His current research interests are centered around action control, and how our brain controls movements. In addition, he is still puzzled how different kinds of neurostimulation might work.
He is a Professor in Motor Neuroscience at the Sobell Department for Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL, and Vice Chair of the Young Academy of Europe
Simon is a neurologist with a particular interest in the role of brain oscillations in movement disorders and motor attentional networks. He previously completed a PhD with Professor Peter Brown at Oxford University investigating closed loop deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease - targeting beta oscillations recorded from the basal ganglia. He recently moved to the Sobell to join the Bestmann lab for a Wellcome trust postdoctoral fellowship to investigate the computational and causal role of motor network oscillations with an aim to translate these findings to clinical benefit through advancing deep brain stimulation therapies.
I'm a postdoc in the Bestmann lab. I received a B.S. in Computer Science from Drexel University in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Southern California in 2010. My doctoral thesis was completed under the advisement of Michael Arbib and was entitled, “Modeling the Mirror System in Action Observation and Execution.” I recently came to the lab after completing a postdoc at Caltech with Richard Andersen performing monkey fMRI experiments on spatial decision-making tasks. My research interests include computational modeling of reaching and grasping, action observation, and decision-making, synthetic brain imaging, and neuroinformatics. I'm currently working on a study of the neural correlates of perceptual decision-making using tDCS, EEG, and computational modeling.
Wolfgang is a psychiatrist with a particular interest in the role of dopamine, glutamate and GABA regarding the behavioural symptomatology of patients with schizophrenia. He previously worked as a post-doc at the Department of Psychiatry at the University hospital of Munich, Germany, investigating cortical excitability, cortical plasticity and behavioural correlates in schizophrenia patients and healthy subjects using non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (such as TMS, tDCS and PAS). Recently, he moved to the Bestmann Lab for a research fellowship funded by the German Research Council (DFG). He aims to investigate the role of dopamine, glutamate and GABA for regulating precision during evidence accumulation using computational models
Uncertainty, Stress, and Action
Archy's work is focused upon understanding how the brain represents and uses information about uncertainty. In particular, he is attempting to elucidate the links between uncertainty and stress and action, using computational models to explain behavioural, autonomic, and neural responses to stressors. He is also involved in a variety of projects involving computational neurostimulation and the use of neurostimulation and fMRI to test theoretical accounts of how information is represented and transferred in the brain.
Uncertainty, Neuromodulation and Action Execution
Successful interaction with the environment requires flexible updating of our beliefs about the world. Combining behavioural experiments, pharmacological manipulations and computational modelling, I study how humans make decisions in uncertain environments, and how uncertainty influences the quality of our actions.
I am interested in how emotional stimuli affect motor processes in the human brain. My PhD thesis deals with the interaction between emotion and action. More specifically, my research aims to further understand the interplay between emotional stimuli, approach-avoidance behaviour, and various motor processes. I currently tackle several questions on approach-avoidance actions: how do affective primes influence the preparation to approach and avoid emotional stimuli; how approach-avoidance actions influence our ability to inhibit responses; how emotional stimuli and approach-avoidance tendencies influence arm reaching trajectories; and lastly how emotional stimuli implicitly influence force production during approach-avoidance tasks. I also attempt to answer the controversial question of automaticity of approach-avoidance actions to emotional stimuli. I address my research questions by using a variety of techniques including psychophysics, kinematics/movement tracking and brain imaging (i.e. Electroencephalography).
Isobel is taking time out from being a medical student to do a PhD, under UCL’s MBPhD scheme. For her BSc, she studied decision making models under Roger Carpenter using saccadic latency tasks. She is now interested in looking at how decisions become actions and the flexibility we have to make high-quality movements when needed.
Much is known about the neural systems and computations underlying value-based planning and decision making, but little about how value signals and rewardability influence the actual execution of a meaningful and skilled action. Combining a behavioural approach with measurements of movement kinematic parameters, I am currently investigating how motor execution and learning can be influenced by the specific motivational context in which the movements occur.
This issue is of particular importance in subjects with a stroke-related unilateral brain damage, because increasing motor (re-)learning in these patients would permit to improve their functional outcome.
My research topics are focused on the behavioural, neural and endocrine mechanisms involved during emotional behaviour in different psychopathological disorders and in the student population. To investigate this I use several techniques, such as fMRI, brain stimulation, kinematic responses and physiological measures, such as salivary hormones and heart rate. I look at the control of emotional approach-avoidance behaviour while measuring underlying brain activity in patients with a social anxiety disorder, conversion disorder and psychopathy, and study the influence of the serotonin transporter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) on this process.
Ang is a neurology registrar with a particular interest in stroke, the multidisciplinary approach to stroke rehabilitation and the application of principles of motor learning to the field of neurorehabilitation. He is on a research break from his clinical neurology training programme to undertake a PhD. He is interested in how reward and punishment including the facilitation/inhibition of dopaminergic neurotransmission can be used to potentially influence and reinforce motor skill learning, and how these strategies can be applied to the clinical setting in order to improve rehabilitative therapies for patients left with upper limb impairment following a stroke.
The successful candidate will join a research group investigating decision signals in the human motor system, with a specific focus on neuroimaging, and in particular magnetoencephalography (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG). Additional techniques may include behavioural, neuropharmacological, and neurostimulation techniques such as TMS or tDCS. The Sobell Department laboratories are equipped with the latest technology for behavioural testing, neurostimulation, neuromodulation, and recordings of skilled actions. Our imaging activities are located at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging. The appointee will contribute to the on-going cutting-edge programme of research in human decision making and action selection, including research projects concerning the link between decision making, action selection and action execution, with a specific focus on the use of M/EEG to approach these themes.
The post is available from October 2014 and is funded to June 2016 in the first instance. You should apply for this position through UCL's online recruitment – www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/jobs - where you can download a job description and person specification using ref: 1431768. If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact Samantha Robinson, Personnel Officer, Institute of Neurology, 23 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3BG (email:ion.hradmin.ucl.ac.uk).
Further details: http://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/AJL234/research-associate/
Informal enquiries about the position can be made to Dr Sven Bestmann (http://www.bestmannlab.com).
For further information please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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