We are delighted to announce our confirmed speakers for the EWIC 2023 conference.
Joel Pearson is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), an Australian Research Council Future Fellow at Future Minds Lab, MindX and Agile Science.
An internationally recognised leader in human consciousness research and applied Cognitive neuroscience, Pearson is the leading authority on mental imagery research (the human imagination).
He began studying art and film making in Sydney at College of Fine Arts COFA (now UNSW Art and Design) before deciding to apply learned creative discovery techniques to the scientific mysteries of human consciousness and the complexities of the brain. He completed his science PhD in two years while travelling and speaking at conferences and University lectures.
Celebrating a decade in 2019, UNSW Future Minds Lab is a global first, hands on, human-centred research lab/agency exploring the Psychology and Neuroscience of design, innovation and entrepreneurship, cognitive optimisation and the future of work and education. UNSW Future Minds Lab is creating products and services from its discoveries to deepen our collective understanding and build a better world.
Emily Holmes, PhD, DClinPsych is a Professor in Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Uppsala University, Sweden. She is also affiliated to the Karolinska Institute's Department of Clinical Neuroscience, and is a Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, UK.
Holmes received her degree in Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, UK. She is also a clinician and completed a clinical psychology training doctorate at Royal Holloway University of London, and a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience in Cambridge, UK.
She is an Associate Editor for Behaviour Research and Therapy. She serves on the Board of Trustees of the research charity "MQ; transforming mental health". She was elected to the Swedish Academy of Sciences in 2019.
Holmes' research group is particularly curious about mental imagery and emotion. Holmes' research has demonstrated that mental imagery has a more powerful impact on emotion than its verbal counterpart.
Holmes' work as a clinical psychologist has also fuelled her research questions. She is interested in psychological treatment innovation in mental health - both in creating new techniques and reaching more people. Under the wider umbrella of "mental health science", her approach brings together psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, maths and more.
Her group is particularly interested in understanding and reducing intrusive imagery-based memories after trauma. This is relevant for people after a traumatic event, whether a severe motor vehicle accident, traumatic childbirth or war.
As well as studying intrusive memories and flashbacks, she coined the term 'flash-forwards' to describe intrusive mental imagery of future events. Fundamental research on mental imagery is fascinating in its own right, and may also help as drive treatment innovation. She is looking forward to conversations at EWIC in this light.
Neil Burgess is Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London (UCL).
Neil studied Maths and Physics at UCL and Theoretical Physics at Manchester, where he began modelling working memory with Graham Hitch. He returned to UCL to work with John O'Keefe, working on models and experiments concerning how neurons represent space and support memory.
His behavioural, neuroimaging and electrophysiology experiments with both humans and rodents bridge the gap between brain science and observed behaviour, shining a light on the neural representations and computations supporting spatial cognition. With colleagues Tom Hartley and Colin Lever, he predicted and discovered neurons representing environmental boundaries.
With Sue Becker in 2001, he proposed the first model explaining how neurons in the hippocampal system support coherent spatial imagery. This model has developed to explain aspects of episodic memory, imagery, post-traumatic stress disorder and planning in terms of the activity of populations of neurons.
Neil is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow, and a Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and Royal Society.