Brain Sciences


LGBTQ+ equity at Brain Sciences

In March 2023, the Faculty of Brain Sciences LGBTQ+ Equity Committee hosted a week of daily lunchtime research talks, marking the end of LGBT+ History Month and looking forward to Brain Awareness Week.

Each talk in the series was given by a researcher from the Faculty’s LGBTQ+ Equity Committee, showcasing our individual research interests. Our speakers included PhD students, clinical research fellows, and members of faculty from across the Divisions and Institutes Brain Sciences. Talks presented work in a selection of areas in psychology, neuroscience, and neurology, including the study of microaggressions and their impact on the trans community, investigations of developmental risk of psychopathology, and applications of advanced MRI techniques to assess neurological conditions.

All the talks were recorded and can be watched again here. Each talk lasts between 10-25mins: perfect to enjoy on your next lunch break!

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Prof Carolyn McGettigan on 'Using vocal tract MRI to study the 'ground truth' of human vocal communication'

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Alexis An Lee Yow on 'Worry as motivation gone wrong'

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Dr Michael Foster on 'The use of advaned MRI techniques in demyelinating clinically isolated syndrome'

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Prof Essi Viding on 'Developmental risk for psychopathy through a multi-method lens'

The Faculty of Brain Sciences LGBTQ+ Equity Group has a number of aims:

  • To represent the views of LGBTQ+ staff and students, and those closely associated with them, and act as a body of expertise on LGBTQ+ Equity in FBS.
  • To advise Senior Management in the Faculty of Brain Sciences and FBS EDI/Inclusion Leads on how to promote a culture which includes LGBTQ+ people and celebrates diversity and acceptance.
  • To deepen the knowledge of the many facets of LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion issues experienced by FBS staff and students.
  • To take proactive measures to challenge and redress historic patterns of inequality faced by LGBTQ+ people, and LGBTQ+ people with multiple protected characteristics e.g. LGBTQ+ Disabled people, older LGBTQ+ People, BAME LGBTQ+ people, etc.
  • To provide opportunities for social and professional networking among group members
  • To identify positive environmental, behavioural and institutional good practice to be shared, preserved, celebrated and amplified.


The LGBTQ+ Equity subcommittee meets at least once a term and is open to staff and students in the Faculty who identify as LGBTQ+ or who have a significant interest/experience in LGBTQ+ equity. To apply to join the group, please contact Michael Foster (m.a.foster@ucl.ac.uk).

For updates on our activities, staff and students can join Out@BrainSciences (for LGBTQ+ identified members of UCL) and FBS LGBTQ+ (for LGBTQ+ staff, students, and allies) on Teams.

Meet the Team:

Michael Foster: Chair

Michael Foster

Michael Foster (he/him) is a Clinical Research Fellow and Neurology Specialist Registrar at the Institute of Neurology. His research centres around the use of MRI in demyelinating conditions, particularly its application to interrogate the structural connectivity of the brain in the early stages of diseases like multiple sclerosis.

Professor Carolyn McGettigan: Chair (Sabbatical)

Photo of Carolyn.

Carolyn is a Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences within the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences.

Carolyn is proud to sit on the Faculty of Brain Science’s EDI committee as the LGBTQ+ Lead. Together with the LGBTQ+ committee, Carolyn hopes to represent and improve the experience of LGBTQ+ staff and students within the Faculty to ensure it is a place where people can truly bring their full selves to work and study.

Dr Soraya Dunn

Photo of Soraya smiling at the camera.

Dr Soraya Dunn (she/her) is a postdoctoral researcher in Neuroscience at the UCL Ear Institute. 

Soraya is an Inclusion Lead at the Ear Institute and co-authors an institute newsletter highlighting EDI issues and opportunities for the department. As the daughter of a first-generation Iranian immigrant, she is particularly keen to ensure intersectionality is a core component of all the EDI work she is a part of.

Soraya is passionate about making science equitable and inclusive for all, and wants to help make our faculty safe and welcoming for all queer, trans, and gender diverse people.

Garrett Kidd

Garrett Kidd is a Research Assistant in the Division of Psychiatry on a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) study of homelessness and memory problems in older adults. Alongside his post at UCL, he works with people detained under the Mental Health Act as an Assistant Psychologist in the NHS. 

Garrett became a member of the LGBTQ+ Equity team because he is passionate about improving the lives of individuals who are traditionally marginalised. He has previously researched suicidality among Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people using nationally representative Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Surveys in the UK. 

Dr Michael Moutoussis

Photo of Michael smiling.

Michael is a psychiatrist (medical psychotherapist) and a PI in the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging (clinical lecturer in neuroscience) .

He is an old het cis man, very proud of his many queer students and colleagues, as well as of his two queer adult children. He is passionate about many issues of social justice. He is here to listen to and to support LGBTQ+ Brain Faculty students and workers.

As a first generation immigrant psychiatrist, he is keenly aware of the many barriers and the toll on mental health as well as the many barriers that queer folk face internationally. At the same time, he is hugely inspired by the LGBTQ+ movement, not just about its recent achievements in overcoming adversity; but also in the completely new perspective on life and equality LGBTQ+ folk have brought.

Lloyd Prosser

Lloyd (Llwyd) Prosser is a Research Assistant and PhD student at The Dementia Research Centre, UCL. Their research focuses on Imaging Biomarkers of Ageing.

Llwyd aims to work closely with the Faculty’s LGBTQ+ sub-committee to help bring a more inclusive environment to both their department, and UCL. They understand the great strives that UCL and the wider community has achieved within LGBTQ+ needs, and hope to further foster positive change.

Alexa Richardson

Alexa currently works within the PALS Professional Services Team and is proud to be a part of the Brain Sciences LGBTQ+ EDI sub-committee! It’s been great to see an increase in EDI activities within workplaces and beyond in recent years, but whilst EDI initiatives have rightly gained momentum and exposure, there is always more to do.

Alexa is happy to be a part of this group to help further promote equality, diversity and inclusion not just within this sub-group, but also within all minority groups.

Professor Essi Viding 

Photo of Essi, wearing pride coloured wings and smiling.

Professor Essi Viding chaired UCL’s Mental Health Strategy, with key strategic priorities of interdisciplinary research, capacity building, and student and staff mental health. LGBTQ+ equality is central to all aspects of implementing the strategy.

Essi is keen to facilitate innovative and informative research in to LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing, to support initiatives that include LGBTQ+ representation among academics doing mental health research, and to ensure that LGBTQ+ needs are represented in student and staff mental health initiatives. Essi is a longstanding ally who is personally invested in the aims of the FBS LGBTQ+ committee.