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IoPPN Postdoc Network

Post-Doc Network Committee Members

     postdoc group picture

Each department now has a post-doc representative who will feed into departmental meetings about post-doc issues. If you have any questions or want to get involved, contact the post-doc champions or your departmental rep below.

Post-Doc Champions

Stephanie Forkel | Postdoc Champion



Stephanie is currently working as an Honorary Lecturer at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences (CNS) and the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences (FANS), studying the lateralisation of white matter connections and their relation to language recovery after brain damage.

In her capacity as Postdoc Champion she is passionate to foster a thriving research community and facilitate a productive and rewarding environment for early career researchers. 

Stephanie is also the IoPPN representative on the Research and Innovation Committee (RIC) and the Indepent Research Award panel, and is chairing the RIC Postdoc subcgroup.

Conrad Iyegbe | Postdoc Champion



Conrad began his scientific career in industry, as part of a small start-up biotech company developing novel neural transplantation therapies for Stroke. The experience ignited his passion for academic research so he undertook further studies. These culminated in a PhD exploring the transmission of prions (the infectious proteins responsible for Mad Cow's disease and its human equivalent) using molecular and quantitative methods. His post-doctoral career has been dedicated to psychiatry research. He has a broad portfolio of current research interests that spans genetics, social science and statistics.


He also leads an international initiative (launched in 2017) whose goal is to strengthen the evidence base and advance the  delivery of personalised medicine in under-researched populations

Michelle Edye | Postdoc Champion


Michelle is a postdoc at the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases Here she is trying to understand the role of immune cells in neuropathic pain through in vivo mouse models and in vitro cell culture. Prior to joining King’s in 2016, she spent time in both industry and academia, working as a Senior Associate Scientist at Pfizer before completing her PhD at the University of Manchester studying mechanisms of neuroinflammation.

Michelle is also the IoPPN representative on the Research Staff Representative Committee.


Post-Doctoral Reps 

Sadie Boniface | Addiction Sciences (Rep)


Sadie joined KCL in Spring 2015. She is currently working on setting up a Maudsley BRC project in the Lifestyle Substance Use and Harms theme and also works on randomised controlled trials of psychosocial interventions to reduce alcohol and substance use in adolescents in a variety of settings (SIPS Jr, SIPS Jr High, RISKIT-CJS) and a trial of psychosocial interventions to improve relapse prevention medication adherence in people who are alcohol dependent (ADAM). Her research interests are in alcohol, young people, comorbidity and people with alcohol and substance use disorders who are not in treatment. As well as the IoPPN postdoc committee, Sadie used to be on the ECR subcommittee for the Society for Social Medicine and two ECR committees in her previous postdoc at UCL. She completed her PhD at UCL in 2013, which explored how alcohol consumption is under-reported in surveys.

Joanna Milward | Addictions Science (Rep)

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Joanna joined the Addictions Department at KCL in 2013, and specialises in the use of digital technologies to reduce harmful drinking. Joanna is currently examining the feasibility and acceptability of using transdermal alcohol sensors integrated into wearable technology to monitor alcohol consumption for patients with alcoholic liver disease. She is also interested in the use of artificial intelligence to increase drinkers’ motivation level to cut-down harmful alcohol consumption. She completed her MSc and PhD at KCL, with her doctoral work focusing on identifying strategies to improve user engagement levels with smartphone app technologies.

Despoina Goniotaki | Basic & Clinical Neuroscience (Rep)


Despoina Goniotaki joined the department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience at IoPPN as a postdoctoral research associate to work with models of neurodegeneration in the group of Professor Diane Hanger. She completed her PhD in 2017 working on the effect of blocking a group of postsynaptic receptors in models of prion diseases. She is now working with novel animal models of tauopathies to explore how small amounts of disease-associated tau forms cause early functional and structural synaptic changes. She has also been actively involved in the ‘postdoc matters’ platform ( to motivate early career researchers and facilitate networking between postdocs, funding bodies, communication agencies and industry.

Rachel Jackson | Centre for Developmental Neurobiology (Rep)


Rachel completed her PhD at KCL in 2012 studying destabilizing domains as a tool for altering protein function in the developing brain, after which she moved to the Charite Universitatsmedizin in Berlin. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, where her research focuses on the use of genetically encoded reporters of neural activity for imaging presynaptic function and plasticity.

Vineetha Vijayakumar | Centre for Developmental Neurobiology (Deputy)


Vineetha completed her PhD at KCL in 2013 studying the role of WIP/WASP in podosome formation in blood cancer cells. She is now a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology, where her research focuses on the role of laminin in polarity establishment in the neuroepithelium of the zebrafish.

Marion Criaud | Child and Adult Psychiatry (Rep) Samuel Westwood | Child and Adult Psychiatry (Deputy)


Samuel Westwood was awarded his PhD from Aston University, Birmingham in 2018. His project investigated whether language, memory, and executive functions in healthy participants could be improved with a non-invasive form of brain stimulation known as tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation). He joined King’s College London in 2017 as a post doctoral research associate in the Child & Adolescent Psychiatry department. He is working with Professor Katya Rubia on a project looking into the combined effectiveness of cognitive training and tDCS in improving inattention and self control in boys with ADHD.

Stephanie Forkel | Forensic & Neurodevelopmental Sciences (Rep)


Stephanie is currently working as an Honorary Lecturer at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences (CNS) and the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences (FANS), studying the lateralisation of white matter connections and their relation to language recovery after brain damage due to stroke, neurodegeneration, and surgery.

Julie Williams | Health Services and Population Research (Rep) Liz Brosnan | Health Services and Population Research (Deputy)


Liz Brosnan joined the Service User Research Enterprise in the Department of Health Services and Population Research at IoPPN in March 2017, to work with Professor Diana Rose on her Wellcome funded project EURIKHA (  exploring the global history, status and impact of user/survivor research and knowledge creation. Liz completed her doctorate in sociology on the topic of mental health service-user involvement, examining the inherent tensions for service-users, service-providers and movement actors in involvement practices and policies. Her thesis included developing survivor standpoint epistemology, a recognition of the value and wisdom encapsulated in the voices of lived experience. Her research interests include power and participation dynamics; participatory praxis, especially with marginalised groups; social justice and discrimination as it impacts on people with disabilities. She has also published on a critical legal theory of consent; gender, sexuality and mental health and critical pedagogy in social work education

Tobias Wood | Neuroimaging (Rep)


Tobias studied Physics & Engineering at Cambridge University, and after graduating worked in the space industry for a year designing telecommunications satellites. He then completed a PhD at Imperial College, where he built a laser fluorescence imaging system that could be used to help surgeons distinguish the border between tumours and healthy tissue. After realising that the brain was much more interesting to look at, Tobias joined the Department of Neuroimaging in 2011, where he thoroughly enjoy pushing the limits of what an MR scanner can achieve.

Stephanie Forkel | Neuroimaging (Deputy)


Stephanie is currently working as an Honorary Lecturer at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences (CNS) and the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences (FANS), studying the lateralisation of white matter connections and their relation to language recovery after brain damage due to stroke, neurodegeneration, and surgery.

Zoe Moon  | Psychology (Rep)


Zoë is a postdoc in the Health Psychology Section in the Psychology Department at the IoPPN. Zoë has been at King’s since 2012, having completed both her MSc and PhD at the IoPPN. She is currently working on a three year project funded by Breast Cancer Now. The project will develop and trial an app to support breast cancer survivors prescribed hormone therapy.

Alicia Hughes | Psychological Medicine


Alicia is an NIHR post-doctoral research psychologist in a split post between Psychological Medicine and Health Psychology. She holds a BSc in Psychology (2010) from Queen’s University, Belfast and completed both an MSc (2013) and PhD (2016) in Health Psychology, at the IoPPN, King's College London. Alicia’s research interests centre on understanding psychological factors that affect symptom experience and adaptation to long-term conditions. Her current research explores factors which maintain or perpetuate fatigue in long-term conditions. Her research utilizes different methodology, including experimental, epidemiological and intervention designs. Alicia’s teaching experience includes designing and delivering psychology teaching to medical students and setting up new lectures and interactive workshops focusing on managing persistent physical symptoms in healthcare.

Kate Merrit | Psychosis Studies (Deputy)

Kate Merritt_new

Kate is a post-doc researcher in the Psychosis Studies department. She completed her PhD at the IoPPN last year, examining the relationship between brain glutamate levels and treatment response in first episode psychosis. She is now working on a trial investigating the use of nitric oxide donor compounds in schizophrenia, and is also working on a multisite neuroimaging study which aims to develop tools to predict patient outcomes.

Conrad Iyegbe | Psychosis Studies (Rep) Simone Ciufolini | Psychosis Studies (Deputy)


Simone Ciufolini is a Clinical Research Fellow at the Psychosis Studies department. After completing his Ph.D. (2016) on the effect of childhood abuse on the stress response and brain structure in early psychosis, he is working on a clinical research trial aiming at better defining the role of Vitamin D implementation in the treatment of psychosis. His research seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying how the biological and environmental risk factors interact in increasing the risk of developing mental illnesses. He also works as psychiatrist at the Lambeth Home Treatment Team and he is part of Refugee Resilience Collective, a group of experienced systemic narrative therapists developing approaches to enhance resilience in refuges and volunteers working with them in Calais.

Emily Burnside | Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases (Rep)

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Emily is a postdoc at the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases, IoPPN. She mainly works to develop and optimise a preclinical gene therapy enzyme treatment, in a clinically-relevant model of spinal cord injury, which aims to render the extracellular environment permissive to restoration of nerve connectivity. Emily completed her PhD in the same lab and has been at KCL as a PhD student 2012-2016, and until present as a postdoc.

Dimitra Schiza | Wolfson CARD (Rep)


Dimitra is a postdoc at the Wolfson Centre for Age Related Diseases, IoPPN. By using in vivo calcium imaging, she is working on understanding neuronal networks and cell communication in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord,  and how dysregulation of signal processing in the area can play a role  in chronic neuropathic pain. Before joining King’s in 2018, she completed her PhD at UCL looking at the role of mitochondria in neuroinflammatory diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.

Douglas Lopes | Wolfson CARD

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