UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology



Professor Sven Bestmann

Professor Bestmann's academic profile

sven bestmann


Professor Nick Ward

Professor Ward's academic profile

Nick Ward
Dr Ainslie Johnstone

I am interested in the physiological processes that underlie motor learning and motor control. In my recent projects I have been studying how these processes can be altered by interventions, such as non-invasive brain stimulation or pharmacological agents, and the effect these have on behaviour. I am currently funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust and am primarily investigating how we can individualise brain stimulation interventions to enhance motor recovery in patients after a stroke.  

Ainslie Johnstone
Dr Catharina Zich

I am a postdoctoral researcher with Prof. Nick Ward and Prof. Sven Bestmann at UCL (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences) and an honorary member of the University of Oxford (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences). 

My main research aim is to advance our understanding of movement-related brain activity to facilitate human motor plasticity. To this end I use a suit of neuroimaging techniques, whereby my key methods are EEG and MEG. I am part of the BEST project, which is funded by Brain Research UK.

During my PhD (2013-2017) at the University of Oldenburg with Prof. Stefan Debener and Dr. Cornelia Kranczioch I used EEG-based neurofeedback and tDCS to modulate movement-related neural activity in younger and older healthy adults as well as in stroke survivors. As a postdoc (2017-2019) with Prof. Charlotte Stagg (University of Oxford) I applied Hidden Markov Modelling to characterise movement-related changes in cortical beta and gamma activity. 

More details including publications can be found in my IRIS profile

catharina zich
Dr Carys Evans

My main research aim is to explore interventions in pathology and healthy ageing. During my PhD and postdoctoral research, I have focused on upper limb impairments following stroke and whether motor skill learning can be enhanced with brain stimulation. Currently, I am investigating how cortical excitability changes after stroke and whether brain stimulation can reliably enhance brain plasticity when dose-controlled. My postdoctoral research has also explored how effects of brain stimulation on mood and emotion processing might differ depending on individual differences. Please see my personal website for more information.  

carys evans
Evridiki Gregoriou

My current interests are post-stroke motor rehabilitation, and how modern neurostimulation approaches could be used to support therapy. My PhD research is focused on using non-invasive brain stimulation, specifically, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to influence motor function. I use models of current flow to ask how dose-controlled application of tDCS can help deliver more reliable and reproducible stimulation.

Open Science Framework link to registered studies


Evridiki Gregoriou
Lydia Mardell

I am an MRC funded PhD student with Professor Nick Ward and Professor Sven Bestmann in the ARM lab. My research uses magnetoencephalography (MEG) and optically pumped magnetometers (OPM) to study the sensorimotor system. I am interested in how the signals recorded using these modalities, such as beta events, are generated within the brain and how they correlate to behaviour and plasticity. During my PhD I aim to discover how these signals are altered by drug-induced or disease brain states and what this may reveal about the underlying generators. 



lydia mardell
Jenny Lee

My PhD research is focused on changes in cortical excitability after stroke, and how this might be important for recovery of upper limb function. I’m particularly interested in non-invasive brain stimulation and I like using current flow modelling to see where, and how much current might be flowing in the brain when stimulation is applied.  I want to know if individualised delivery of tDCS could reduce variability in outcomes. Thanks to Brain Research UK for funding the project!

Jenny Lee
Silvia Seghezzi

I have joined the lab as a visiting PhD student from the University of Milano-Bicocca. My main research interests include intentional motor processes and action awareness. Under the supervision of Professor Eraldo Paulesu, the main focus of my PhD has been the study of the neurofunctional correlates of the sense of agency. To this aim, I have combined behavioural, neuroimaging (fMRI), brain stimulation (TMS) and meta-analytical techniques. My current project is now aiming to investigate the neurophysiology of sense of agency in the active inference framework, by using MEG.

Silvia Seghezzi
Benjamin Beare

Ben Beare has worked at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery as a Neurological Physiotherapist since 2011. He has developed a special interest in shoulder pain which is common complication of many neurological conditions. Ben is currently completing the final year of his Stroke Association funded PhD at the ARM lab, ‘Exploring bio-psycho-social factors in the onset and treatment of post stroke shoulder pain’.

William Kistler

I am a PhD student studying jointly with Drs. Sven Bestmann of UCL and Leo Cohen of the NINDS. Broadly, my project examines how people with and without neurological damage control movement and learn new motor skills. Specifically, I study how and at what time humans optimize their movement during skill learning with behavioural, machine learning, and MEG methods to understand what a brain is actually processing when it “learns” a new motor skill. Understanding this process may allow us to implement more precise therapy for persons who wish to “re-learn” daily activities following stroke.

Angelo Dawson

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