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Lab members

Maheen Faisel

Maheen graduated from Kings College London with a 1st Class (Honors) BSc in mathematics, going on to achieve an MSc in Applied Mathematics from Imperial College London (Merit). A member of the BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Biosciences PhD Consortium, Maheen is combining functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy with genetic analysis to research the role of cytochrome within neurons, in response to social stimuli, with an aim to establish how genes could mediate this process in the developing human brain. Maheen is currently working under the supervision of Prof. Mark Johnson, Dr Sarah Lloyd-Fox, Prof. Clare Elwell and Dr Emma Meaburn. This research involves the Birkbeck Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, the UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering Department and the Birkbeck Behavioural Genomics Group.

For publications/presentations:

Anna Gui
Anna graduated from the University of Padova with a First in Neurological and Psychomotor Approach Therapy (BSc), going on to complete a Masters in Child Rehabilitation and Reasearch Methodology (Distinction) at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and subsequently an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (Distinction) at the University of Trento. Anna has five years of experience as a therapist for children with neurological and sensorial congenital difficulties and is the recipient of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie European PhD Studentship. Currently working under the supervision of Prof. Mark Johnson, Dr. Emily jones and Dr. Emma Meaburn, Anna is researching the genetic, familial and epigenetic contributions to social attention in infants with emerging Autism Spectrum Disorder and their first-degree relatives. 

For publications/presentations:

Georgina Donati

Georgina graduated from the University of Leeds with a 2:1 in Philosophy, going on to achieve a Certificate of Higher Education in Psychology at Birkbeck (distinction) and then a Masters in Educational Neuroscience (Distinction). A recipient of the Birkbeck Anniversay PhD Studentship (2015-2018), Georgina is currently working under Dr Emma Meaburn and Dr Iroise Dumontheil, researching the role of biological factors (such as genes and emotion systems) in human cognitive systems. The aim of this work is to ascertain heritability and look for genetic variants which may be contributing to emotional regulation, with a view to establish correlations with educational achievement.

For publications/presentations:

Emma Meaburn

Dr Emma Meaburn graduated from King’s College London with a BSc (Hons) in Human Biology, going on to achieve an MSc in Human Molecular Genetics from Imperial College London, followed by a PhD in Behavioural Genetics as part of the Twins Early Development Study at King’s College London, supervised by Prof. Robert Plomin. Emma’s postdoctoral work has focused primarily upon the quantitative analysis of genetic trait loci associated with reading abilities in early childhood, with many related publications. Emma currently works as a lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London (since 2010) and Visiting Lecturer at King’s College London.

For publications/presentations:

Angelica Ronald

Dr Angelica Ronald completed a PhD in quantitative genetics, at the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, supervised by Prof. Robert Plomin. Subsequently, Angelica’s postdoctoral work focused upon quantitative and molecular genetic research into ASCs, under the supervision of Prof. Francesca Happé. Currently a Reader at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (Birkbeck, University of London) and director of the Genes Environment Lifespan lab, Angelica’s research interests include quantitative and molecular genetics, child and adolescent psychopathology, ASDs, ADHD, comorbidity, psychosis and genetic and environmental risk factors across development, with a wealth of publications pertinent to these topics.

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Oliver Pain

Oliver graduated from King’s College London with a BSc and MSc degree in molecular genetics, going on to undertake a PhD under the supervision of Dr Angelica Ronald and Prof. Frank Dudbridge. Oliver’s area of research delves into psychotic experiences in adolescence, searching for associated common genetic variants, aiming for both identification and functional annotation. Oliver is currently a member of the Genes Environment Lifespan laboratory.

For publications/presentations:

Wikus Barkhuizen

Wikus graduated from Birkbeck, University of London with a first class BSc in Psychology, followed by an MSc in Early Intervention in Psychosis from King’s College London. In 2016 Wikus began a PhD at the Genes Environment Lifespan laboratory under the supervision of Dr Angelica Ronald and Dr Emma Meaburn, looking into environmental risk factors related to psychotic experiences during adolescence with funding from the Camara-Rijvers David PhD Studentship. Wikus also has clinical experience as a practitioner and manager at substance misuse treatment services in London, totalling eight years.