London Brain Project was formed by three neuroscientists and an artist. Read a little about each member of the directing team below, and some of the other Science Communicators who work with us too.
Louise Weiss (Co-Founder)
After a short stint in the advertising industry, I decided to return to the classroom to pursue my love for science. I studied an MSc in Paediatric Neuropsychology and then a PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, all with the aim of understanding more about how our brains make us who we are. While studying I became more and more involved in science communication; school outreach, presenting taster lectures to visiting students, volunteering with science communication groups, attending public engagement conferences and so on. LBP provides me with a valuable creative outlet which harks back to my early roots. Working with artists - and the tension created when science and art collide - is something I’ve found exciting, challenging and perspective-changing. Best of all, I relish the opportunity to meet a diverse range of people through LBP, with totally different perspectives on what’s important about brain science and brain disorder. Beyond LBP, I am Public Engagement Manager at Science Gallery London.
Georgia Pitts (Co-founder)
I am a PhD researcher in the Developmental Neurosciences programme at UCL Institute of Child Health -my research uses neuroimaging techniques and behavioural measures to assess the impact of low blood sugar on the developing brain. I became fascinated by the brain and behaviour while doing my BSc in Psychology at Manchester University, and pursued my passion for it by moving back to London for a research assistant post here at UCL before I started my PhD. I've always loved the arts and felt frustrated at having to make a 'choice' between art and science when at school. I love being part of LBP which brings these two disciplines together- I think art and science work beautifully together and lend themselves well to one another, often allowing you to explore further and reach greater depths of understanding!
Michelle Downes (Co-founder)
As well as being involved with many wonderful LBP projects I am also a lecturer in developmental psychology at University College Dublin. I previously worked as a neuroscience researcher in the Developmental Neurosciences programme at UCL Institute of Child Health where I did a PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience and an Msc in Paediatric Neuropsychology. I have also completed a BA in Psychology at NUI Galway. All these programs are dedicated to understanding the brain-behaviour relationship and to exploring how the brain develops as well as what happens when the brain's course of development is altered due to a disorder or an accident! My work involves designing innovative ways to measure and track brain and behavioural development and so far I have had the pleasure of working with many different groups of infants, children, young people, and their families. Some of the children I work/have worked with are born pre-term, have sleep problems or behavioural problems, or have had brain tumours or disorders such as sickle cell disease, epilepsy, anorexia, autism, and schizophrenia. I love science presenting, writing, and delivering outreach lectures and workshops about the brain to young people, parents, and community groups. I am delighted to bring my two big loves (ART + SCIENCE) together in an official way through LBP.
Julia Vogl (Artistic Director)
Holding American and British passports I startle the atlantic pursuing major public art commissions and engaging with various communities. I graduated from the Slade School of Art in 2011, and have become a professional social sculptor exploring in my work social, political, economic, medical and other Life style issues. Public commissions include work in a NYC park, a London supermarket, Berlin former women’s prison, a riad in Fez Morocco, Silver Spring Maryland shopping mall, Newcastle Museum & Krakow arts festival. Most recently I installed work at Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol and decked out a Vauxhall car with 200 hundred people in a Folkestone parking lot. In 2012 I won the Aesthetica Art Prize, Catlin Art Prize, and was recognized by American for the Arts Public Art in Review. When not making engaging art you can find me writing postcards, baking or directing art workshops for the London Brain Project. More at www.juliavogl.com
Alex Bonthrone (Science Communicator)
I am currently pursuing a PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. I am using neuroimaging techniques to try and understand what might be different in the brains of a group of children with a developmental disorder called developmental coordination disorder (DCD) which primarily affects movement but can also impact attention and speech/language abilities. My interest in science communication developed during my undergraduate studies. My dual honours degree enabled me to study neuroscience while also pursuing studies in the history and philosophy of science as well as how the public uses and views science. Science communication activities allow me to put these interests into practice during my PhD. I relish the opportunity to learn from and interact with people with different perspectives on science, such as children, patient groups or artists, while communicating about something I have been passionate about my entire life.
Ashok Sakhardande (Science Communicator)
Since moving back to London six years ago I've followed two main paths; developing an understanding of Psychology and the human brain and working with young people on outreach, widening participation and teaching projects. After completing a BSc in Psychology I have gone on to work in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Group at UCL researching teenagers and their brains. The project I am currently involved is asking whether our ability to learn changes during adolescence and has allowed me to visit a diverse range of schools in and around London to collect data and to talk with students and teachers about research and the brain. Alongside this I have worked on a number of projects aimed at exposing young people to topics they wouldn’t normally encounter at school. The London Brain Project allows me bring these two paths together, combining my interest in the human brain and behaviour with the enjoyment I get from sharing that knowledge with other people. Oh, and I get to practise being creative and artistic two things I’ve never been great at!