prior to this I was a student at the University of York where I completed a BSc in Psychology, followed by an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience. During my time in York, I worked on projects covering a wide range of topics, including: perception of within-person face variability, the neural underpinnings of mental imagery, and the effects of attentional load on hearing.



My primary interest lies in brain plasticity, how it transforms across the lifespan and potentially utilizing plasticity to improve recovery post-injury.  My previous work includes projects in molecular and cellular biology investigating autophagy and traumatic brain injury at the University of Birmingham. During my MSc at UCL, I investigated decision-making processes using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging). Prior to this I was awarded a BSc in Psychology at the University of Reading where I conducted research on reward learning and decision-making using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), fMRI and behavioral testing measures.


Harriet Phillips

I started my role as a research assistant in the DCP lab in September 2018 after graduating from the University of Bath with a BSc in Psychology. During the penultimate year of my undergraduate degree, I completed a placement year based at the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit. I worked on a project investigating how children with conduct problems and callous-unemotional traits process emotion, using both fMRI and behavioural measures. I am interested in whether the neural circuitry of the brain can be altered using psychological training and the impact this could have on behavioural control. I am also interested in psychopathy in terms of neural activity and how its development can be influenced by certain risk factors. 


Clara Teusen

I joined the Lab in April 2019 for a six-month internship funded by the Exposé-Stipend of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. My background is in Psychology - I did my BSc and MSc in Psychology at the University of Greifswald. For my MSc and BSc thesis I studied tinnitus and its relation to perceived stress and mental disorders using audiometric, tinnitus specific mental state, and self-reported symptom severity data. As part of another project in Greifswald I worked on the neurophysiological classification of anxiety disorders using EEG, EDA, EOG, EMG, and fMRI-data. My main research interests revolve around the question of how social and individual factors influence the development of mental health and the transformation of the brain across the lifespan. Additionally, I am highly interested in prosocial behaviour: how does it develop in early childhood, and how does it interact with physiological and psychological factors at later stages in life. 


Elisa Buchberger

I am a Master’s student from Humboldt University Berlin and joined the DCP Lab in April 2019 to conduct my thesis here. My main research interest lies in the field of developmental psychology, particularly in questions addressing how developmental trajectories can be influenced at different life phases. During my studies I have worked on various topics, including emotion regulation in adults and children, the impact of stress on memory in children, and early detection of neuro-degenerative diseases such as dementia, combining behavioural as well as imaging methods (fMRI).



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Ellina Guijt 

I am a visiting research MSc student from Leiden University who joined the DCP Lab in January 2019 until April 2019. As an undergraduate student I gained experience in large scale school testing as part of a study investigating the development of social learning in children and adolescents. For my MSc thesis I studied the relation between resistance to peer influence and prosocial learning in adolescents using both behavioural and fMRI data. I am highly interested in understanding individual differences in prosocial development and executive functioning and how environmental factors can influence these processes, both on a behavioural and neural level. In general, my goal is to perform research that is relevant and readily applicable to society.


Sebastijan Veselic

I joined the DCP lab in November 2018 as part of a 3-month rotation within the Doctoral Training Programme for the Ecological study of the Brain. Prior to coming to UCL, I obtained an MSc in Computational Neuroscience & Cognitive Robotics from the University of Birmingham, an MSc in Cognitive Science with a joint degree from University of Vienna and Ljubljana, and a BSc in Psychology from the University of Ljubljana. During these years, I have been involved in a number of research projects which have led to the convergence of my research interests on questions related to the computational principles underlying behaviour we call decision-making. More specifically, I am interested in the architecture and neural basis of our observation and action models; how these are constructed, updated, and refined over time.


Margot Schel

Former postdoctoral researcher now works as Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Studies at Leiden University.

Ferdinand Hoffmann

Former PhD student now works as postdoctoral researcher at the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit at UCL

Charlotte Grosse WiesmANN

Former PhD student now works as postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Social Neuroscience at the Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences