Lab members



Robb rutledge
principal investigator

Robb is a MRC Career Development Fellow. He did a PhD in Neural Science at New York University supervised by Paul Glimcher. He was a postdoc at University College London at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging with Ray Dolan and Peter Dayan before setting up his lab at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research. Robb is interested in subjective feelings like happiness and sadness, and how feelings relate to events in our lives and to future decisions. Robb received the 2018 Spence Award For Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science.

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bastien blain
Post-doctoral researcher

Bastien uses computational modelling and neuroimaging to examine the relationship between experienced utility and decision making, and the role of emotions in decision making and learning. He did his PhD in economics at Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne University under the supervision of Mathias Pessiglione and Guillaume Hollard. In his PhD research, he asked how cognitive fatigue, occurring after many hours of cognitive work (e.g., a workday), alters economic decisions (e.g., the consumption-saving trade-off). Bastien has taught a course in neuroeconomics since 2013 for the Eco&Psycho Masters degree at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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Post-Doctoral researcher

Liam is a cognitive neuroscientist and practicing clinical psychologist. His research focuses on explaining how changes in mood can bias decisions and other goal-directed behaviour in bipolar disorder. By better characterising the psychobiological mechanisms by which patients transition between cycles of elevated and depressed mood, he aims to develop better psychological interventions. In his research, he combines computational modelling, longitudinal smartphone measurements and functional neuroimaging. He holds a PhD and a doctorate in clinical psychology, awarded by the University of Manchester and King’s College London, respectively. Clinically, Liam works in a national and specialist clinic delivering psychological interventions and clinical training for psychosis and bipolar disorder.




Matilde uses behavioural experiments, computational modelling, and functional neuroimaging to investigate how individual differences in executive functions relate to mood. Her goal is to better understand the relationship between psychiatric symptoms and both cognitive traits and brain networks to allow early intervention and identification of markers predating the development of mental illnesses. She obtained a PhD in psychology at the University of Cambridge supervised by Trevor Robbins. Matilde is also supervised by Ray Dolan.

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rachel bedder
PHD Student

Rachel is a PhD student on the Comp2Psych Programme researching the relationship between mood disorders and decision making using computational models. She is particularly interested in how both clinical and non-clinical populations are affected by losses in decision-making paradigms. Previously, Rachel worked as a Research Assistant in the Division of Psychiatry at UCL examining quality of life in people with moderate to severe dementia. She did a MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL supervised by Neil Burgess, and has a BA in Art and Psychology from University of Reading. Rachel used to run the art and neuroscience public engagement company, AXNS Collective.

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Benjamin chew
phd student

Benjamin is a PhD student on the Comp2Psych Programme. His research interests revolve around the neural mechanisms underlying decision making and motivational states, with a focus on how factors such as affect and agency contribute to decision making. He combines neuroimaging and computational modelling that draws on theoretical frameworks from psychology and economics to explore the relationship between overt behaviour and the underlying neural processes. Benjamin has a MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCL. Benjamin is also supervised by Ray Dolan.

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Akshay is a Leonard Wolfson Clinical Training Fellow investigating the neural basis of motivation and apathy. He uses behavioural paradigms, computational modelling and neuroimaging to better understand the mechanisms driving loss of motivation in the general population and patients with Huntington’s disease, a familial neurodegenerative condition. A better understanding of the neural mechanisms underpinning motivated behaviour may guide new treatments for apathy, a common and disabling symptom of many neuropsychiatric conditions. Before moving to UCL, Akshay was a NIHR-funded Academic Clinical Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry (KCL) where he did research in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. He completed his medical degree, and an intercalated degree in neuroscience, at Oxford University. Akshay is also supervised by Sarah Tabrizi and Geraint Rees.

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Yuki Shimura

Yuki is a PhD student on the Comp2Psych Programme and a Masason Foundation Fellow. She uses a combination of functional neuroimaging, behavioural experiments, and computational techniques to study how environmental conditions and subjective feelings modulate state-based learning and decision-making strategies. She also has an interest in understanding the relationship between altruism and happiness. Yuki worked as a Research Assistant in the Intergroup Neuroscience Lab at Harvard University examining a learning-based account of intergroup aggression. As an undergraduate, she studied social psychology and neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles. 



Suzanne buss
lab manager

Suzanne is a BSc student in Biochemistry at the University of Surrey. She is spending her placement year in the Rutledge lab, ensuring the day-to-day smooth running of the lab. She is working with the lab's clinical collaborators to facilitate large-scale data collection using our smartphone app during clinical trials. She is interested in understanding how mood disorders develop and affect everyday activities like decision making. Previously she completed a research project on criminal behaviour and explored whether there are differences in a criminal’s brain structure which might contribute to their behaviour.





Millie Lowther

Millie was an MSc student in Natural Sciences at UCL, majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology and minoring in Mathematics and Statistics. Her research interests included how mood influences decision making and how reward processing is affected in mood disorders. Millie is now working as an Operational Scientist at Cambridge Cognition

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Ellie was an MSc student in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. Her research examined the neural mechanisms that explain how emotion affects decision making, particularly assessing whether mood has a greater impact on decision making when there is greater ambiguity. 




Jak was an MRes student in Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL. His research interests included assessing how mood influences the choices people make and whether computational models can explain why shifts in mood bias our perception of rewards and our willingness to take risks.