UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


Josephine Barnes

Jo Barnes

Overview of current position and main responsibilities 

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases working at 0.8 FTE. I am lucky to be both a PhD supervisor and the Faculty of Brain Sciences Graduate Tutor for research students. This means I spend much of my time working with, or thinking about, postgraduate students. In addition to this I am involved with the mentoring schemes at QSIoN and the parents’ and carers’ EDI working groups.    

What was you career path to this position and subject area? 

This is my second career. I had a mini career in science-based television production following my first degree. I’ve never considered this a mistake as it has given me a unique perspective on life and working outside academia. I joined the QSIoN as a research assistant performing image analysis in dementia and was lucky to be given the opportunity to perform a PhD part-time alongside my other duties. I was subsequently awarded a junior fellowship and then a senior fellowship with an extension. 

Do you feel you have a good work/life balance? Why? 

Similar to many people I have periods where the workload extends beyond my contracted hours. However, overall, my schedule is fairly flexible which enables me to have a reasonable work / life balance. I became part-time following my return from my first maternity leave. During COVID-19 it was quite useful to work fewer hours to help with homeschooling. I am still part-time and this has helped with scheduling various appointments for my autistic child.   

Who has inspired your career? 

I think my colleagues and students are the most inspirational people in my life with respect to my career. I’m blown away with how capable and skilled they are.  

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Try to enjoy good things when they happen. Don’t just look at the next thing you need to do! 

What is the best thing about working at IoN? 

Without doubt it’s the collaborations that can be built within the institute. There are so many complimentary disciplines that enable people to address the same scientific question from many different angles.