Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science

Research staff

Dr Lionel Barnett (Post-Doc)

Dr Lionel Barnett

With a background in applied mathematics, Lionel's chief research interests are in the analysis of (mostly biological) complex dynamical systems, using mathematical tools from network theory, information theory and stochastic processes.

Lionel gained his DPhil degree at Sussex in 2004 under the tutelage of Dr. Inman Harvey, during which time he developed new approaches in the evolutionary theory of neutral (not neural!) networks. He has since completed a successful post-doctoral project with Dr. Seth Bullock of Southampton University, analysing the influence of spatial embedding on the structure and dynamics of complex networks.

In 2010 he joined Dr. Anil Seth's Neurodynamics and Consciousness Lab as a post-doc, where he researches the causal dynamics of information flow in complex neural systems, particularly as they relate to phenomena of consciousness. Using techniques from information theory and time series analysis, the chief aims of his research are (i) to elucidate the relationship between network structure and functional behaviour, (ii) derive useful macroscopic descriptions for large-scale neural systems, and (iii) investigate how the previous aims can be actualised from empirical neural data, such as EEG/MEG, fMRI, etc.

Click here for more information about Lionel.

Reny Baykova (Post-Doc)

Reny BaykovaReny joined the Sackler Centre as a funded PhD student from the 4-Year Sussex Neuroscience PhD programme. Reny is using behavioural, neuroimaging, and computational methods to investigate how we build predictions in perception, and how mismatch negativity relates to perception within the framework of predictive coding. She has a background in psychology and previously completed an MSc in Research Methods in Psychological Science with Distinction at the University of Glasgow.

Dr Pete Lush (Post-Doc)

Pete Lush Pete completed a BSc in Neuroscience and an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Sussex University. His PhD research was supervised by Prof. Zoltan Dienes and employed cognitive measures to investigate differences in the metacognition of motor-intentions related to trait hypnotisability, hypnotic responding and long-term mindfulness meditation practice. He is interested in the experience of involuntariness over actions which is central to hypnotic responding and is currently working on a CIFAR and BELSPO funded project to develop a cue combination model of intentional binding (an effect commonly employed as an implicit measure of the sense of agency).

Dr David Schwartzman (Post-Doc/Lab Manager)

Dr David SchwartzmanDavid completed his MSc and PhD at Oxford Brookes University in Cognitive Neuropsychology under the supervision of Professor Gert Westermann. His PhD investigated the functional role of gamma oscillations in visual perception using EEG. David's research interests at the Sackler Centre include:  investigating the neural origins of grapheme-colour synaesthesia, characterising altered-states of consciousness induced by stroboscopic stimulation and investigating the functional relevance the ‘perceptual echo’. David also directs Oxford Faraday Cages a company that specializes in designing and building electrical shielding solutions, laboratory spaces, and sound insulation for electronic, medical, and scientific applications.

Dr Maxine Sherman (Post-Doc)

MaxineMaxine did her undergraduate degree in Mathematics at the University of Bristol and subsequently moved into psychology, obtaining an MSc in Experimental Psychology with distinction at the University of Sussex.

Under the supervision of Dr Ryota Kanai and Professor Anil Seth, Maxine completed her PhD in Psychology in 2016, and continued in Professor Seth’s lab as a postdoctoral fellow in cognitive neuroscience. Maxine’s research concentrates on how we construct a sense of confidence in perceptual decisions, drawing on behavioural, neuroimaging and computational methods. She is particularly interested in how different types of uncertainty and top-down factors, such as the strength of prior knowledge and one’s self-belief, contribute to metacognitive decision-making.

As of 2019, Maxine is a postdoctoral fellow in computational psychiatry in Professor Hugo Critchley’s lab, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, working on attention to fearful stimuli in trait anxiety and trait dissociation.