Lab members



Robb rutledge
principal investigator

Robb is a MRC Career Development Fellow. He did a PhD in Neural Science at New York University supervised by Paul Glimcher. He was a postdoc at University College London at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging with Ray Dolan and Peter Dayan before setting up his lab at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research. Robb is interested in subjective feelings like happiness and sadness, and how feelings relate to events in our lives and to future decisions. Robb received the 2018 Spence Award For Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science.

website | scholar | twitter | contact


bastien blain
Post-doctoral researcher

Bastien uses computational modelling and neuroimaging to examine the relationship between experienced utility and decision making, and the role of emotions in decision making and learning. He did his PhD in economics at Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne University under the supervision of Mathias Pessiglione and Guillaume Hollard. In his PhD research, he asked how cognitive fatigue, occurring after many hours of cognitive work (e.g., a workday), alters economic decisions (e.g., the consumption-saving trade-off). Bastien has taught a course in neuroeconomics since 2013 for the Eco&Psycho Masters degree at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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Post-Doctoral researcher

Liam is a cognitive neuroscientist and practicing clinical psychologist. His research focuses on explaining how changes in mood can bias decisions and other goal-directed behaviour in bipolar disorder. By better characterising the psychobiological mechanisms by which patients transition between cycles of elevated and depressed mood, he aims to develop better psychological interventions. In his research, he combines computational modelling, longitudinal smartphone measurements and functional neuroimaging. He holds a PhD and a doctorate in clinical psychology, awarded by the University of Manchester and King’s College London, respectively. Clinically, Liam works in a national and specialist clinic delivering psychological interventions and clinical training for psychosis and bipolar disorder.



ritwik niyogi
Post-Doctoral researcher

Ritwik is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. He did his PhD in Theoretical Neuroscience and Machine Learning at the Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit at UCL supervised by Peter Dayan, developing a theoretical framework for real-time cost-benefit decision making. He also investigated dopaminergic and serotonergic circuits in the labs of Jeremiah Cohen and Garret Stuber. Ritwik applies machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to longitudinal measures of vigour-anergia collected on smartphones to identify at-risk individuals likely to develop clinical depression.

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Matilde uses behavioural experiments, computational modelling, and functional neuroimaging to investigate how individual differences in executive functions relate to mood. Her goal is to better understand the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and both cognitive traits and brain networks to allow early intervention and identification of markers predating the development of mental illnesses. She obtained a PhD in psychology at the University of Cambridge supervised by Trevor Robbins. Matilde is also supervised by Ray Dolan.

scholar | twitter | contact

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rachel bedder
PHD Student

Rachel is a PhD student on the Comp2Psych Programme researching the relationship between mood disorders and decision making using computational models. She is particularly interested in how both clinical and non-clinical populations are affected by losses in decision-making paradigms. Previously, Rachel worked as a Research Assistant in the Division of Psychiatry at UCL examining quality of life in people with moderate to severe dementia. She did a MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL supervised by Neil Burgess, and has a BA in Art and Psychology from University of Reading. Rachel used to run the art and neuroscience public engagement company, AXNS Collective.

scholar | twitter | AXNS Collective | contact


Benjamin chew
phd student

Benjamin is a PhD student on the Comp2Psych Programme. His research interests revolve around the neural mechanisms underlying decision making and motivational states, with a focus on how factors such as affect and agency contribute to decision making. He combines neuroimaging and computational modelling that draws on theoretical frameworks from psychology and economics to explore the relationship between overt behaviour and the underlying neural processes. Benjamin has a MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCL. Benjamin is also supervised by Ray Dolan.

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Akshay is a Leonard Wolfson Clinical Training Fellow investigating the neural basis of motivation and apathy. He uses behavioural paradigms, computational modelling and neuroimaging to better understand the mechanisms driving loss of motivation in the general population and patients with Huntington’s disease, a familial neurodegenerative condition. A better understanding of the neural mechanisms underpinning motivated behaviour may guide new treatments for apathy, a common and disabling symptom of many neuropsychiatric conditions. Before moving to UCL, Akshay was a NIHR-funded Academic Clinical Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry (KCL) where he did research in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. He completed his medical degree, and an intercalated degree in neuroscience, at Oxford University. Akshay is also supervised by Sarah Tabrizi and Geraint Rees.

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Yuki Shimura

Yuki is a PhD student on the Comp2Psych Programme and a Masason Foundation Fellow. She uses a combination of functional neuroimaging, behavioural experiments, and computational techniques to study how environmental conditions and subjective feelings modulate state-based learning and decision-making strategies. She also has an interest in understanding the relationship between altruism and happiness. Yuki worked as a Research Assistant in the Intergroup Neuroscience Lab at Harvard University examining a learning-based account of intergroup aggression. As an undergraduate, she studied social psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles. 


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Amie is a BSc student in psychology at Cardiff University. She is spending her placement year in the Rutledge lab, ensuring the day-to-day smooth running of the lab. She is working with the lab's clinical collaborators to facilitate large-scale data collection using our smartphone app during clinical trials. She is interested in the application of smartphone apps in an experimental psychology setting, and how they can be used to determine different factors which may affect happiness. Previously she completed research projects on how gender affects sensory perception and the effects of psychopathic and mindfulness traits on attention.



Sankalp is an MRes student in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. His research interests include happiness, altruism, and awareness. He is currently working to understand the influence of momentary happiness on decision making. In particular, he is exploring how changes in one’s external environment influences mood and decisions. Sankalp studied liberal arts at Ashoka University in India with a major in Mathematics and a concentration in Computer Science. Sankalp is working on his research with Bastien.



calum guinea

Calum is an MRes student in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. His research interests include the relation between affect and decision making, developing a better understanding of depression, anxiety and schizophrenia through use of computational modelling and improving therapeutic outcomes for patients. He is currently studying how mood at different time points relates to decision making. Calum studied Psychology at Royal Holloway and has research experience in studying implicit racial bias and aesthetic preference. Calum is working on his research with Rachel.



Sophie shang

Sophie is an MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. Her research focuses on developing computational models of motivation and apathy that make pharmacological and neural predictions. Previously, Sophie double majored in Cognitive Science and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Under the supervision of Tom Griffiths, she completed her undergraduate honour’s thesis on formal model of illusory correlation and biased memory. Sophie is working on her research with Akshay.



juliana sporrer

Juliana is an MSc student in Brain and Mind Sciences at UCL. Her research examines how expectations and rewards impact confidence and its relationship with mood at the behavioural and computational levels. Previously, Juliana studied Clinical Psychology at University Clermont Auvergne in France. During her Erasmus year at University of Kent, she assisted on an EEG and tACS project assessing the modulatory effect of oscillatory reinstatement during slow-wave sleep on declarative memory consolidation. Juliana is working on her research with Matilde and with Marion Rouault and Steve Fleming.




SUZANNE BUSS was a BSc student studying Biochemistry at the University of Surrey who worked as the lab manager and research assistant on her placement year. Suzanne left to complete the remainder of her undergraduate degree. contact

ARCHY DE BERKER was a PhD student working with Robb, Sven Bestmann, and Ray Dolan. Archy is now an Applied Research Scientist at Element AI. website | scholar

MILLIE LOWTHER was an MSc student in Natural Sciences working with Rachel. Millie is now an Operational Scientist at Cambridge Cognition. website | LinkedIn | contact

ELLIE LUGT was an MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience working with Bastien. Ellie is now working as a Research Officer at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. LinkedIn | contact

JAK MALORET was an MRes student in Cognitive Neuroscience working with Liam. LinkedIn | contact

LARA PUHLMANN was an MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience working with Robb. Lara is now a PhD student at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig with Pascal Vrticka. twitter

IOANNIS SARIGIANNIDIS was an MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience working with Robb. Ioannis is now a Wellcome Trust-NIH PhD student with Oli Robinson and Jon Roiser at UCL. scholar | twitter

NIKOLINA SKANDALI was an MSc student in Clinical Neuroscience working with Robb. Nikolina was a PhD student with Barbara Sahakian and Trevor Robbins and is now a trainee psychiatrist and academic clinical fellow at University of Cambridge. website | scholar

CASEY SWERNER was an MRes student in Cognitive Neuroscience working with Robb. Casey is now an Analyst at DN Capital. website | LinkedIn