Group Leader

Dr Joni Holmes

Joni is currently Head of the Centre for Attention Learning and Memory and Senior Scientist at the MRC Cognition & Brain Sciences Unit. She is interested in understanding the cognitive and behavioural factors that predispose children to learning and mental health problems.

Post Docs

Dr Jacalyn Guy

I have a background in genetic disorders (Fragile X) and autism. I am currently exploring links between cognition, learning, and mental health in children who are struggling at school.

Dr Jo Cotton

I use longitudinal cohort data and data science methods to study relationships between psychosocial variables across the life course. The aim of my research is to identify changes to educational practice that will promote better adult mental health and socioeconomic outcomes for children with ADHD symptoms.  


Dr Marc Bennett

 I am interested in understanding the neurocognitive and behavioural factors underlying the development and treatment of youth mental health problems with a view to optimizing extant psychological interventions. I am also exploring mental health difficulties faced by young struggling learners.

PhD Students

Silvana Mareva

I am using cutting-edge network science methods to understand interrelationships between different symptoms of cognition, behaviour, mental health and learning in children with and without learning-related problems. Alongside my work in Dr Holmes’s group, I work closely with people in the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.

Sinead O'Brien

My research focuses on the development of problem solving skills in young children. I am also interested in the relationship between reasoning abilities, working memory and executive functions. I have a keen interest in public engagement.

Ivan Simpson-Kent

I use statistical models to understand how the brain and behaviour interact from childhood to early adulthood to produce intelligence. I hope to apply insights from my research to help guide education policy, especially for disadvantaged youth struggling to learn in school.

Sofia Carozza

I explore the effects of various forms of childhood adversity, especially abuse and neglect, on neurodevelopment. I hope to direct my work toward building resilience after trauma.

David Ruttenberg

My research (the SensorAble Project) harvests inclusionary and co-designed wearables that provide relief, assistance and autonomy for autistic individuals who have sensory, attention and anxiety issues at school and at work.

Cornelia (Yufei) Cai

I am interested in understanding the emotional symptoms and specific behavioral symptoms in children with ADHD and compare them with children without an ADHD diagnosis but with similar behavioral symptoms, children with multiple diagnosis, and typically developing children using network analysis. I am also interested in understanding whether the relationship between behavior, cognition and mental health in children with ADHD changes across the childhood years. 

Research Assistants

Grace Franckel

As a former primary school teacher, I now work closely with families in the Centre for Attention Learning and Memory and coordinate a large team of researchers who help with data collection in the clinic.

Tina Emery

My role is to support the cohorts at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. I work on the CamCAN cohort with Professor Rik Henson. My role in Joni’s group is to manage the CALM cohort to make sure we maximise access to the data. I also help with data collection for the CALM project.


Maria Vedechkina

I am interested in understanding the relationship between cognitive function and internalizing problems in childhood and adolescence. The aim of my research is to identify modifiable risk factors in early life that will inform prevention and targeted treatment for mental health. 


Denise Kohlhepp 

I am currently undertaking the MEd in Psychology and Education at the University of Cambridge, while teaching in Oxford. My research  investigates if there are any differences in higher-level cognitive abilities between bilingual and monolingual children identified as struggling learners. I am generally interested in risk and protective factors that influence cognitive and mental health outcomes.


Jenna Parker

I am a second-year trainee clinical psychologist with an interest in mental health.


Annie Bryant

I am a final year trainee clinical psychologist with particular interest and experience in working with children and young people with neurodevelopmental disorders.
My thesis explores the link between ADHD and depression in young people.

Past Members

Kira Williams, MPhil, (2019-2020)

Dr Elizabeth Byrne, PhD student (2014-2018)

Sally Butterfield, Research Assistant (2012-2018)

Fanchea Daly, Research Assistant (2016-2019)

Annie Bryant, Research Assistant (2017-2018) 

Dr Agnieszka Jaroslawska, PhD student (2013-2016) 

Dr Francesca Woolgar, Research Assistant (2014-2016)


We collaborate with the following people on various projects, like the Centre for Attention Learning and Memory.

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