Ilford County High School (1984-1991), Oxford University (1991-1994), Birkbeck College, London (1994-1998)
BA Experimental Psychology, PhD Psychology
I’ve worked at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit since 1999
Programme Leader in Hearing and Language
Medical Research Council (the bit of the government that funds Medical Research)
Me and my work
I am a cognitive neuroscientist working at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge.
After seeing language acquisition at work in my 21-month old twins I go into the office for a rest! I get a real buzz from working with colleagues to make sense of data from our brain scanners, and building computer models that simulate the neural ‘nuts and bolts’.
What topics do you work on?
I study what goes on in your brain when you hear speech sounds, recognise words and understand language. I also study how these processes change when you hear noisy speech, someone speaking with an unfamiliar accent or learn new words.
What methods do you use?
We use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure blood flow in the brain, and magneto-encephalography and electro-encephalography (MEG/EEG) to measure electrical activity in the brain. We combine these with computerised tests of language ability and language learning.
Who was your favourite teacher?
My GCSE maths teacher, Mrs Hitchcock.