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Dr. Matthew Apps, Principal Investigator 

Matt is the Principal Investigator of the MSN lab. Having completed a PhD and postdoc at Royal Holloway, University of London, he moved to the University Oxford first as a postdoc, then becoming a BBSRC Future Leader Fellow. He is now a BBSRC David Phillips Fellow and Senior Research Fellow (=Associate Professor) in the Centre for Human Brain Health, Institute for Mental Health and School of Psychology in the University of Birmingham.

People: TeamMember

Dr. Andrea Pisauro, Postdoctoral Fellow

Andrea is a Postdoctoral Researcher. He completed a PhD at UCL in the laboratory of Matteo Carandini. He then moved to Glasgow to work on simultaneous EEG-fMRI in the laboratory of Marios Philiastides. He is interested in the neural basis and the computational principles underlying human decision making. His current work involves understanding the role of social context in shaping behavior and how it is encoded by the brain to inform valuation and decision making.


Dr. Selma Lugtmeijer, Postdoctoral Fellow

Selma completed a PhD in the Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam and the Donders Institute Nijmegen on memory deficits in stroke patients. She moved to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada for a postdoc at Brock University, where she studied working memory and event segmentation in aging. Currently, Selma is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the MSN lab. Her research at the Centre for Human Brain Health focuses on fMRI signals that underlie motivation to exert effort. She is also involved in the Open Science Special Interest Group for the Organisation for Human Brain Mapping conference.


Emma Scholey, PhD student

Emma is a PhD Student in Psychology at the University of Birmingham, supervised by Matthew Apps, Mark Humphries and Ned Jenkinson. She is currently spending six months at the University of Nottingham in the Humphries lab learning computational models of the dopamine system. She is investigating how dysfunction in the dopamine system underlies motivation impairments such as seen in Parkinson’s Disease. Before joining the MSN lab, Emma completed a BSc in Psychology at the University of Surrey and worked as a statistician in the civil service. Outside of the lab she enjoys reading anything/everything and rock climbing. 

Katarzyna Dudzikowska, PhD student

Katia is a PhD student funded by the Midlands Integrative Biosciences Training Partnership (MIBTP) and supervised by Dr Matt Apps and Prof Ole Jensen.

Before joining the lab she completed a BSc in Psychology at The Open University, an MSc at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain in Germany, and worked in mental health and brain injury rehabilitation. Katia is interested in the role that metacognition – awareness and monitoring of one's own cognition – plays in motivation and fatigue and whether this relationship can help us understand motivation and fatigue-related impairments in disorders of mental health.


Dr Jamie Talbot, PhD student

Jamie received his primary medical degree (MBChB) from the University of Bristol in 2011 and has worked in the NHS for over 10 years. Currently a specialist registrar in neurology (ST6) in the South West Peninsula region, he has gained extensive experience working with patients with common neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy and dementia. He is now working towards a PhD based at the University of Birmingham as part of the Midlands Mental Health and Neuroscience doctoral training program, supervised by Matthew Apps and Matthew Broome. The PhD plans to investigate apathy in the context of different clinical disorders, addressing it as a multi-dimensional construct using a mix of research methodologies.

Zhilin Su, PhD student

Zhilin is a first-year PhD student in Psychology funded by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. He is supervised by Dr Patricia Lockwood and Dr Matthew Apps at the University of Birmingham. He holds an MSc in Brain and Mind Sciences and a BSc in Psychology from National Taiwan University. Zhilin is intrigued by the behavioural, computational and neural mechanisms underlying social learning and decision-making in health, disease, and development. He is currently using computational modelling to explore preference learning in social contexts across the adult lifespan.


Nikita Mehta, Research Assistant

Nikita holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Mumbai in India. Later, she worked as a Junior Research Assistant at Monk Prayogshala, a non-profit institute in Mumbai, India. She moved to the UK and completed her MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Sussex. For her thesis, she conducted a study to understand the effect of environmental attitudes and receiving personal carbon footprint feedback on cooperative behaviour for climate mitigation. She is particularly interested in gaining insights into decision-making processes using computational and neural mechanisms. 


Kubra Karatas, Research Associate 

Kübra is a research associate supervised by Dr. Matthew Apps and Dr. Lei Zhang. She completed a BSc in Psychology and Biology at the Middle East Technical University in Turkey, and holds an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from the University of Trento in Italy. For her thesis, she conducted a behavioural study to investigate the possible presence of emotion processing deficits in mild cognitive impairment patients. She is especially interested in the neural mechanisms of social cognition and decision-making processes in health and neurodegeneration using computational models.


Dr. Luis Sebastian Contreras-Huerta (former Postdoctoral Fellow, now Assistant Professor at Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez)

Cody Kommers  (former PhD student)

Max Laverty (former MSc. Student)

Anthony Gabay (former postdoc, now data scientist ad IXICO)

Campbell Le Heron (former PhD student, now researcher New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch)  

Tanja Muller (former PhD student, now PostDoc Fellow at University of Zurich)

Katie O'Nell (former MPhil student, now PhD student at Dartmouth College)

Mindagaus Jurgelis (former MSc student, now PhD student at Monash University, Australia)

Lore Vleugels (former MSc student, now PhD student at UC Louvain, Brussels)

Daniele Pollicino (former MSc student, now PhD student at London School of Economics)

Arno Gekiere (former MSc student, now data engineer at Massive Media. Brussels)

Svenja Küchenhoff (former MSc student, now MSc student at University of Oxford)

Alice Floris (former MSc student)

Lucy Fisher (former BSc student)

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