Iroise Dumontheil



My curriculum is quite complicated. I attended a boarding high school in France 1995-1998, then preparatory classes in Sciences in Lyon 1998-2000. I was selected to enter the Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan, near Paris, in Biological Sciences and spent one year studying this at University Paris XI, and a year at Imperial College (Erasmus programme). In 2002-2003 I did an MSc in Cognitive Science at University Paris VI, and then did a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL and University Paris VI from 2003 to 2006.


PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience (2006), PGCE: Higher Education (2014)

Work History:

After my PhD I did four postdocs, at UCL, in Cambridge, and Stockholm, and then obtained a lectureship at Birkbeck, University of London, in the Department of Psychological Sciences.

Current Job:

I am lecturer at Birkbeck.


Birkbeck, University of London.

My Interview

Me and my work

I am a lecturer and researcher in the department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck.

Typical day

A typical day involves:
– meeting students (undergrad, MSc, or PhD students) to discuss their progress and the next steps of their study design or data analysis,
– attending or giving seminars, or giving a BSc or MSc lecture
– working on admin tasks (recruitment of BSc and MSc students)
– writing abstract for conferences, analysing data or writing papers
– reading other researchers’ papers

What topics do you work on?

I am mostly interested in the function of the prefrontal cortex, the most anterior part of the brain that is located just behind the forehead. The prefrontal cortex supports aspects of higher cognition, in particular cognitive control, which is the control of thoughts and behaviours to achieve goals, and social cognition, in particular our ability to think about our own thoughts and other people’s thoughts. I study this adults, but also during adolescence. I am interested in how these skills change during development, both in terms of behaviour and brain function. I have recently also been working on the development of training interventions to improve cognitive control, with a view to improve children and adolescents’ success at school.

What methods do you use?

I use:
– neuroimaging, in particular structura and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
– behavioural measures (short task/games performed on computers, and also questionnaires)
– genetic approach, in particular I look at common variants of genes that affect brain functioning.

Who was your favourite teacher?

I can’t pinpoint a single one – teachers in primary school, French and English teachers when I was 11-14y, Philosophy and Biology teachers when I was 15-17y.