Our Scholars

2024 Cohort

Amina Begum

Amina Begum

Amina is in her final year studying Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Westminster. Amina hopes to further pursue her interest in Neuroscience after graduation, with further studies at a master's level, which will enable her to gain greater in-depth knowledge of neurological disorders and translational medicine in neuroscience. Having previously worked as a researcher in clinical trials for two years at the Stress, Psychiatry, and Immunology Lab at King’s College London has helped her to gain extensive research skills and knowledge, and she has recently contributed to scientific publications as a co-author.

Amina has previously also presented at the British Neuroscience Association 2023 Festival of Neuroscience on Science Communication, as part of the editorial team of Inspire the Mind. Amina is passionate about stroke and is excited to further explore in detail on stroke research through this experience with the mentorship and networking opportunities as a BNA Scholar. Amina is also passionate about diversity and inclusion for women in science and academia, in particular within neuroscience. 

Anna Verghese

Anna VergheseAnna graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a minor in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with college honors. Through the Interdisciplinary Sustainable LA Grand Challenge (SLAGC) Scholar Program during her undergrad, she joined the Sharpe lab to conduct an independent project on sensory-specific cue associations and the neural learning circuits underlying maladaptive behavior in addiction, culminating in her honors thesis. During her fourth year, she worked as a lab technician to conduct research on nucleus accumbens dopamine release and its role in learning.

In 2023, she joined the Sharott Group at the University of Oxford as a research assistant to work on projects utilizing high density in vivo electrophysiological recordings with deep brain stimulation in freely behaving rodents. Leveraging her research experience using cutting edge techniques and her unique interdisciplinary background, she intends to answer questions about the fundamental mechanisms of decision making and provide new insights into the relationship between neuropsychiatric disorders and decision making deficits in her PhD. 

Qiming (Simon) Yuan

Qiming Simon YuanQiming, also known as Simon, obtained his BSc in Psychology from Northeast Normal University and his MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from Beijing Normal University. His Master's project focused on using brain imaging and non-invasive brain stimulation to investigate the neural mechanisms of bilingual language production. In 2022, he joined the Brain, Speech, & Language Research Group led by Prof. Kate Watkins at the Department of Experimental Psychology as a DPhil (PhD) student, funded by the Oxford Clarendon Scholarship and St John’s College, Oxford. His research projects explore the neural mechanisms of bilingualism (and multilingualism), speech production, and perception in healthy adults, aiming to understand how brain networks support successful speech perception and production. Additionally, he investigates how brain structure and function change in individuals who stutter using brain imaging techniques.

Simon also serves as a public engagement ambassador at the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging (WIN). His goals include enhancing understanding of the neuroscience of language, advocating for neurodiversity and language diversity, and supporting individuals with speech and language disorders.

Misbah Fayaz

Misbah FayazPivoting from an established career working with children and young people in Bristol and Birmingham, Misbah is now a final year undergraduate Neuroscience student at the University of Bristol. As a mature student with a background in the education sector (she holds current roles in enrichment engagement and coordination, educational facilitation, and private biology tutoring), her academic journey is enriched by a wealth of experience. Alongside her studies, she is also a mother to an 8-year-old.

Misbah next plans to join the Scientific Training Programme (STP) with a specialisation in clinical immunology and a specific focus on neuroimmunology. Moreover, she specifically aspires to bridge the neuroimmunological healthcare outcomes gap for women, especially mothers.

Maternal health is a key interest for Misbah, particularly the profound changes in cognition, behaviour, and physiology that accompany pregnancy and the transition to parenthood. Exploring how maternal psychopathology influences neural responses and understanding the concept of the "parental brain" emphasises the need for in-depth investigations into the nexus between maternal mental health and neural adaptations, shaping the dynamics between mothers and children. Simultaneously, her interest extends to the immune system's dynamic regulation during pregnancy, moving beyond the traditional perception of suppression. The three distinct immunologic phases – involving proinflammatory responses, anti-inflammatory states for fetal growth, and immune support for parturition – reflect the complexity of immune function during this transformative period.

Sahar Uppal

Sahar UppalSahar is currently a final year undergraduate student studying for a BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Warwick. She has recently accepted an offer from Imperial College London to study an MRes in Experimental Neuroscience, where she hopes to develop her research skills further.

During her undergraduate studies, she worked as an undergraduate researcher as part of the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme supervised by Professor Nicholas Dale. Her project explored carbon dioxide sensitivity in mutations of connexins 46 and 50 to evidence functional aspects. She is now embarking on her final year research project with Professor Georgy Koentges to investigate the underlying molecular causes for the specific tropism of SarsCov2 in the cerebellum. By cross-correlating high resolution gene expression maps with genes lists misregulated by the virus, she hopes to make a mechanical hypothesis about the tropism.

Although Sahar has a broad passion for neuroscience, she aspires to conduct research in neuropathology and neuropharmacology. Following her master’s degree, she hopes to pursue a PhD.

Spatika Jayaram

Spatika JayaramSpatika received her integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali, India. She was supported by the INSPIRE Fellowship, and the GE STAR Scholarship, from the Institute of International Education. During her undergraduate degree, she worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in India, to investigate resting-state functional connectivity patterns in Schizophrenia patients. She completed her final thesis project at the Indian Institute of Science working on learning and memory formation in the worm species, C. elegans. In 2022, she joined the University of Oxford as a recipient of the Felix Scholarship. She worked on projects investigating neuropharmacology and reward-learning, and preclinical neuroimaging and anxiety.

Spatika is currently a Gates-Cambridge Scholar at the University of Cambridge, working on how the development of the prefrontal cortex gives rise to social behaviours. Her research interests span mood disorders, social behaviour and the moods of poetry. Beyond neuroscience, Spatika is passionate about writing and science outreach and established a nation-wide science magazine initiative between 10 institutes in India. She was also awarded an Outreach Grant by the Society for Experimental Biology, and has written for publications at Oxford and Cambridge.

Yasir Widatalla

Yasir WidatallaDr Yasir, a medical doctor, currently serves as a Research Assistant at the Dementia Platform UK, University of Cambridge. Originating from Sudan, he completed his medical degree at Al-Neelain University before being awarded the prestigious Chevening scholarship for the 2022/23 academic year. This scholarship facilitated his pursuit of an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience at UCL, where his research focused on the electrophysiology and behavioural patterns in mice during seizures and spreading depolarization.

Dr Yasir's current research revolves around neuroimaging in dementia patients, utilizing a range of techniques including fMRI, EEG, PET, and MEG. Beyond his scientific endeavours, he is a passionate advocate for accessibility and inclusion within the neuroscience community, emphasizing the importance of academic access for individuals with disabilities. He has been involved in various initiatives promoting higher education opportunities for disabled individuals.

Looking ahead, Dr Yasir aims to undergo neurology training within the NHS, specializing in neurophysiology. He is also committed to bridging the gap between research and clinical application in neuroscience, planning to continue his work as a clinical researcher. This dual focus on clinical practice and research embodies his dedication to advancing the field of neuroscience and improving patient care.



2023 Cohort

Arish Mudra Rakshasa-Loots

Arish Mudra Rakshasa-LootsArish (he/him) is a neuroscientist, liberal arts scholar, and EDI consultant. He was born and raised in Ghaziabad, India, but has since spent many years drifting across the continents. Arish is currently completing a PhD in Translational Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, where his work is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the South African MRC Unit on Genomics of Brain Disorders, and the Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation.

Arish’s research focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the high prevalence of depression amongst people living with HIV. This work is driven by Arish’s passion for HIV healthcare and interest in neuropsychiatric disorders. Leveraging HIV participant cohorts in the UK, the Netherlands, and South Africa, Arish is working to determine whether neuroinflammation can explain why people living with HIV face a significantly higher risk of depression. Arish has also worked in partnership with collaborators, mental health professionals, and people with lived experience of depression to develop a transcultural translation in isiXhosa of a widely-used depression screening tool.

In addition, as a liberal arts scholar and EDI consultant, Arish researches and writes on issues ranging from neocolonialism in education to equity and inclusion in philanthropy and non-profits. Arish’s EDI work recently won the ALBA-FENS Kavli Network of Excellence’s 2023 Diversity Prize.

Dipa Begum

Dipa BegumDipa is a PhD student in a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council doctoral programme at University College London. Dipa has joined the Perinatal Brain Repair Group and her PhD is looking at formulating novel nanocarrier treatments for treating neonatal neurodegeneration. Dipa’s research utilises molecular and behavioural techniques to investigate the application of novel therapies in neonatal hypoxia-ischemia to determine successful delivery to areas of neurodegeneration in the brain. This interdisciplinary research bridges aspects of pharmaceutics and fundamental neuroscience by providing a translational approach to neonatal neurodegeneration therapeutics.

Before her PhD, Dipa worked as a Research Scientist with a Cancer Research Group at the Royal Marsden Hospital with an honorary appointment with the Institute of Cancer Research. Now, at UCL, Dipa is the Lead Research Student Representative and an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Representative for her institute.

Faissal Sharif

Faissal SharifFaissal Sharif obtained a BSc in Biomedical Sciences at Maastricht University in the Netherlands with a semester abroad at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. As a visiting scholar at the University of California, Irvine, he investigated novel biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease. He then completed his MSc in Translational Neuroscience at Imperial College London while researching the effect of psilocybin on EEG power, signal diversity (i.e. entropy)  as well as psychological outcomes at the Centre for Psychedelic Research. As part of the R&D team of a neurotechnology startup and life science consultant, he has worked at the intersection between neuroscience, technology and consumer health.

In 2022, he joined the Tan Lab at the MRC BNDU to investigate novel non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) applications targeting psychiatric symptoms present in a variety of affective and neurological disorders. Beyond potential new transdiagnostic treatments using neurotechnology, Faissal is interested in neuronal underpinnings of affective processing, anhedonia and apathy.

Faissal has received numerous fellowships, from the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Foundation of German Economy (SDW), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Deutschlandstiftung Integration (DSI) and others. He is co-founder of Corpus Curiosum, an initiative for early-career researchers to promote critical thinking in Neuroscience.

Jess Down

Jess DownJess is currently studying for an MSc in Pharmacology at University of Oxford. Prior to this, she completed her BSc in Biology at the Open University. Her research interests include investigating the effects of drugs on neural circuits and their use in treating mental illnesses.

Jess is also interested in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, having volunteered in a dementia care home. Through her undergraduate studies and neuroscience seminars, she has developed a further interest in understanding the association between amyloid plaques and Alzheimer's. She looks forward to developing these interests through her Master's degree and further studies. Jess intends to pursue a PhD after her MSc, where she will further explore neuropharmacological drug developments. She is keen to continue her outreach, leveraging the opportunities provided by being a BNA Scholar.

Kavishini Apasamy

Kavishini ApasamyKavishini is a second-year PhD student at Royal Holloway, University of London, supervised by Dr Carl Hodgetts and Prof. Narender Ramnani. After completing her BSc in Psychology, she embarked on a PhD that explore a topic that is close to her interests: how the brain might be interconnected and how these brain connections might be impacted during normal ageing or pathology. Kavishini's PhD explores this topic closely by studying the connection between the hippocampus and the cerebellum, in the context of spatial navigation in humans.

After completing her first study, she gained novel insight about the organisation of the hippocampal-cerebellar connection in humans. Building on this, she is currently using using fMRI methods to explore how human hippocampal-cerebellar connection might support spatial navigation in humans. In future studies, she hopes to using fiber tractography to delineate how the hippocampus and cerebellum might be anatomically connected. Beyond her research, she is interested in understanding this more closely in clinical populations such as Alzheimer’s Disease patients, and deepening her study in neurodegenerative disorders.

Laura Odemwingie

Laura OdemwingieLaura is an MRC DTP PhD Student in Basic & Clinical Neuroscience at King’s College London. She joined King’s after completing her MSci in Medical Biochemistry at the University of Bristol. Her interest in neuroscience first sparked when she completed a summer scholarship placement with the North Bristol NHS Trust Research Foundation on ‘Biomarkers for brain tumours’ with consultant Prof. Kathreena Kurian. She then went on to do her MSci project on synaptic plasticity and spine morphogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease with Dr Jonathan Hanley. Currently, Laura works on mapping the RNA and protein expression patterns of FET proteins at single cell resolution throughout the mouse Central Nervous System and ageing. This will be followed by a comparison in healthy human, FUS-ALS and FET-FTD vulnerable tissue to uncover the contribution of dysfunctional protein homeostasis to disease. This project is co-supervised by Dr Marc-David Ruepp and Dr Caroline Vance in the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King’s and Dr Claire Troakes at the London Neurodegenerative Diseases Brain Bank.

Morgan Mitchell

Morgan MitchellMorgan studied an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at University of Nottingham and then undertook an MRes degree at the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at University of Birmingham based in their Motor Control and Rehabilitation group. Her MRes project focused on the use of non invasive brain stimulation techniques (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation/Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation), mental imagery and their interaction with motor learning and associated corticomotor plasticity. After having worked as a Research Assistant here at Oxford, she is now in her first year as a PhD student as part of Prof. Heidi Johansen-Berg's Plasticity Lab based at Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, working on a collaborative project with Dr Melanie Fleming and Prof. Tim Denison from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering investigating the use of Targeted Memory Reactivation (TMR) during sleep as an intervention to boost the memory consolidation processes underlying motor learning for stroke rehabilitation patients.

Morgan is also enthusiastic about Public Engagement - she has been involved in the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging’s play for KS3 pupils as part of the Outreach to schools via the Brains in Banbury 2022 initiative. She will also take part in a Wellcome funded 5-year enrichment project "Football OnThe Brain" in which she will deliver workshops that explore how the brain learns and the relevance this has for football skill development.




2022 Cohort

Cal Shearer

Cal ShearerCal completed their BA in Psychology and Linguistics at the University of Oxford and was then accepted onto the 1+3 MSc and DPhil in Neuroscience Programme, funded by the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford.

During their MSc, Cal worked on modelling the geometry of neural network representations formed during a multi-context categorisation task. For their second project, they investigated hippocampal-cortical interactions during inference and post-learning sleep using a combination of multichannel extracellular recordings and calcium imaging in mice.

Cal is now working towards their DPhil, continuing work on this area, and combining it with analyses of human behaviour. This project is co-supervised by Professor Jill O'Reilly, Department of Experimental Psychology, and Professor David Dupret and Dr Helen Barron in the MRC Brain Network Dynamics Unit at the University of Oxford.

Gargi Mandal

Gargi MandalGargi is a research assistant in the Stress, Psychiatry, and Immunology lab at King’s College London, where she studies the role of inflammation in affective disorders. Her current study involves understanding the role of omega-3-derived endocannabinoids on neurogenesis and cell apoptosis. Parallelly, she is also conducting analysis on clinical datasets to understand the association between childhood trauma and inflammation in depression. Gargi completed her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science at King’s College London (KCL) in 2021, and she is currently undertaking a Master’s in Neuroscience course at the same University. Away from academia, she is a writer and an editor for an online science magazine, Inspire the Mind. She is passionate about understanding and developing better treatment strategies for psychiatric conditions, scientific outreach, and learning more about the public policy landscape regarding mental health support.

IfeOluwa Taiwo

IfeOluwa completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. While studying at the University of Edinburgh, she contributed to ongoing research in characterising potential genes involved in ciliary motility in a Drosophila model at the Jarman Lab, and also developed a keen interest for statistical modelling and research reproducibility.

Ife recently worked with Elsevier as a Managing Editor Intern and is currently pursuing work experience in data science. Ife is passionate about early outreach and is thrilled to be a part of the 2022 BNA scholars' cohort.

Iqra Arshad

Iqra Arshad

Iqra is a third-year PhD student based at Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL). Supervised by Prof Narender Ramnani (RHUL) and Dr Elisa Ferre (Birkbeck, University of London), her PhD explores how information from the vestibular system is processed in the human and non-human primate brain, and she is also interested in the contributions of the vestibular system to human behaviour and cognition. Methods used to explore this area range from behavioural psychophysics to computational approaches and functional-MRI. She holds it personally important to lead efforts that promote and increase the representation of people from Black and Global Majority (BGM) backgrounds.


Iman Muktar 

Iman MuktarIman undertook her MBiol in Biosciences at Durham University, working on bumblebee brains and investigating the dimorphism of the olfactory organ that processes odours and conspecific pheromones between the different species of Bombus around Durham, UK. Following this degree, she continued to develop her experimental neuroscience skills, securing a 4-month research assistant position to work on a project investigating olfactory coding in Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes at the Insect Neuro lab in Durham. She used transgenic mosquitoes to conduct live calcium imaging on olfactory receptor neurons, investigating how they respond to behaviourally repellent compounds. The skills she gained in this role also prepared her for starting her BBSRC NLD DTP PhD studentship, in October 2022. To continue her work on the olfactory coding of larval and adult mosquitoes. This project aims to identify the olfactory receptors and cells that sense pheromone candidates. Anopheles gambiae is malaria-vector that requires pheromone production to reproduce. Understanding the olfaction system in mosquitoes in extremely important to potentially identify novel strategies for vector control.

Haady Brendan Hajar

Haady Brendan Hajar

Brendan is a recent Neuroscience MSci graduate from the University of Manchester now currently working as a research technician at UCL. Under the supervision of Dr John Gigg, his Master's research project investigated pattern separation deficits in the 3xTgAD mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, and whether these deficits were correlated to reduced granule cell neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. He is currently involved in the breeding and maintenance of large Alzheimer's disease knock-in model colonies, whilst also contributing to running various behavioural tests in aged cohorts of these mice.

Brendan's primary research interest is the pathological role and therapeutic potential of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease-related cognitive decline. He intends to pursue a PhD that allows him to learn essential neuroimmunology research techniques, whilst reinforcing his pre-existing skills in rodent behavioural research.

Naana Owusu-Amoah

Naana Owusu-Amoah

Naana is a research technician at the University of Nottingham, researching diabetes-induced kidney failure and Alport Syndrome at the Biodiscovery Institute. She obtained her MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Nottingham in 2021. As part of her Master’s, she did a yearlong placement at the Queensland Brain Institute studying mild traumatic brain injury and functional recovery using fMRI, DTI and T2 structural imaging. Naana’s research interests include the neurobiology of addiction and trauma, as well as psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder and anxiety. She is generally passionate about behavioural neuroscience. As a BNA Scholar, Naana is very excited about the opportunity to inspire more people from underrepresented demographics to pursue a career in neuroscience. and has had the opportunity to attend conferences such as FENS and present a poster.



Graduates from the BNA Scholars Programme

The below bios are accurate at the time of Scholars' graduation. For the latest updates on graduates' activities, please check their institution profiles.


2021 Cohort

Aisha Islam

AishaAisha is currently a Senior Researcher working for Age UK with a focus on influencing UK policy on health and social care inequalities experienced across the ageing population. Aisha completed her PhD at Newcastle University on neuromuscular changes across ageing and PD and completed her undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of Leeds. Her doctoral work has been published in Nature PD and Frontiers in Ageing.

Aisha is also interested in science communication and has worked as a Sub Editor and writer for the BNA Bulletin and Bright Brains Newsletter, published blogs for her research team ‘Brain and Movement’ and Newcastle University EDI, as well as leading Neuroscience public engagement events for Stemettes, the National Media Museum and the Great Yorkshire Show. Her research has also been featured in British Science Week 2021 STEM outreach packs and by the Brilliant Club on International Women’s Day.

As a BNA Scholar, Aisha is particularly interested in addressing socioeconomic inequalities and keen to explore how this can be applied to the teaching and conductance of neuroscientific research. For the BNA Festival 2021, Aisha was an invited panellist to ‘Steps towards decolonising teaching and learning in neuroscience’ and is working on incorporating this at a national level with the BNA. She proposed ideas to enhance the current narrative of advancements within neuroscience in the UK by acknowledging present and historically significant contributions from researchers in geographical locations beyond the West.

Ethlyn (Evie) Lloyd-Morris

EvieEthlyn, also known as Evie, is currently a second-year PhD student on the Medical Research Council's MRes-PhD programme at King's College London. Before starting her PhD, she obtained a BA in Experimental Psychology from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Neuroscience from King’s College London. She also spent nearly 2 years working as a Research Assistant at the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute, developing assays for Parkinson’s disease drug discovery. Evie’s PhD project investigates the links between mitochondrial transport, synaptic cargo trafficking, and synaptic integrity during ageing. Key methods she uses in this project include live-cell imaging using confocal microscopy and behavioural assays. She enjoys studying the cellular and molecular underpinnings of brain dysfunction and hopes to develop this passion beyond her PhD.

Margret (Maggie) Kadembo 

MaggieMargret, also referred to as Maggie, has recently started her new role as a Marketing Assistant for Novartis UK. Maggie’s role of a marketing assistant within the Haematology department involves creating materials to disseminate information about treatments that have been developed to treat rare blood diseases to a variety of audiences.

Maggie’s academic background started with an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience (BSc) at the University of Bristol. Maggie was enrolled in the Opportunity Bristol Scholarship programme which funded her postgraduate studies at the University of Bristol. Maggie's postgraduate degree project focused on studying the effects of a new Ketamine derivative on the N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors located in the hippocampus. Maggie graduated with a Master's by research in Physiology and Pharmacology in February 2023. During her academic studies she worked as an on-campus processing operative in 2020 to assist students and staff with COVID-19 testing. Furthermore, Maggie gained experience as Biology lecturer at a further education institution following her postgraduate degree completion.

As a recipient of the BNA Scholar title, Maggie has participated in the BNA Festival of Neuroscience 2021 where she presented a pre-registration poster based on her Master's degree research. In the future, Margret hopes to have a role in making science accessible to all people regardless of their background. Maggie is passionate about raising awareness of Neuroscience research and developments, particularly across the African continent.

Oluwaseyi (Seyi) Jesusanmi

SeyiOluwaseyi (also known as Seyi) is a 3nd year Neuroscience PhD student at University of Sussex. His current research focuses on investigating the neural basis of ant navigation using spiking neural network simulations. This includes making spiking models of ant brain regions and measuring their navigation capabilities within simulated environments, along with behavioural experiments with ants in the real world. His previous research at the University of Dundee focused around using machine learning to automate experimental processes in behavioural neuroscience; the aim being to make experiments less time-consuming and more reproducible. Seyi has a range of interests including sensory perception/ecology, machine learning, animal behaviour, computational modelling and game engine rendering. Something he greatly enjoys about neuroscience is the interaction between various disciplines and how they can come together to answer important questions. In the future he hopes to gain varied local and international connections, as he finds learning about other people and cultures very inspiring in the context of research. His family is from Nigeria, he was born and raised in the North of England and has always had a deep interest in science, technology and animals.

Rana Fetit

RanaRana completed her PhD in Translational Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland after which she worked as a post-doctoral research scientist at the Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences (CDBS) in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow, Scotland. Currently, Rana is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Institute for Regeneration and Repair (IRR), University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Rana is interested in modelling human diseases using stem cells and 3D-organoid models. To date, her research work investigated the how large genetic deletions contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders using cerebral organoids as a tool to recapitulate and study the early stages of brain development.

In her post-doc, Rana used 3D-organoids to model human cancers and their interactions with immune cells using immune-organoid co-cultures. Currently, she uses human-derived embryonic stem cells and transcriptomic data analysis to explore remyelination in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Multiple Sclerosis As part of her PhD programme, Rana also took part in pre-arranged NHS clinic visits to hospitals and psychiatric wards to gain a better understanding of conditions and disorders. Based on these visits, she has produced a series of artwork which were exhibited in the Brain Awareness week: Mad Hatter Grey Matter Festival, 2018 and Fusion: Art-neuroscience show and tell at the university of Edinburgh. Rana is also keen on promoting science to young children. She volunteered in several public engagement events and workshops, and published her own scientific children's book. In addition to her College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine Neuroscience studentship, Rana has also received the Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship awarded to overseas PhD students covering differences between EU and international tuition fees.

Rayyan Zafar

RayyanRayyan is currently undertaking his Ph.D. at Imperial College after being awarded the Medical Research Council Doctoral Training 3.5 year fellowship (MRC DTP).

As a member of the Centre for Psychedelic Research and Neuropsychopharmacology group, he is working to complete a series of multimodal neuroimaging investigations in addicted populations;

- Exploring mesolimbic reward system deficits in Gambling Disorder as assessed with Functional Magnetic resonance Imaging (fMRI)
- Investigating the role of the dopamine D3 receptor in alcohol addiction with a pharmacological intervention using D3 receptor antagonism as assessed with PET and MRI
- Investigating the potential of psychedelic serotonergic agonists in the treatment of addiction

Rayyan also works as an Honorary Research Assistant for Drug Science (formally the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs) where he publishes scientific reports as a member of the Medical Cannabis Working Group and the Medical Psychedelic working group.

Tamara Tasnim Wahid

TamaraTamara is a Trainee Clinical Scientist on the NHS Scientist Training Programme, based at Birmingham Children's Hospital (specialising in Neurophysiology). She is being trained to independently perform different types of EEGs (Electroencephalograms), NCS (Nerve Conduction Studies), and EP (Evoked Potential) tests in a variety of patient settings, such as neonatal care, paediatrics, and intensive care. Simultaneously, she is studying an MSc in Clinical Science at Aston University and conducting an NHS Clinical Research Project. Her project is investigating the utility of qEEG in assisting EEG interpretation in patients with Epileptic-Encephalopathy with Spike-Wave Activation in Sleep. Before joining the STP, she completed a BSc in Neuroscience and took out a year in industry where she had the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant in fascinating fields such as Parkinson’s Disease and Anti NMDA-R Encephalitis. Away from Neuroscience, she enjoys wildlife gardening and baking.