If you have a question, please feel free to contact us on . Inquiries should be directed to the relevant officers, or to the President if they do not fit into any of the specific duties of the other committee members. We look forward to hearing from you!

CamBRAIN committee

Executive Committee 2016-2017


The CamBRAIN executive committee  would like to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the outgoing committee for their hard work, their enthusiasm and their dedication to our society!

We are planning an exciting year ahead and we hope you will join us!


PRESIDENT – Veselina Petrova

Hi, everyone! My name is Veselina and I am a second-year PhD student in Clinical Neurosciences working towards improving neuronal regeneration after spinal cord injury. I am absolutely delighted to step into the role of CamBRAIN’s President for the upcoming academic 2016-2017 year. Last year, I had the opportunity to attend a lot of CamBRAIN’s outstanding events and to meet many of the incredibly motivated members on the committee who taught me invaluable lessons on how such a successful society such as CamBRAIN is run. Now, I look forward to working together with my team towards praising, connecting and inspiring neuroscientists at Cambridge and beyond and to putting on a myriad of events which will span a range of interests in the neuroscience field. I look forward to meeting you all!


SECRETARY – Marino Krstulovic

Currently I am a research assistant in the Morton Lab working on sheep models of Huntington’s disease. My main methods of interest are EEG and single cell recordings. I have attended a number of the CamBRAIN events last year and found them to be an amazing place to meet neuroscientists of various interests and backgrounds.  I am glad to be a part of the executive committee this year and hope to continue the great work our society has been doing so far.



My research is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and abnormal behaviour in Huntington’s disease (HD). In addition, I am working as the Cambridge Neuroscience Coordinator and the Senior Treasurer for the CamBRAIN Society.

HeleenJUNIOR TREASURER – Heleen van ‘t Spijker

My name is Heleen, I’m a third year PhD student in the department of clinical neuroscience. I am working on the Perineuronal Net, a mesh-like structure which forms at the end of the critical period for plasticity, in the extracellular matrix of the CNS. As junior treasurer of Cambrain it is my responsibility to take care of the finances of Cambrain, but I also love to help organizing many of our interesting activities. In the last years there have been great events such as talks, panel discussions, and a garden party, so let’s keep it going and continue to connect neuroscience students!


SOCIAL SECRETARY – Nataly Martynyuk

I am a molecular biologist with a clinical interest working on a protein that is potentially involved in multiple neurodegenerative processes called chimaerin. I was following CamBRAIN for 2 years whilst doing my PhD in Clinical Neuroscience, and I feel that I would love to contribute to the society’s development. I attended and participated in many CamBRAIN events including talks and art competitions.
As a Conference Organiser for the Cambridge Neurology Society in 2015/16, I obtained a lot of valuable experience in events organisation as well as connections with neuroscientists, neurologists and neurosurgeons who are motivated to engage with students. Whether you are looking to learn something new, find the right career path, or socialise, I hope you will find our society to be a friendly place.



I am a Gates Scholar pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Professor Trevor Robbins, in the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (BCNI).  I am also halfway through my MD degree in the United States. In my life as an MD/PhD psychiatrist, I aspire to bridge the basic neuroscience and clinical psychiatry communities, foster collaboration, communication, and training opportunities, fight stigma, and raise awareness about mental illness. These efforts will require all possible resources, and strengthening our young neuroscience community will be key. As social secretary, I will advance the commendable enterprise of our important society. I will strive for improved unity of all segments of the neuroscience community in Cambridge so as not to succumb to the geographic and departmental barriers that can hinder efforts towards our common goal: decoding the brain to alleviate human suffering.



I’m Nina, a 2nd year PhD student in Clinical Neurosciences. My research focuses on the role of brain inflammation in Parkinson’s disease and its associated dementia. I am currently investigating this in post-mortem human brains, as well as in vivo, using PET neuroimaging. During the first year of my PhD I attended several events organized by CamBRAIN and I am now looking forward to working together with our great team to live up to the standards set by the previous committee, and bring you more exciting events! To me, a big part of my role as Communications Coordinator is to “sell” the society to new members and make them want to get – and stay involved. Cambridge has a vibrant neuroscience community, combining several exciting disciplines, however, often in the academic environment there is lack of communication between like-minded people. My aim for this year is to bridge that gap and get people excited about neuroscience!


I am a second year PhD student at the Autism Research Centre, in my project I am modeling neuronal development and gene expression in the autistic brain using induced pluripotent stem cells. I also am a proud activist for autism rights and awareness. I have had the privilege of working on autism awareness campaigns across Egypt for over four years. As a high-board member of Rotaract Cairo Royal (Rotary Club partner), I organized professional development sessions, autism awareness campaigns and participated in other impactful community projects. I aim to effectively and clearly communicate science to “lay” people and further analyze the little understood matters of neuroscience in fun and captivating ways through my role outreach coordinator for the CamBrain EC.



I am a first-year PhD student in Clinical Neurosciences at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research. I work on oligodendrocytes, the cells that myelinate neurons. Specifically, I work on oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursor cells which I derive from human pluripotent stem cells through forced expression of key transcription factors, a method called forward programming. With it, my goal is to study the mechanisms underlying its maturation, especially under disease conditions, to seek new ways to improve remyelination in demyelinating diseases. Being part of CamBrain is important to me because I am keen on discovering and learning other areas within neuroscience, especially new and emerging topics. More importantly, experiencing them first-hand from experts and students alike. With this in mind, I took on the role as Interest Groups Coordinator to provide the same opportunity to others. I hope to organise events that will cover a wide range of topics such as public health, social awareness, education and arts and culture.

Board of Trustees 2016-2017


Student Trustees – Deniz Vatansever, Liam Wilson,  Madeleine Walpert, Sally Jennings

Academic Trustee – Professor Barbara J Sahakian


Past CamBRAIN Committee Members

Executive Committee 2015-2016

SRJ_croppedPresident – Sally Jennings

As a founding member of CamBRAIN I have been active in the initial growth of the society and will be president for the coming year. I have previously held the role of social secretary in the society and have also contributed heavily to outreach, particularly the immersive science events, and communications through writing articles for the website. Being involved in several aspects of CamBRAIN has helped me to understand the running of events and how they can be improved. I am looking forward to working with the team and running lots of * hopefully * great events for you all this year.


Secretary – Madeleine Walpertmaddie

I am in the second year of my PhD at the Cambridge Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Group (CIDDRG), Department of Psychiatry. My research is investigating potential biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in adults with Down’s syndrome. The focus of this research is to identify markers in the retina using optical coherence tomography with our collaborators at University College London.

CamBRAIN is a great way to socialise and engage in academic events with people of similar interests and provides an opportunity to communicate with groups outside of the university. This is my second year on the executive committee, I hope to be able to bring my organisational skills to the role of secretary.



Senior Treasurer and Cambridge Neuroscience Coordinator – Dr Dervila Glynn 

My research is focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and abnormal behaviour in Huntington’s disease (HD). In addition, I am working as the Cambridge Neuroscience Coordinator and the Senior Treasurer for the CamBRAIN Society.



Junior Treasurer – Laetitia Schwab2ba7f10

As a founding member of CamBrain, I have witnessed the great energy and potential for this new society, in which I helped set up the website, run the society, and maintain financial records. This year, I would like to continue developing CamBrain. In parallel to pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience, I have been involved in various science-related events such as Pint of Science 2015 and the Cambridge Science Festival. Together with the new committee, I would like to ensure the smooth running of the society and help with the organisation of social and academic events with the aim of connecting students with an interest in neuroscience around Cambridge.


Social Secretaries

OwenOwen Parsons

I’m a second year PhD at the Autism Research Centre. I’ve always been a big advocate of science communication and write for the departmental news team. I enjoyed attending a lot of great CamBRAIN events last year, so I’m excited to now be involved in running the society and helping to put on new events.



Alex_Koala.Alexander Bates

I am a first year PhD student at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, working on neural circuits in the the fruitfully Drosophila melanogaster, examining the logic of their relatively simple olfactory networks. As social secretary I aim to make the society as inclusive to the student body and as prominent in the student eye as possible, trying to reach out to undergraduates, postgraduates and those beyond, whatever their discipline, in the aftermath of society events and down at the pub in its own right. Actually, fruit flies can get drunk, and if that forms a facet of the life of such a simple organism, well, we should see it as only natural in us really.



Communications Coordinator – Julia Gottwaldjulia

I’m in the second year of my PhD in Psychiatry. My research focuses on teenagers with obsessive-compulsive disorder and how their cognition differs from adult patients. When I’m not travelling across the UK to meet patients, I love being involved in science communication. I helped with the Cambridge Science Festival, organised events for Pint of Science, and write for the science magazine BlueSci and the Psychiatry website. Last year, I completed a Science Communication Masterclass at the University of the West of England. Cambridge has a brilliant neuroscience community. I want to get people talking about it – inside and outside our bubble!


Outreach Coordinator – Ryan HamnettRyan

I am a second year PhD student at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where I work on neuronal signalling within the mammalian circadian pacemaker. I believe that public understanding of science is essential, so as Outreach Coordinator I am committed to encouraging greater scientific literacy and promoting the value of neuroscience research to the next generation of scientists. Previously I have organised outreach events as a committee member and editor for science magazines, volunteered at science festival events and had extensive experience presenting research to non-scientific audiences.



JessInterest Groups Coordinator – Jessica Santivanez-Perez

I’m a PhD student fighting neurodegenerative diseases by day, bellydancing by night. My project investigates the mechanisms of pathological alpha-synuclein in human stem cell-derived neurons. When I’m not slaving away taking care of delicate neurons, I love escaping to art museums and searching for hidden street art – hence my role as the Brain Art group coordinator in last year’s committee. Having been actively involved in the founding of CamBRAIN, I’m excited to see it grow further! As the Interest Groups coordinator, I am not only keen on bridging the gap between neuroscience and the arts, but also on organising themed events on education, global mental health, neuroethics, women in neuroscience and other relevant neuroscience topics.

Board of Trustees 2015-2016


Student Trustees – Deniz Vatansever & Liam Wilson

Academic Trustee – Professor Barbara J Sahakian

Executive Committee 2014-2015


President – Deniz Vatansever

Senior Treasurer & Cambridge Neuroscience Coordinator – Dr. Dervila Glynn

Secretary & Communications Officer – Liam Reese Wilson

Junior Treasurer & Communications Officer – Laetitia Schwab

Social Secretaries – Sally Jennings, Tiina Annus & Katie Manning

Outreach Coordinator – Madeleine Walpert

Brain Art Group Coordinator – Jessica Santivanez-Perez

Mental Health Group Coordinator – Alex Lau Zhu

Neuroscience and Law Group Coordinator – Andrew McCombie