DirectorProf. Slawomir J. NasutoDirector of BEL; Professor of Cybernetics
Prof. Slawomir J Nasuto has received an MSc in Mathematics from the University of Marie Curie-Sklodowska in Lublin, Poland in 1993 and a PhD in Cybernetics from University of Reading in 1999. He has been a member of academic staff in School of Systems Engineering at Reading since 2000. His research interests span computational neuroscience and neuroanatomy, analysis of signals generated by the nervous system including EEG, single neuron and multivariate spike trains or EMG and their applications for Brain Computer Interfaces and Animats (robots controlled by neural cultures). He also have research interests in Stochastic Diffusion Search, an algorithm belonging to a family of Swarm Intelligence methods and he has been involved in applications of such techniques in aerospace problems.
FacultyDr. Evangelos DelivopoulosLecturer
Dr. Evangelos Delivopoulos is a lecturer in Systems Engineering and Neuroscience Interfaces. He received an M.Eng. in electrical and computer engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in 2003. He also received a M.Sc. in Informatics and a Ph.D. in Neural Engineering from the University of Edinburgh in 2004 and 2008 respectively. In the University of Cambridge he developed a soft neural interface to restore bladder control in incontinent canines, aiming to provide viable long term bladder management for patients with spinal cord injury. In the University of Nottingham he investigated stem cell differentiation in tubular hydrogel scaffolds, modelling the formation of the neural tube and revealing potential regeneration strategies after spinal cord injury. His research interests include neuralisation of stem cells, neuronal network formation in biocompatible hydrogels and interfacing compliant microelectrodes with the peripheral nervous system.Dr. Yoshikatsu HayashiLecturer
Dr. Yoshikatsu Hayashi has received a PhD in Statistical Physics of soft matter from Lund University in 2004.
He is a lecturer in Cybernetical Physics. He is interested in neuroscience, behavioural science and physics in complex systems; revealing 1) Nonlinear dynamics governing adaptation behaviour in living creatures, 2) Closed loop of brain and body (equivalently, neural networks and sensory-motor systems), and 3) Mathematical structure underlying behaviour and neural networks. The significant investigation methods range over behavioural experiments, EEG measurement and analysis, robotic systems, mathematical modeling, and their combination. His aim is to reveal how the self-organization of the closed loop system gives rise to awareness or cognition in the interaction with changing environment, or with the other members in the society.Dr. Etienne B. RoeschLecturer
Dr. Etienne B. Roesch is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Science. His research interests include general brain functioning, emotion, perception, attention, consciousness, and cognitive science methods, i.e. theoretical, (biologically plausible) computational and experimental work (ERG, coupled EEG-fMRI and psychophysics). His current efforts involve the development of a theoretical and computational framework to investigate the role of interaction with the environment in giving rise to our experience of the world.Prof. Benjamin J. WhalleyProfessor of Neuropharmacology; Pharmacy Director of Research
Dr. Benjamin J. Whalley is a Professor in Neuropharmacology and Director of Research within the School of Pharmacy. His research interests lie in investigating neuronal processes that underlie complex physiological functions such as neuronal hyperexcitability states and their consequential disorders (e.g. epilepsy, ataxia and dystonias) and learning and memory. A significant component of this research has been the development of experimental platforms that combine biological (in vitro) and machine (robotic) systems to produce ‘animats’ as tools for investigating the cellular correlates of complex CNS functions. Prof. Whalley’s work has identified cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of anticonvulsants in clinical use, with two components of cannabis identified and characterised by Prof. Whalley are now being developed in Phase II and Phase III human clinical trials as treatments for drug-resistant paediatric epilepsies.
Research StaffDr. Nicoletta NicolaouResearch Fellow
Nicoletta Nicolaou has received her BSc. (Hons) in Cybernetics & Control Engineering (2001), and her PhD in Cybernetics (2006) from the Department of Cybernetics, University of Reading, UK. She then joined the Holistic Electronics Research Lab and the KIOS Research Centre at the University of Cyprus as a Research Fellow (2007-2014). In 2014-2016 she joined the Institute of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Imperial College London, as a Marie-Curie Fellow. She has now rejoined the University of Reading as part of the EPSRC-funded project “Brain-Computer Music Interface for Monitoring and Inducing Affective States” and remains an Honorary Research Fellow at Imperial College London.
Her main research interests are biomedical signal processing, with emphasis on the study of electrical brain activity (EEG) during anaesthesia. More specifically, she is investigating how the patterns of brain connectivity are affected by anaesthetic administration, in order to identify mechanisms of anaesthetic-induced unconsciousness for predicting / preventing awareness during surgery. Her general research interests include the study of EEG activity for various applications (e.g. brain-computer interfaces), mental states (e.g. sleep), and disorders (e.g. epilepsy).
Nicoletta has served as a Technical Committee member for a number of conferences and is a regular reviewer for a number of international journals and conferences. Throughout her research career she has received a number of awards, including first prize at the international data analysis competition of MLSP 2005 and the Best Paper Award at BIODEVICES 2008.
Postgraduate StudentsMrs. Isil BilginPhD Student
Mrs Bilgin holds BSc in Mathematical Science and MSc in Information Technologies in Game Development & Design from Istanbul Technical University. In her prior degrees and professional work, she mostly focused on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and learning technologies. She completed her MSc in Neuroscience of Language in 2012 from the University of Reading, with her thesis on morphological influences on Turkish compound processing. She recently started her PhD on methods of characterising and decoding functional connectivity patterns from joint EEG/fMRI recordings of integrated semantic and syntactic information processing. The research will be used to establish the nature of integrated linguistic representations, which promises significant implications for language parsing systems that could be used as part of assistive technology providing augmented communication for subjects with linguistic impairments.Mr. Harry EberlePhD Student
Harry Eberle is an postgraduate student studying artificial intelligence and cybernetics. His master’s thesis was on integrating visual and somatosensory feedback to reach a target object with a simulated arm.Ms. Orla Margaret FannonPhD Student
Orla Fannon holds a B.A in Psychology from University College Dublin, and an MSc in Neuroscience from Trinity College Dublin. Her MSc research investigated the protective effects of the tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline against TNFα-induced decrease of neuronal complexity in vitro. Her PhD research aims to develop an enhanced protocol for differentiating stem cells into mature neurons implementing a novel combined 3D hydrogel scaffold and co-culture technique. The resulting neuronal populations are characterised using immunofluoresence, western blot PCR, in addition to using electrophysiological techniques to assess functionality. Her supervisors are Dr. Evangelos Delivopoulos (School of Systems Engineering), Dr. Angela Bithell (School of Pharmacy) and Dr. Ben Whalley (School of Pharmacy).Anne-Marie GreenawayPhD Student
Miss Anne-Marie Greenaway holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and PGCE Science from Middlesex University, and an MSc in Clinical Language Science (Neuroscience) from the University of Reading. Her MSc research investigated the lexical content and richness of connected speech in Alzheimer’s disease as an early diagnostic tool. She recently started her PhD as part of the EPSRC-funded project “Brain-Computer Music Interface for Monitoring and Inducing Affective States”. Under the supervision of Dr. Faustina Hwang, Prof. Slawomir J. Nasuto and Dr. Aileen Ho, Anne-Marie will be investigating the use of a technology based musical intervention to modulate negative affective states in people with dementia.Mr. Deppo Singh JunejaPhD Student
Mr. Juneja holds a BSc from the University of Roehampton, London in Biological Science and recently completed his MSc from University College London (UCL) in Neuroscience. His undergraduate thesis focused on describing the role of interleukin-1 and endocannabinoids on microglial function and the subsequent impact on brain repair and neurodegeneration. Additionally, his master’s project focused on investigation of pathogenic mediators in GBA mutation-associated Parkinson’s disease (PD).
At Reading, he is working towards his PhD in Cybernetics. Under the supervision of Dr. Evangelos Delivopoulos and Prof. Slawomir J. Nasuto the project he is working on is trying to elucidate how astrocytes affect the activity of neural networks, and whether they have an impact on sensorimotor integration.Mr. Balasundaram KadirveluPhD Student
Balasundaram Kadirvelu has received his Bachelor of Engineering in electronics and communications engineering. He is currently doing a part-time PhD under Prof. Nasuto. His research focuses on combining the computational neuroscience modelling of the activity of cultures (in the presence of Acetylcholine) with the recent approaches to assessing functional connectivity based on estimating the joint probability distribution of culture activity patterns using Ising models stemming from statistical physics.Mr. Dawid LaszukPhD Student
Mr. Dawid Laszuk has received his MSc in Physics (Biomedical speciality) from the University of Warsaw. His thesis concentrated on creating interface and data analysis methods for hybrid brain computer interfacing. He is currently engaged in research to achieve his PhD in Electronic Engineering, this work involves empirical mode decomposition implemented on a graphical processing unit for the analysis of neurological signals (primarily EEG). His research interests also include augmentation and integration of organic and electrical components.Mr. Xinzhe LiPhD Student
Mr. Xinzhe Li has received his BSc in biological science from the University of Science and Technology of China. His undergraduate thesis focused on the real-time interface of hippocampus location neurons. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Cybernetics. His research concentrates on revealing the control laws of upper limb motion and the neurodynamics in the brain. His final goal is to realize the EEG-EMG hybrid controlled neural prosthesis.Mr. Asad MalikPhD Student
Mr. Asad Malik started his PhD in BEL in early 2015. His project is on developing a method for combined EEG-fMRI data analysis. Prior to this, Asad was working on the BCMI-MIdAS project that is developing a BCI system that will monitor user emotions and use them as feedback for generating music. He has BSc (Hons) degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan) and an MRes in Computer Music from the University of Plymouth. His Master’s thesis was a survey on the neuroscience of music.Ms. Victoria Wumi OguntosinPhD Student
Victoria Oguntosin holds a BEng in Electrical Engineering from the University of Ilorin as well as an MSc in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Greenwich. Her PhD work at the University of Reading is on the development of a soft modular robotic arm. The research project involves building an assistive arm that is actuated by air to be controlled by a control law that combines sensory and joint space information. BCI technology would be used to test the use of the soft modular arm on both healthy and stroke patients.Mr. Oliver RoeslerPhD Student
Mr. Oliver Roesler holds a BSc from the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University. His undergraduate thesis focused on the development of a rule-based semantic role labelling algorithm.
His PhD work is about the development of a conversational agent. Special emphasis lies on the development of an appropriate knowledge representation to store conversational, common sense and world knowledge as well as the coupling of the theoretical world model with the sensors and actuators of the agent in a simulated environment.Ms. Catriona Louise ScrivenerPhD Student
Miss Catriona Louise Scrivener holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Cognitive Neuropsychology from University of Kent. Her master thesis focused on the electrophysiological effects of Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation on attention in change blindness. She is currently working on development of a joint analysis method for coupled EEG-fMRI.Mr. Rodrigo Siqueira De SouzaPhD Student
Mr. Siqueira De Souza is a biologist from University of Brazil, who received his M.Sc in Neuroscience in 2013 by the same University. Now, he is doing a Ph.D in Cybernetics at University of Reading, working on the Animat Project (robots controlled by neural cultures). Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, he has experience in Computational Neuroscience, brain evolution, Bioinformatics (Molecular Docking and Rational Drug Design), Astrobiology and Paleontology (mostly three-dimensional modeling usages and vertebrate paleontology). Here, in BEL, he is dealing with the effects of lesions in neuronal networks, specially, how they disrupt behaviors and how stem cells integrate to restore function. He is also working on biological-inspired complex network models, astrobiology, and public outreachMr. Nicolas ThornePhD Student
Mr. Nicolas Thorne received his Bsc in Cognitive Systems from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada and his Msc in Cybernetics from Reading University. He is currently pursuing a PhD degree under Prof. Nasuto, Dr. Hayashi and Dr. Honisch (SPCLS). His work focuses on modelling how humans are able to communicate with each other through touch in order to complete a task. High density EEG data will be taken of each pair of participants and analyzed to find the large-scale neural networks that characterize the different states that can be observed during the experiment.Ms. Maitreyee WairagkarPhD Student
Maitreyee Wairagkar started her PhD at BEL after she took her MEng in Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics in 2014. Her research interests are developing BCI systems by using machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques and studying its different paradigms. Her previous projects include a UROP project for development of Steady-State Visually-Evoked Potential (SSVEP) based BCI for cursor control and online signal processing and classification of EEG signals for motor imagery based BCI. She is currently working on reliably predicting voluntary movement and the development of a system for prediction and classification of imaginary movements.Mr. Ioannis D. ZouliasPhD Student
Ioannis D. Zoulias holds an MEng in Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics from the University of Reading. His master’s thesis focused on developing biomimetic robotic arms, with realistic constraints on joint dislocation. His PhD is investigating how humans experience their body through the concepts of body ownership, agency of motion and multisensory integration. His research interests include reinforcement learning in neural networks, virtual reality and haptic interfaces, functional electrical stimulation and rehabilitation.
AlumniMr. Sajeel AhmedBSc Student
Sajeel Ahmed is an undergraduate student studying Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics. His final year thesis is on modelling the hippocampus and how the memory capability of the model is altered by inducing the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Currently he is investigating the nature of strong anticipation through analytic and numerical calculations of dynamic coupled equations.Mr William ClarkBSc Student
William is a 3rd year BSc student in robotics. His final year project involves making a learning walking robot using silicon and compressed air. He is interested in how this new concept in robotics can be used and improved on until one day all of the circuitry and the control can be embedded in the actual body of the robot. He is currently working with Dr. Yoshikatsu Hayashi in the tHRIL Lab.Dr. Ian DalyPost Doctoral Research Assistant
Ian Daly received the M.Eng. degree in Computer science and the Ph.D. degree in Cybernetics from the University of Reading. Between May 2011 – 2013 he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Laboratory of Brain-Computer Interfaces, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria, where he researched Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for individuals with stroke and cerebral palsy. From 2013 – 2016 he worked as post-doctoral researcher in the University of Reading, where his research focused on developing novel BCIs for music therapy. Ian is currently a Lecturer at the School of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, University of Essex. Ian’s research interests include BCIs, nonlinear dynamics, machine learning, signal processing, bio-signal analysis, meta-heuristic search techniques, and connectivity analysis in the EEG and fMRI. He is also interested in the neurophysiological correlates of motor control, emotion, and stimuli perception and how they differ between healthy individuals and individuals with neurological and physiological impairments.Mr. Daniel DeanPhD Student
Daniel Dean completed a BSc in Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence in 2011. Currently he is developing distributed Reservoir Computing using self-organising networks as his PhD. Other fields of interest include Swarm Intelligence, Neural Networks and Distributed Intelligence.Dr. Timothée T. DubucPhD Student
Dr. Timothée T. Dubuc holds an engineering diploma in computer science (2010) as well as a Masters degree in Machine Learning. Interested in brain capabilities and behaviours, he switched to neuro-informatics in 2013 and joined as a PhD student at the University of Reading. He is currently working on a neural field model of the human retina with the goal of investigating the architecture underlying visual information processing. This project aims to create and validate a realistic and well understood model of human visual processing.Mr. Marcus HaagPhD Student
Marcus Haag holds a BSc in Cognitive Science (Cognitive Psychology) from the University of Osnabrueck, and MSc in Neurosciences (Systems Neurosciences) from the University of Bremen. During his first degrees, he analysed the mechanistic implementation of signal transmissions in the brain using a variety of methodological approaches (e.g. single- and multi-electrode electrophysiology, electroencephalography, functional magnetic resonance imaging). His PhD work at the University of Reading investigates network dynamics in primary cultures of neuronal tissue using multi-channel electrophysiological, signal processing and molecular biological approaches in order to enhance the efficacy of anti-epileptic drugs. His supervisors were Dr Ben Whalley, Dr Gary Stephens (both School of Pharmacy) and Dr Christian Wolff (UCB Pharma). Marcus currently works at the Institute of Neuroscience, University of Newcastle where he is investigating the role of the thalamus in signal processing between (sub-)cortical areas.Mr Vitor HazinBSc Student
Vitor Hazin is an undergraduate student from Brazil, he was studying Mechanical Engineering with emphasis in Mechatronics at Federal University of Pernambuco, where he took part of Mangue Baja Team, project to design and build an off-road vehicle to join in national and international championships. At Reading he is studying Robotics, working on the Animat Project, research to control a mobile robot with neural cultures and then simulate a stroke and see the responses after use stem cells on the culture. Currently, he is making simulations with the virtual robot in mazes.Ms. Katherine Heseltine-FlynnMEng student
Katherine Heseltine-Flynn is an undergraduate student studying Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics. Her master’s thesis is on modelling an animats’ brain and investigating how the simulation learns. Her interests include mapping the brain’s different cortices and understanding memory. Currently she is working on an online BCI using a motor imagery paradigm.Ms. Maryam Karimi DomalMEng Student
Maryam Karimi Domal is an undergraduate student studying MEng Cybernetics. Her third year project is going to be on the cognitive robot. Currently she is pursing EPSRC research in strong anticipation in particular the study of perception and action. Her interest is in understanding how sensations are initiated by the brain through EEG analysis and further to apply this in robotics.Mr. Matthew J. PitkinMRes Student
Mr. Matthew J Pitkin recently began an MRes course in Systems Engineering (specialising in brain computer interfacing) at the university, and is hoping to continue his work into a PHD. He is currently investigating motor submovements, and means by which the information the brain encodes said submovements can be deciphered via EEG. Other research interests include neurally controlled prostheses, and human enhancement.Dr. Anthony J. PortelliPost Doctoral Research Fellow
Dr Anthony J Portelli holds a PhD in Computer Science and a Master of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics. Currently he is working as a post doctoral research fellow on continuing the development of non-contact quick application bio-potential electrodes and novel BCIs. His research interests include Brain Computer Interfacing (BCI), novel sensor technologies and signal processing techniques.Dr. Matthew C. SpencerPost Doctoral Research Assistant
Dr. Matthew C Spencer completed his PhD in 2012 on data-driven and modelling techniques for the study of evolving complex networks describing neuronal functional connectivity dynamics, in both cellular cultures and whole-brain EEG. Applications of his research pertain to animats and brain-computer interfaces as well as to the classification of complex system dynamics in general. He is currently working as a post-doctoral research assistant in the Brain Embodiment Lab, investigating the computational power of bio-realistic machine intelligence paradigms and continuing his work on stochastic network models of brain connectivity.Mr. James WeaverPhD Student
James Weaver received his BSc in Biomedical Engineering and Cybernetics in 2012. His thesis focused on predicting epileptic seizures by analysing EEG data and applying a variety signal processing techniques. His PhD in Computer Science focused on developing a brain computer interface (BCI) that can estimate the emotional state of an individual whilst they listen to emotionally charged music. Through analysis of joint EEG/fMRI recordings, this research attempted to model these emotions so that the BCI system can successfully alter the emotional state by changing the parameters of the musical stimuli presented. James now works for Tessella, a world-class centre for analytics located in Oxford, UK.Mr. Paul WrightPhD Student
Mr Paul Wright is a part-time PhD with the Brain Embodiment Lab conducting research into the objective measurement of train driving performance using EEG analysis. This includes its applications in understanding human factors and improved safety system design.