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e-BRAIN Team

Meet the team!


Professor Paola Dazzan

Principle Investigator

I have the honour of leading the e-BRAIN project and team. You can read here what an amazing group of people they are!

I have worked at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience for as long as I can remember! I graduated as a Medical Doctor at the University of Cagliari (Italy), which is located in one of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands. I already knew I wanted to become a psychiatrist when I started medicine, as I have a true passion for knowing how the brain works, and looking into how we can make sure we keep good mental health even when going through the challenges of life. I came to the UK in 1994 to train in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital, and did my PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry (as it was called at the time). Since then, I have shared my work between doing research and caring as a doctor for people with mental health problems. As well as a passion for research, I am very interested in promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting the career progression of under-represented groups. I contribute to this both at our Institution, but also Internationally as Secretary of the Schizophrenia Research Society, and using social media like twitter (@paola_DZN) to highlight important diversity issues. 

When I am not working, I love travelling and have a real passion for faraway places, having visited most of Asia on buses, trains, hiking or on rivers! My other true love, which comes from my Mediterranean blood, is the sea, and you can always see me craving for sun and beaches, diving in tropical waters, lying on the warm sand, or sailing on the blue sea.


Rebecca Pollard

Study Coordinator

I am currently a research assistant on the e-BRAIN study and I am very excited to have recently started studying for my PhD investigating resilience in adolescence. I’m interested in learning what makes some young people really good at coping with stress and adversity, and if there is a link between how different parts of the brain work and the ability to deal with stress.

I had been working as a research assistant for a few years before starting on the e-BRAIN study, I previously worked on studies focussing on schizophrenia both at KCL and at the University of Oxford. Before that, I worked in clinical mental health settings in a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy service and on an acute Neurosurgery ward. I studied my undergraduate degree in Neuroscience and a Masters degree in Psychology at the University of Bristol.

In my spare time I really like doing any form of exercise, mainly a sport called Korfball, which is basically a mix between netball and basketball, when social distancing rules allow. I am also an avid traveller and love going on backpacking trips and exploring, hiking and surfing as much as I can. 


Maryam Matter

Research Assistant

I joined the e-BRAIN team as a research assistant in December 2020 and it has been quite an incredible journey so far. I am so grateful to be a part of such impactful and valuable research, and such a wonderful research team!

I completed my part-time Masters in Neuroscience at King's College London in September 2020, and prior to that completed my undergraduate degree in Pharmacology at the University of Hertfordshire in 2017.

Outside of academia and work, I love playing video games, mostly on the PC but I also have a Nintendo Switch! I love creative writing and have contributed a number of blogs as a member of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience.

In my spare time, I’m a volunteer befriender at Maytree, a residential respite centre for people who are feeling suicidal. I’m also an MSc Neuroscience global majority leader/BAME female coach & mentor, providing mentees with a safe space, whereby they can discuss the realities of being a female student of global majority background in science, whilst also receiving academic and personal support throughout their journey on the course.


Xuemei Ma

PhD Student

As the only child and girl in a normal Chinese family, I successfully entered Fudan University (ranking 3rd in China) at age 18, with the highest score in my high school.

I spent 8 years completing both my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Medicine at Fudan University, Shanghai, which is 4000 kilometres away from my hometown.

I have had rich experiences in various research areas, such as the investigation of endemic diseases, environmental health, child development programs, China-African community healthcare system and maternal-child pairs cohorts.

I am a feminist and have a keen interest in gender, health and education equality. I have various volunteering experiences, for example, I was honoured “one of the 10 Teachers of the Year Award as part of ‘No Child Left Behind’ Internet Support Education” in 2018.


Alice Chen

PhD Student

I have been a member of the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience (IoPPN) since 2019. Currently a year 2 PhD student, I am actively involved in the e-BRAIN study, in which we look into the link between early life adversities and adolescent mental health.

My research interests are the associations between early life stress exposure and the development/manifestation of psychopathology, and how the immune system could come into play. Before joining IoPPN, I worked as a clinical psychiatrist in Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, Taiwan. As an introvert, I write novellas and DIY doll houses during my leisure times.

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Nuria Mackes

Postdoctoral Image Analyst

My name is Nuria and I am postdoctoral scientist at King’s College London. As a member of the e-BRAIN team, I analyse brain scans. I am interested to find out what influence our childhood experiences can have on brain development.

For my undergrad, I studied psychology. For me, psychology was the perfect combination of the topics that I had liked at school: biology, maths, sociology, and many more. For my master’s I chose neuroscience, because I realised that all human behaviour, emotions and thoughts are caused by changes in brain activity.

When I am not analysing brain scans, I like to go climbing. The most remote place I have climbed was a limestone cliff in Laos. I am not afraid of heights but very much of the spiders that we saw on the jungle trek to that cliff.