I joined the DRRU in 2018 as a PhD student funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) as part of the Soc-B Centre for Doctoral Training in Biosocial Research. Prior to this, I completed degrees in both law and economics and have worked as a research economist (focusing on health and public finance) at the University of Cardiff, the Reserve Bank of India and as a consultant evaluating public health interventions in Myanmar. Under the primary supervision of Prof. Eamon McCrory, I am currently investigating how childhood adversity affects neurological development and behaviour, with a specific focus on interpersonal functioning. To achieve this I am employing neuroimaging and strategic interaction paradigms derived from behavioural game theory.
I have recently joined the DRRU as a placement student as part of my BSc Psychology degree. I am currently an undergraduate student in my penultimate year at the University of Surrey. I am working on a study exploring the impacts of adversity during childhood on later emotional and cognitive functioning and the underlying mechanisms of mental health vulnerability and resiliency. My year at UCL will be a good opportunity to gain experience and knowledge within psychological research to utilise in my final year.
I’m an undergraduate student studying Psychology at the University of Bath. I have recently joined the DRRU as a placement student as part of my degree during penultimate year of study. I am involved in projects investigating social reward processing in adolescents with conduct problems and am keen to develop my understanding of psychology and how to apply my studies in a research setting.
I began working as a research assistant in the DRRU in 2016 after graduating from Royal Holloway University with a BSc in Psychology the previous summer. I am involved in a longitudinal project, which uses fMRI and behavioural measures to explore how adversity during childhood might affect later emotional and cognitive functioning, in terms of both psychological resilience and vulnerability. I previously worked as a part-time research assistant in the Emotion, Development and Brain Lab at Royal Holloway, on a project investigating emotion regulation development in adolescence. I am extremely interested in the application of neuroscience to clinical psychology, and plan on completing a Clinical Doctorate in the future. I hope to be involved in advancing current understanding of the processes/systems underlying diverse psychiatric symptoms, and progressing diagnosis towards more cognitive and biological measures.
Mattia Indi Gerin
I have completed a B.Sc. in Psychology at the University of York and a 2-year M.Sc. in Developmental Neuroscience at University College London (UCL) and Yale University. I first joined the DRRU as a research assistant in 2013 and returned in 2015 as a PhD candidate (funded by the UCL impact award scheme in collaboration with the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families). Under the supervision of Professor Eamon McCrory and Professor Essi Viding, I investigated how childhood maltreatment affects neurological and psychological functioning. In particular, my research aimed to explore potential neurocognitive markers of psychiatric vulnerability and resilience following early adversity. I used functional neuroimaging techniques and behavioural experimental paradigms that measure cognitive and affective functioning. I am currently undertaking the clinical psychology doctoral programme (DClinPsy) at UCL.
My research interests include identifying, through multiple methods, individual differences in the aetiology, development, and persistence of antisocial attitudes and behaviours. As a postdoctoral research associate in the DRRU I am investigating social reward processing in adolescents with conduct problems. This project aims to identify the ways in which antisocial behaviour in young people may develop as an adaptation in response to their environment. I am also involved in disentangling the genetic and environmental influences underpinning the development and stability of callous-unemotional traits. I completed my doctoral research examining the individual differences related to anger, anger expression style, and cognitive hostility at the University of York, under the supervision of Dr Gary Lewis.
I am currently a PhD student at UCL and I joined the DRRU in May 2018 to complete one of three lab rotations for the 4-year MRC-DTP in Mental Health and Neuroscience. My rotation project involved examining the effect of childhood adversity on functional connectivity.
I’m currently an MRes student in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology at UCL and Yale University. My research interests include understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie mood disorders and the development of screening methods for these disorders. I’m also interested in the mental health outcomes of individuals who have experienced early life stress. Prior to joining the DRRU, I was a Research Scholar in the Division of Psychiatry at Yale University doing research on the neural mechanisms of both post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
I conducted my doctoral research on emotional egocentricity during empathy in children and in adults with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the Social Neuroscience department at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive Brain Sciences, in Leipzig, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Tania Singer and Dr. Nikolaus Steinbeis. As a postdoctoral researcher in that department I investigated how empathic brain responses predict altruistic helping in development conducting a large scale functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study in children. I joined the DRRU in January 2016 to investigate the neurocognitive mechanisms implicated in increased vulnerability for the development of psychiatric disorders after the experience of early life adversity. For that purpose I am employing a variety of neuroimaging (s/fMRI and resting-state fMRI) and behavioural measures. I also contribute to teaching in the department, for the Multiple Perspectives on Developmental Psychopathology module, for the MSc in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology.
I joined the DRRU in September 2017 as a research intern, facilitating a project in which we investigate how children with a variety of behavioural problems process emotional and social information through the use of both fMRI and behavioural measures. Along with this, I am also part of another project that investigates emotional processing and adaptive social learning in typical and atypical developing adolescents. My interests refer to how mechanisms within the brain are accountable for registering emotional processing and application of neuropsychology in the clinical field, specifically in terms of psychopathy. Currently, whilst undertaking a semester-long placement in London, I am third year student at Seattle University pursuing a B.S. in Psychology.
I am a post-doctoral research associate in the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit, working on a project investigating emotion processing in conduct problems using fMRI. I am particularly interested in the neurobiological basis of callous-unemotional traits, and in better describing emotional dysfunction in conduct disorder populations that may put individuals at risk of developing psychopathy in adulthood. My work in the Forensic & Neurodevelopmental Sciences Department at the Institute of Psychiatry focused on using diffusion MRI tractography to examine networks underpinning affective and unempathic symptoms in both childhood and adulthood antisocial disorders. My PhD work at Brighton & Sussex Medical School used multi-modal MR analyses and computational modelling of reinforcement learning to examine the anatomy and function of mesolimbic and nigrostriatal systems in ADHD, and how these are therapeutically targeted by dopaminergic medications.
I conducted my doctoral research on the influences of early adverse experiences at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany under the supervision of Professor Kerstin Konrad. In particular I focused on exploring the impact of early caregiver separation on the emotional and neural development of children. In order to investigate this question I employed a variety of assessments including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), endocrine measures and psychological assessments. Specifically, I used fMRI to examine the neural correlates of social rejection in a sample of children that were separated from their birth parents. I joined the DRRU in October 2013 and continue to pursue my interest in investigating how early adversity affects later emotional (dys)function and the putative mechanisms that may increase vulnerability for psychiatric disorders. A key aspect of our current research is to investigate which factors promote resilience in children who have experienced early adversity. My work continues to employ both neuroimaging (s/fMRI) and behavioural approaches with the longer-term aim of informing more effective ways to support and intervene with children exposed to early adversity. I also contribute to several strands of postdoctoral teaching in the department, and act as module lead for the Affective Neuroscience module for the MSc in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology.
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I joined the DRRU in early 2015, working on a project that investigates the effects of early adversity on later cognitive and emotional functioning, with particular focus on autobiographical memory using behavioural and neuroimaging data. I am particularly interested in investigating the mechanisms of clinical interventions using neuroimaging techniques. I graduated from the DRRU in June 2017 to start my training as a Clinical Psychologist at Royal Holloway University of London.
I joined the DRRU (Feb 2016) to complete one of three lab placements for the 4-year MRC PhD in Mental Health. I am working on a project investigating the structural correlates of parenting experience in a community sample of young adolescents, and how this relates to social, emotional, and behavioural adjustment. More generally, I am interested in attachment and the development and treatment of difficulties associated with complex trauma.
Nicole De Lima
I joined the DRRU in September 2015 as part of a year-long placement where I am working on a project investigating emotional processing in children with behavioural issues using fMRI. I am currently in the penultimate year of my BSc Psychology with Professional Placement from Cardiff University. I am interested in the use of neuroimaging techniques to explore the development of neural pathways in the brain.
I am a postdoctoral research fellow based in the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit and in the Neuropsychophysiology Lab (CIPsi, Universidade do Minho, Portugal). My research focuses on the study of the neurobiology of empathy, morality and antisocial behaviour. In particular, I am keen to understand how individual variability in neural correlates of empathic and moral processing are reflected in individual differences in psychopathic personality traits and antisocial behaviour.
I joined the DRRU as a research assistant in 2014 after completing my BSc in Psychology at Royal Holloway earlier that year. I worked on two projects within the DRRU, both of which used fMRI and behavioural measures. The first explored emotional processing in children with behavioural problems and the second investigated how early adversity may affect later emotional functioning, in terms of both resilience to early adversity and potential markers of psychiatric disorders. I left the DRRU in 2016 to begin a PhD at Royal Holloway. I am interested in the development of emotion regulation in adolescents, particularly the development of the neural underpinnings of reactive aggression and the individual differences in the ability to regulate frustration. (http://www.pc.rhul.ac.uk/sites/edbl/).
I worked as a post doctoral research associate in the lab on an MRC-funded brain imaging study examining the neurocognitive underpinnings of conduct problems (2013-2016). I am now beginning a fellowship at the Parenting and Special Education Research Unit, KU Leuven, Belgium. Prior to this, I worked at the Institute of Psychiatry on a project investigating autism and Pathological Demand Avoidance. My main area of interest is understanding the range of behavioural profiles that can occur in individuals with conduct or behavioural problems, and getting to the route of the cognitive mechanisms that drive these difficulties.
After a first four-year post-doctorate at the University of Montreal, I am currently a Marie Curie post-doctoral research fellow based jointly at UCL and Kings College London, working with Professor Essi Viding and Professor Robert Plomin. My research focuses on the development of antisocial behaviour from early childhood to adulthood. I am interested in 1) identifying the early environmental risk-factors and the long-term outcomes associated with the development of antisocial behaviour and impulsivity/hyperactivity; 2) adopting a longitudinal behavioural genetics approach to disentangle the independent and/or interactive contributions of genes and the environment to the development of these behaviours. Regarding methodology, I am particularly interested in statistical techniques and study designs aiming to strengthen causal inferences.
I was a PhD student funded by The Anna Freud Centre and UCL under the Impact Award scheme. Supervised by Prof. Eamon McCrory and Prof. Essi Viding, my PhD aimed to further our understanding of the impact of childhood adversity on brain structure and function. More specifically I explored how childhood abuse may affect distinct cortical indices (such as cortical thickness) using novel neuroimaging analysis techniques. I also plan to investigate neural connectivity and possible neural biomarkers that may predict later cognitive or behavioural functioning.
I completed my PhD with Professor Essi Viding and Professor Eamon McCrory in 2011-2015, during which I investigated associations between social reward and antisocial behaviour in adults and adolescents. I am now working as a postdoctoral Research Associate at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN). In this role, I am working with Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore on a grant that investigates the impact of teaching mindfulness to adolescents. For more information about this project, please visit http://www.oxfordmindfulness.org/learn/myriad/.
I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford. I am investigating the behavioural and neural basis of social cognition in healthy individuals and in individuals with brain lesions. In particular, I am interested in the mechanisms that can link empathy to social behaviour and in using neuroimaging techniques to identify relationships between specific brain lesions and changes in social cognition and behaviour. Previously, I was an MRC funded PhD student in the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit. During my PhD I used a multimodal approach of behavioural paradigms, computational modelling and fMRI to investigate individual differences in empathic/vicarious processing in healthy adults and in children with conduct problems.
I was a post-doctoral research associate in the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit, studying how early life adversity affects psychological development. I employed a combination of structural and functional brain imaging tools as well as behavioural measures to assess what factors lead to the emergence of different psychopathological outcomes in adolescence. I am particularly interested in how behaviour is affected by an individual’s perception of situational cues in the environment. Because the perception of the present is crucially dependent on past experience with similar situations, behaviour is tied to personal history. My goal is to better understand psychopathology and behaviour in youths who have experienced early adversity by investigating how their past affects processing of the present.
I was a first year student on the Medical Research Council funded PhD in Mental Health. I undertook a placement at the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit, one of three placements which I have selected for the first year of my studies. My placement involved assisting with recruitment on a longitudinal project aiming to elucidate the neurocognitive correlates of risk and resilience following early adversity.
I am a third year PhD student at Université Laval (Québec, Canada) funded by the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture. Supervised by Prof. Michel Boivin and Prof. Ginette Dionne, my PhD aims to document early genotype-environment transactions underlying the development of callous-unemotional traits in childhood and adolescence. I benefit from a large, normative twin sample (Étude des Jumeaux Nouveau-nés du Québec; ÉJNQ) in exploring how child genetic liability to callous-unemotional traits moderate longitudinal-developmental associations between early adversity and subsequent levels of callous-unemotional traits. As an intern at the DRRU, I use data from the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS) to document etiological overlap and independence between dimensions of the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits (ICU; Frick et al., 2003). I was supervised by Prof. Essi Viding and work in close collaboration with Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pingault, research fellow at the DRRU.
I am currently an MRC funded PhD student in the Department of Psychosis Studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. My research uses multimodal neuroimaging and pharmacological challenge to investigate the mechanisms underlying symptoms of psychosis in those at high risk. Previously, I was a research assistant at the DRRU working on a longitudinal fMRI study of childhood adversity and its effects on autobiographical memory and emotional processing.
I was a part-time research assistant at the DRRU, working on a series of studies investigating the risk factors involved in the development of behavioural difficulties in adolescents. I am now completing a PhD at the University of Oxford, examining attentional patterns to emotional information in anxious individuals.
I was a postdoctoral fellow funded by the French foundation “Fondation Fyssen” and supervised by Professor Essi Viding. My field of investigation concerns the role of emotional and non-emotional processes in the development of typical and atypical moral cognition in teenagers. Using behavioural studies I tried to understand how processes such as theory of mind, empathic responses and controlled resources lead teenagers to generate (im)mature moral judgments and to behave in a moral way, or not. Prior to this, I worked at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et de Psycholinguistique, at theEcole Normale Supérieure in Paris, with Emmanuel Dupoux, investigating the nature of moral competences in infants, preschoolers, adults and individuals with autism. I’m currently a lecturer in developmental psychology at Paul Valery University (Montpellier, France) where I continue to explore developmentally the cognitive basis of typical and atypical moral cognition.
During my time at DRRU I have worked on two research projects relating to childhood resilience and the impact of child adversity on brain structure and function. I have particular interest in trauma and post-traumatic growth. I currently work at the charity Switchback managing a team of Switchback Mentors who work intensively with young men in prison and on release, aged 18-24yrs, to support them to make long-lasting meaningful change. I also work as a psychotherapist both privately and for the domestic violence charity Woman’s Trust.
In 2013, I completed a PhD at the DRRU, where I examined the impact of severe developmental adversity (e.g. child maltreatment, witnessing domestic violence, community violence exposure) on young people’s emotional and behavioural functioning. Through this work, I became increasingly interested in how early experiences ‘get under the skin’ to influence developmental and mental health. To this end, I worked for two years as a postdoc in the Developmental Psychopathology Lab (IoPPN, KCL), investigating whether epigenetic mechanisms mediate the effect of pre- and postnatal risks on the emergence of externalizing problems. Currently, I have been awarded a three-year fellowship (ESRC Future Research Leaders scheme) aimed a elucidating the epigenetic basis of psychiatric comorbidity, making use of genome-wide, system-level and candidate gene analytic strategies.
I am currently undertaking a Master of Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne. I am carrying out the research component of the degree jointly through the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre and Orygen Youth Health. My research focuses on the neural correlates of self-referential processing in Borderline Personality Disorder, which is part of a broader MRI-based study on the relationship between stress and BPD.
I am currently a trainee clinical psychologist enrolled on the DClinPsy programme at UCL. I completed my ESRC funded PhD at the DRRU in 2013 under the supervision of Dr. Eamon McCrory and Prof. Essi Viding. During my PhD, my research focused on attention to infant and child emotional faces in mothers and fathers as compared to non-parents. I also investigated how attention to infant faces was affected by current parental stress and the experience of childhood maltreatment.
Helena Rutherford, PhD
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I am a post-doctoral fellow based here at UCL and also at Yale Child Study Centre. My research interests centre round emotion perception and emotion regulation in adults and children. I employ both behavioural and neurophysiological measures to explore these issues. An important focus of my current program of research is to explore the neural circuitry of parenting behaviour. As a starting point, we hope to understand how parents regulate their emotions and the consequences of this for parent-child interactions. In addition to my research, I am also an Academic Tutor for the Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology MSc program at UCL and Yale.
Stephane De Brito, PhD
In March 2012 I joined the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham as an Independent Research Fellow. Between 2009 and 2012 I was a post-doctoral research associate in the Developmental Risk & Resilience Unit. My research is interdisciplinary, combining behavioural, neurocognitive and magnetic resonance brain imaging techniques to better understand the characteristics of different subgroups of children and adults displaying severe antisocial behaviour and callous-unemotional traits. Another strand of my research is to better understand patterns of resilience and vulnerability in children and adults who have experienced adversity. For more information and contact details, click here.
I am currently a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, where I have worked since leaving the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit in 2012. My research focuses on the development of social and emotional processing during adolescence. In particular, I am interested in how young people learn to regulate or control their emotions, and how this relates to socioemotional wellbeing and mental health. I have worked with typically developing adolescents as well as those with autism spectrum conditions and conduct problems. I use a variety of research methods from cognitive neuroscience and developmental psychology, including functional and structural neuroimaging, cognitive testing, and questionnaires. For more information and contact details, click here.
For more information about Dr Sebastian’s lab click here.
I am a part-time research assistant at the DRRU, supporting a variety of projects in the department and helping with the day to day running of the lab. I have previously worked as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist in Islington Memory Service running Cognitive Stimulation Therapy groups for older adults with dementia and their carers.
I am currently undertaking a Clinical Psychology course at Kings College London. I was a research assistant at the Development Risk and Resilience Unit at UCL. I was working on a study that investigated neurocognitive correlates of antisocial behaviour in children using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and experimental tasks to examine empathy, and emotional processing and regulation. Our aim was to gain a greater understanding of the functional brain networks that may underlie subtypes of antisocial behaviour, in the hope that this research can help to inform future intervention strategies with these children.
Nathalie Fontaine, PhD
I am an Associate Professor at the School of Criminology, Université de Montréal. My research focuses on the development of antisocial behaviour in youth, with special attention to callous-unemotional traits (e.g., lack of guilt and empathy, and shallow emotions), as well as to risk and protective factors related to these behavioural problems. I combine longitudinal data, experimental research, twin model-fitting approaches, and neuroscience techniques to study different developmental pathways to antisocial behaviour. I was a post-doctoral research fellow at the DRRU during 2007-2008.
I studied my P.h.D in the DRRU from 2005-2009. Since 2011, I have been the Head of the Unit of School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. My research is inter-disciplinary, combining neuroimaging, behavioural genetics and neuropsychology to best understand behavioural difficulties in children, particularly those difficulties that interfere with a child’s ability to get on in school. I am particularly interested in the cognitive and affective correlates of aggressive and disruptive behaviours, and have focused on understanding empathic and emotion understanding and regulation abilities. Most recently, I have been working with Educational Psychologists and teachers to develop and evaluate interventions for children with chronic and severe behavioural and emotional difficulties.
Sara Hodsoll, PhD
I completed my ESRC funded PhD at UCL from September 2007 – September 2010 under the supervision of Prof. Essi Viding and Prof. Nilli Lavie. My research investigated attention to emotional faces, specifically, whether task-irrelevant facial expressions of emotion are able to capture attention. As well as establishing the basic phenomena associated with this emotional capture, my research also investigated how individual differences in psychopathic traits (in both adults and children) affect attention to emotional faces. I am currently a trainee clinical psychologist, enrolled on the DClinPsy doctoral programme at UCL, and I plan to continue my research into attention and emotion processing in individuals with psychopathic traits at the DRRU.
Previously, I worked as a Research Assistant at UCL’s Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit and at The Anna Freud Centre. I was involved in an ESRC-funded project investigating patterns of resilience and vulnerability in children with a history of early adversity, focusing on affective, behavioural and neurobiological factors. More broadly, I am interested in the factors that influence children’s social, emotional and neurobiological development.
I worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the DRRU in 2006. I am currently Professor of psychiatric epidemiology at Örebro University and Karolinska Institute. My research group has strong skills in advanced epidemiological analyses and uses the unique possibilities in Sweden to perform psychiatric epidemiological research based on national health registers, twin research using the Swedish twin register and molecular epidemiology using large scale data collections of DNA.
As an MSc. student at Ecole Normale Superieure de la Rue d’Ulm, I conducted my dissertation project under the joint supervision of Franck Ramus at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique and Dr. Eamon McCrory at the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit. For my dissertation I investigated attentional biases to threat in a population of children with a history of early adversity. More generally, my research interests include developmental psychopathology, the evaluation of psychotherapies and the history of psychology.
I am currently a Doctoral student at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Broadly, my research interests concern the longitudinal effects of adversity and trauma in early childhood. I am especially interested in translational research, particularly within the school, that can be leveraged to substantively improve life outcomes for children who are vulnerable or ‘at-risk’. Prior to this, received my Master’s degree from UCL in 2011. For my Master’s thesis, supervised by Dr. Eamon McCrory, I investigated the neural correlates of resilience in adolescence, using structural imaging methods.