PG Mentors


Welcome to the Faculty of Brain Sciences Postgraduate Mentor Scheme.

The Faculty is participating in UCL's Graduate Support Scheme, a range of initiatives to test ways of supporting progression into taught postgraduate education.

The Faculty has appointed 13 PhD students to act as mentors to prospective and current students on postgraduate taught programmes.

Our mentors are experienced postgraduates who currently study here and are able to offer help and advice from a student perspective.

They are available to assist potential students through the application process, and then provide support, guidance and encouragement once they are enrolled and all have an excellent knowledge of UCL and its key support services.

Meet our mentors

Mentors in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact the PaLS Mentors:

Emma Kilford

  • Studying for a 4-year PhD in Mental Health, currently based at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • Able to give advice on what it's like to live and study in London, and what it's like to move here for the first time
  • Able to answer questions about applying for PhDs and funding opportunities
  • Based at UCL for several years, in different roles and departments so happy to answer questions about UCL life in general.

Hannah Dyson

  • Currently studying for a PhD in Developmental Science, investigating how vocabulary interventions impact on primary school children’s language and reading skills

  • Studied Speech and Language Therapy at Postgraduate Level so able to advise on Speech Science and Linguistics programmes

  • Also able to provide information on life as a disabled student at UCL and the support that is available (e.g. Disabled Students’ Allowance)

Julian Tillmann

  • Studying for a PhD in Developmental Science

  • Completed a MSc in Research Methods in Psychology at UCL, so can advise students on studying at UCL and finding accommodation

  • Able to answer questions on the application process/funding opportunities for a PhD and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (DClinPsy)

Matthew Jones

  • Studying for a PhD in psychology of language

  • Completed the CoDes MSc at UCL, so able to offer students advice on studying at Master’s level, living in London, and making the transition to a PhD.

  • Involved in various projects aimed at broadening access to UCL across social class and ethnicity.

Sarah Smith

  • In year two of a three year PhD in Cognitive Psychology (Judgment & Decision Making).

  • Completed a part-time MSc in Social Cognition at UCL while working full time, so can advise on part-time study and transitions from work into full time study.

  • Lived in London for 20 years so knows the city pretty well.

 Zoe Belk

  • Studying for a PhD in Linguistics, based in Chandler House.
  • Completed MRes in Linguistics (specialization in syntax) at UCL, so able to advise on Linguistics and Speech Science programmes, living in London, and making the transition to post-graduate study.
  • International student (from Canada), so able to advise on studying in a new country, finding accommodation and setting up in London

Mentors in the Division of Psychiatry

Contact the DoP Mentor:

Ruth Blackburn

What a Postgraduate Mentor does: For many students, studying for an MSc necessitates the need to uproot to a new university, city or country and this transition is accompanied by a range of practical and personal challenges.  As Postgraduate Mentor for the Division of Psychiatry I am on hand to help current and prospective MSc students get the most out of their time at UCL: I help students navigate the myriad of specialist UCL services (including Finance, Disability, Psychological, and Career services) to find the support that they need.  I can also offer a sympathetic ear and impartial advice to MSc students who would like informal mentoring about any concerns or upcoming decisions (such PhD applications).

About me: I am a PhD student working with the Division of Psychiatry and the Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health on PRIMROSE; an NIHR funded program of work investigating cardiovascular disease prevention in people with severe mental illness.  I have an MSc in Public Health that I completed whilst studying part-time at the Health Protection Agency (now Public Health England).  I have benefited from being mentored throughout my career and hope to help other students explore their options now, and for the future.


Mentors in the Institute of Ophthalmology

Contact the IoO Mentors:

Kristin Luehders

  • Currently, I am studying for a PhD in Developmental Biology at the IoO.

  • I did my BSc and MRes in Pharmacology at the University of Aberdeen and then worked for a year as a research assistant at UCL before deciding to do a PhD.

  • As well as answering general queries, I am also an international student (Germany) and am happy to answer any questions about what it is like to live and study in London.

Martha Robinson

  • I'm a PhD student in Robin Ali's lab in the Department of Genetics, focusing on neuronal behaviour in the early visual system during retinal degeneration.
  • I'm happy to help point you in the right direction with any queries about Masters and PhD programmes, including practical concerns about funding and access. Looking forward to working with you!

Mentors in the Institute of Neurology

Contact the IoN Mentors:

Archy de Berker

  • I’m in the 2nd year of a PhD in Neuroscience

  • I’m on a 4 year PhD Program funded by the Wellcome Trust, so I have lots of experience of rotations and various parts of UCL

  • I moved from a small city (Cambridge), and happy to share my thoughts on the experience

  • I’ve done research from the cellular to the psychological, so able to discuss different research paths
Camilla Nord
  • Studying for a PhD in Clinical Neuroscience, and interested in cognitive and computational models of neuropsychiatric disorders. Camilla also completed her MSc at the Institute of Neurology, UCL, and previously studied at Magdalen College, Oxford University for a BA in Physiology, Psychology, and Philosophy.

  • Camilla is funded jointly by the Brain Research Trust and Medical Research Council for her PhD, and is happy to offer advice on funding, moving to the UK from abroad, and general information about undertaking a PhD.
Fatima Jaffer

  • I graduated from the Royal Free and University College Medical School, London in 2007 and completed core medical training at the Hammersmith Hospital and The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square. I’m currently a clinical research fellow at the MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases at Queen Square and my main research interests are in the genetic basis of neuronal channelopathies. I also have a background in medical education and teach neurology at an undergraduate and postgraduate level.

  • I’ve been associated with UCL for over 10 years and can help with any general questions you may have about studying at UCL, postgraduate taught programmes and any queries related to undertaking postgraduate study with a clinical background.

 Lise Magnollay

  • Studying for a PhD in Neuroscience, with a project looking for MRI biomarkers in multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO)

  • I did my MRes at UCL, using probabilistic tractography (a MRI based technique), thus can advise students on studying at UCL at master level as well as students interested in studying neuroimaging.

  • I am both a mature student and a foreigner (I moved to London from Switzerland for my MRes), so I'm happy to share my experiences with students who are thinking of going back to university/changing career (it was complete career change for me) as well as foreign students wanting more information about living in London and studying at UCL.

  • I can also answer questions on the application process/funding opportunities for PhD positions in neuroscience.


Mentors in the Ear Institute

Contact the Ear Mentor:

Warren Bakay
  • Warren is studying for a PhD in Auditory Neuroscience at the UCL Ear Institute through an Action on Hearing Loss studentship.
  • Completed a BEng in Computer Engineering at Memorial University in Canada and an MSc in Digital Music Processing from Queen Mary, University of London
  • Able to answer questions about applying to programmes and for funding through the Ear Institute.
  • As a Canadian national, can give advice on cultural and academic differences between North America and the UK.