Lab

 

Directors   Post-docs   PhD Students   Interns  

Research Assistants   Masters Students   Project Students   

Alumni  Collaborators

 

 

Directors

 

Prof. Essi Viding, PhD

Prof. Essi Viding

Email: e.viding@ucl.ac.uk
UCL Page

Research

My research to date has combined cognitive experimental measures, twin model-fitting, and brain imaging to study different developmental pathways to persistent antisocial behaviour. I am currently adding genotype and environmental risk measures to my 'research tools' and hope to learn more about protective, as well as risk factors for developmental psychopathology. 


 Dr. Eamon McCrory, PhD DClinPsy 

Dr. Eamon McCrory

Email: e.mccrory@ucl.ac.uk
UCL Page

Research

As both a researcher and clinician, my work has centred on understanding how psychological and emotional difficulties emerge in childhood and how best to intervene to support and help young people and families experiencing distress. I have worked for many years as a consultant clinical psychologist with children who have experienced severe neglect or maltreatment at home - risk experiences robustly associated with significantly increased vulnerability to mental health problems. My research aims to shed light on the nature of this link - to better understand how early adversity gets under the skin’ - altering biology as well as psychological processes and representations in ways that can make many such children more vulnerable to psychiatric problems across the life span. My current work includes a particular focus on possible mechanisms associated with childhood resilience by studying both neurocognitive functioning and important elements of the child's environment - namely peer and parenting relationships.

I am also head of the Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology MSc course at UCL and Yale, and head of Postgraduate Studies at the Anna Freud Centre.

 

 

 


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Post-docs

 

 

Marine Buon 

Marine Buon

Email: m.buon@ucl.ac.uk


I am 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. Using behavioural studies I try 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. I obtained my PhD at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et de Psycholinguistique, at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, with Emmanuel Dupoux and Pierre Jacob. My work is mainly focused on typical development and processes implicated in the ability to integrate agents' causal role and their intention to harm in their moral judgments. For this purpose, I conducted several behavioural experiments on infants, children and adults to understand whether intuitive and/or controlled processes are responsible for our ability to integrate both type of cues in our moral judgments of agents.

 

Liz O'Nions

Liz

Email: e.o'nions@ucl.ac.uk

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. 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. 

 

Amy Palmer

Amy Palmer

 Email: amy.palmer@ucl.ac.uk


I am a post-doctoral research associate in the Developmental Risk and
Resilience Unit. I am currently studying how early life adversity
affects psychological development. I do so by employing 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 maltreatment by investigating how their
past affects processing of the present.

 

Jean-Baptiste Pingault

 JB

 Email: pingaultjb@yahoo.fr


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.

 

Vanessa Puetz

Vanessa Puetz

 Email: v.puetz@ucl.ac.uk


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 examined the neural correlates of social rejection in a sample of children that were separated from their birth parents with fMRI. 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.

 

                                               Ana Seara Cardoso 

Ana Seara-Cardoso

E-mail: ana.cardoso.09@ucl.ac.uk

I am a post-doctoral researcher in the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit, under the supervision of Prof. Essi Viding. My research focuses on the neurobiological basis of psychopathy a personality disorder marked by profound disturbances in empathic and moral behaviour. I am particularly interested in studying behvavioural and neural mechanisms of empathic and moral processing, and in understanding how atypicalities in these mechanisms are related to the presence of psychopathic personality traits.


 


 

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PhD Students

 

Philip Kelly

Philip kelly

Email: philip.kelly.09@ucl.ac.uk

Research

I am a first year PhD student funded by The Anna Freud Centre and UCL under the Impact Award scheme. Supervised by Dr Eamon McCrory and Prof. Essi Viding, my PhD aims to further our understanding of the impact of childhood maltreatment on brain structure and function. More specifically I am exploring 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.

 

Patricia Lockwood

                                    Patricia Lockwood

Email: p.lockwood@ucl.ac.uk

Research

I am currently studying for a PhD on a 4-year Biomedical Sciences program funded by the Medical Research Council, co-supervised by Prof. Essi Viding and Dr. Jonathan Roiser. My research aims to investigate the behavioural and neural mechanisms of vicarious information processing through the study of typical and atypical populations. I am also interested in social information processing more broadly, and in disorders that are characterised by atypical social information processing, such as psychopathy and autism spectrum disorders. I am using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques to investigate these questions.

 

Lucy Foulkes

Lucy Foulkes

Email: l.foulkes.11@ucl.ac.uk

I am a PhD student supervised by Prof Essi Viding and Dr Eamon McCrory. I am funded by the MRC on a 4 year PhD program in Mental Health. My research focuses on social reward in relation to psychopathic traits and aims to understand the social processing and motivations of individuals with high levels of these traits.

 


 

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Project Students

 

Kate Wolfe

Kate

Email: k.wolfe@ucl.ac.uk

I am a first year student on the Medical Research Council funded PhD in Mental Health. I am currently undertaking 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 involves assisting with recruitment on a longitudinal project aiming to elucidate the neurocognitive correlates of risk and resilience following early adversity.

 


 

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Research Assistants

 

Ruth Roberts

Ruth

Email: r.roberts@ucl.ac.uk

I am a part-time research assistant at the DRRU, working on a project which seeks to assess emotional processing in children with behavioural problems using fMRI. I am also a research assistant on a longitudinal research project at Kings College London which seeks to examine the developmental pathways of health and illness from childhood into young adulthood. I completed my MSc at Kings College London and plan to pursue PhD studies in the future.

 

Sophie Samuel

Sophie Samuel

                                                       Email: sophie.samuel@ucl.ac.uk

I am a part-time research assistant at the DRRU, working on a longitudinal study looking at childhood resilience and the impact child maltreatment on brain structure and function. Concurrently, I am studying for my MSc in psychotherapy at the Metanoia Institute and work one day a week for the James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund which seeks to prevent suicide in young adults. I have a particular interest in the mental health and support of young adults and am an advisor of the charity Switchback which supports 18-24yr old men through the prison gate and on release to make meaningful and long-lasting changes to their lives.  

 

Cathy Davies

Cathy Davies

Email: cathy.davies@ucl.ac.uk

I am a part-time research assistant at the DRRU, working on a longitudinal fMRI study of childhood maltreatment. Previously, I worked as an Assistant Psychologist within clinical psychiatric settings. I have an academic interest in the neurobiological mechanisms underlying risk to psychopathology and the development of translational neuroimaging techniques to aid clinical decision-making.

 

Mattia Indi Gerin

                           Mattia Gerin

                                          Email: mattia.gerin.13@ucl.ac.uk

I am a part-time research assistant at the DRRU, working on a project that aims to further our understanding of the impact of childhood maltreatment on brain structure and function. Concurrently, I am studying for my joint MSc at UCL and Yale in "Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology". I am also involved in clinical work and in the evaluation of interventions aimed at children whose parents suffer from mental health problems. I am particularly interested in how cognitive neuroscience research can be translated into clinical practice and into the promotion of psychological well-being and resilience, especially during development.

 

Sophie-Marie Raeder

                                                  SophieR

Email: s.raeder@ucl.ac.uk

I am a part-time research assistant at the DRRU and am currently working on a series of studies investigating the risk factors involved in the development of behavioural difficulties in adolescents. I am concurrently working as a tutor for autistic children in Oxford, developing various cognitive tasks to improve their communication abilities and general functioning. I recently completed a Master’s at the University of Oxford and plan on pursuing a PhD in the future.

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Interns


                                                   Jeffrey Henry

                                    Jeffrey

                                            Email: jeffrey.henry.2@ulaval.ca

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 am supervised by Prof. Essi Viding and work in close collaboration with Dr. Jean-Baptiste Pingault, research fellow at the DRRU.



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Alumni

                                             

                                                   Charlotte Cecil 

     Charlotte

  Email: charlotte.cecil@ucl.ac.uk

During my PhD at the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit, I examined the impact of severe developmental adversity (e.g. child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, community violence exposure) on psychosocial, emotional and behavioural functioning in a high-risk adolescent population. Currently, I work as a post-doctoral researcher within  the Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, where I investigate how early experiences 'get under the skin' to influence child development over time. More specifically, my research focuses on the role of epigenetic mechanisms in mediating the effect of prenatal and postnatal environmental factors on developmental outcomes, including conduct problems, callous-unemotional traits and psychiatric co-morbidity, making use of genome-wide and candidate gene analytic strategies.

 

 

Laura Finlayson

Laura

                                           Email: Laurafinlayson4@gmail.com

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.

                                            

                                           Chloe Thompson-Booth

Chloe Thompson-Booth

Email: chloe.booth.09@ucl.ac.uk

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 

Helena Rutherford

E-mail : helena.rutherford@yale.edu 

I am a post-doctoral fellow based here at UCL and also at Yale Child Study Center . 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 

Stephane De Brito

Email: s.a.debrito@bham.ac.uk

Research

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 maltreatment. For more information and contact details, click here.

 

Catherine Sebastian, PhD 

Catherine Sebastian

Email: Catherine.Sebastian@rhul.ac.uk

Research

I have recently joined Royal Holloway, University of London as a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. 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.

                                                     

                                                 Caroline Bradley

 Caroline Bradley

Email: caroline.bradley@ucl.ac.uk

 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.

 

Zoe Hyde

Zoe Hyde

Email: z.hyde@ucl.ac.uk

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.

Prior to this position, I worked as a research assistant at New York University's Child Study Center at the Phyllis Green and Randolph Cōwen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience where I worked on studies that aimed to understand the developmental pathways that lead to paediatric neuropsychiatric disorders. Among other responsibilities, I was the senior research assistant on a study that was investigating the resting state functional MRI of young children aged 5 to 9 who had severe temper outbursts. I previously completed an MSc in Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, under the supervision of Professor Katya Rubia, and a BSc in Psychology at the University of Manchester.

 

Nathalie Fontaine, PhD

Nathalie Fontaine, PhD

Post-doctoral research fellow 2007-2008

Email: nfontain@indiana.edu

I am currently an Assistant Professor in a tenure-track position at Indiana University. My research concerns the development and the prevention of antisocial behaviour and related disorders using longitudinal and experimental designs. Recently, I have focused on the study of callous-unemotional traits in children, a potential risk factor for psychopathy in adulthood. I am currently integrating twin model-fitting and brain imaging in my research to study developmental psychopathology.

 

Alice Jones, PhD

Alice Jones, PhD

PhD student July 2005 - August 2009

Email: a.jones@gold.ac.uk 

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

Sara Hodsoll

PhD Student September 2007 - September 2010

E-mail: s.n.clarke@ucl.ac.uk

I completed my ESRC funded PhD at UCL in 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 DRRU. 

 

 

Helen Maris

Helen Maris

Research Assistant 2010 - 2011

Email: helenmaris@hotmail.com

I am currently a Research Assistant in the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development at Birkbeck. I work on the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings (BASIS) "Babysibs" project; a longitudinal, multi-centre study which aims to identify early markers of autism and increase understanding of the developmental trajectories of the condition by investigating whether there are any differences in the development of infants who have siblings with autism and those who do not. A range of behavioural and neuroimaging techniques are employed to explore this research question. The long-term aims of the project are to improve early detection of the condition, allowing for earlier and more effective interventions to improve quality of life of children with autism.

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 maltreatment and 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. 


Henrik Larsson, PhD

Henrik Larsson

Post-doctoral research fellow January - December 2006

E-mail: henrik.larsson@ki.se

I am currently a associate Professor at Karolinska Institute . My research focuses on gene-environmental interplay and gene-brain-behaviour pathways underlying developments of behavioural problems (e.g., antisocial behaviour) and psychiatric disorders (e.g., Schizophrenia, ADHD). A central goal is to integrate cognitive-experimental and psychiatric epidemiological research by using brain imaging techniques, novel web-based approaches and information from the Swedish twin registry. 


Thomas Villemonteix

Thomas Villemonteix

MSc Student February - June 2011

Email: t.villemonteix@gmail.com

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 maltreated children. More generally, my research interests include developmental psychopathology, the evaluation of psychotherapies and the history of psychology. 

 

Daniel Busso

Dan Busso

MSc Student - June 2011

Email: daniel.busso@mail.harvard.edu

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, I graduated from the University of Bath with a BSc. in Psychology, taught secondary school English, and received my Master's degree from UCL. For my Master's thesis, supervised by Dr. Eamon McCrory, I investigated the neural correlates of resilience in adolescence, using structural imaging methods. 



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Collaborators

Prof. Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Dr. Geoff Bird

Dr Jon Roiser

Dr Fruhling Rijsdijk

Prof. Craig Neuman

Prof. Mark Dadds

Prof. Peter Fonagy

Prof. Norah Frederickson

Prof. Paul Frick

Prof. Ahmad Hariri

Prof. Linda Mayes

Dr. Andrea Mechelli

Prof. Robert Plomin

Dr Philip Shaw

Dr Gregory L. Wallace

 

 

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