The Committee









Lukas Krone, Co-President: 

Lukas received a medical degree from the University of Freiburg, Germany, before joining the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience at Oxford. His scientific interest lies in seep regulatory mechanisms from fruit flies to humans. Currently a DPhil student in the Vyazovskiy lab he combines in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetics to investigate cortical network dynamics during sleep and wakefulness in mice. During his co-presidency for the Cortex Club in 2017/18, Lukas introduced new interactive formats and secured stable funding for the years to come. In his second term of presidency he wants to further establish the club as the central forum for exchange between neuroscientists at all stages of their career and across departments. Together with Co-President Tai-Ying Lee and the new committee he is currently organising symposia and workshops to give young scientists the opportunity to present their own research.

Email: lukas.krone [at]

Tai-Ying Lee, Co-President: 

Tai-Ying is currently a second-year DPhil student, utilising in vivo two-photon calcium imaging and optogenetics to study sensory processing that involves learning and memory. Before coming to Oxford, she received her BBA in Economics with a Life Sciences minor from National Central University in Taiwan, and an MSc in Neuroscience from University College London working with Prof Michael Häusser. As a Co-President of the Cortex Club, Tai-Ying is thrilled to diversify the speaker lineup and to engage more early-career researchers and undergraduate students. She is also excited to introduce new events to the Club, including first-authour/preprint journal clubs, collaborative events between societies and universities, and workshops on cutting-edge techniques in neuroscience.

Email: tai-ying.lee [at]

Matthew Buchan, Secretary: 

Matt is originally from Dundee, Scotland and completed a BSc in Neuroscience at the University of St Andrews. Whilst there he worked on a number of projects spanning molecular neuroscience, behaviour and motor control with Dr Gayle Doherty, Dr James Ainge and Prof Gareth Miles before moving to Oxford in 2016. Matt is currently a 2nd year DPhil student in the lab of Prof Colin Akerman and is using a combination of in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology, alongside a number of lineage labelling techniques to investigate the extent to which the functional identity of neurons in adult cortical networks is constrained as a function of the progenitor population from which they derive.

Email: matthew.buchan [at]

Ana Bottura de Barros, Treasurer: 

Ana obtained a BSc in Molecular Sciences from the University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil and, after completing her studies in Pico Caroni’s lab in Basel, she obtained a MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Strasbourg. Currently, she is a final year DPhil student in Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics from Linacre College. Ana’s project involves elucidating the role of the Retrosplenial cortex in associative memory using a combination of behavioural tasks and optogenetics. This is Ana’s second term as the Club’s Treasurer and she is thrilled to be entrusted with the club’s account and budget again this year.

Email: ana.botturadebarros [at]

Marta Blanco Pozo, Communications:

Marta is a 1st year DPhil student in the Wellcome Trust Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience at Oxford. She obtained her BSc in Human biology from Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. Afterwards, she went to University College London where she received an MSc in Neuroscience and worked on the functional architecture underlying internal models in the cerebellum in Prof. Michael Häusser’s lab. Currently, she is working with Prof. Mark Walton and Prof. Tim Behrens on the neural mechanisms underlying decision-making during reinforcement learning paradigms. As a Communications Officer, she is responsible for advertising Cortex Club events.

Email: marta.blancopozo [at]

Paula Kaanders, Social Secretary: 

Paula is a DPhil candidate in Neuroscience supervised by Jill O’Reilly and Laurence Hunt. She is studying the neural signatures of decision-making, belief updating and information gathering. Before coming to Oxford she obtained a BA and BSc in Liberal Arts & Sciences from University College Utrecht, the Netherlands and an MSc in Neuroeconomics from Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Subsequently, she worked in Dr Benedetto De Martino’s lab at the University of Cambridge and University College London for 2 years as a research assistant on confirmatory information processing, the tendency individuals have to selectively search for information in line with their beliefs.

Email: paula.kaanders [at]

Raffaele Sarnataro, Social Secretary:

Raffaele is a DPhil student in the 4-year Wellcome Trust Doctoral Programme in Neuroscience. He studied at Scuola Normale Superiore and University of Pisa, in his native Italy, obtaining a BSc in Biotechnologies and an MSc in Molecular and Cell Biology. After international study and research experiences at Harvard Medical School and University of Cambridge, he decided to pursue his career abroad and in 2017 he joined the University of Oxford and the brilliant local community of Neuroscience, recently obtaining an MSc in Neuroscience. As Social Secretary he is thrilled to have to opportunity to further enrich and beautify the club events, fostering friendly opportunities of networking as well as making the Oxford experience pleasant for both speakers and club members.

Email: raffaele.sarnataro [at]

Afrah Shibu, Social Secretary:

Afrah is a 3rd-year medic from Qatar. Her passion for neuroscience has no limits, as seen by her Neuro-driven FHS project in the Kohl Lab, where she looked at repeating motifs in the somatosensory cortex of mice during active whisking. As the first undergraduate Social Sec, Afrah aims to reach out to the undergraduate body of potential neuroscientists with social events and workshops, as well as help strengthen the existing framework of activities in the Club.

Email: afrah.shibu [at]

Sonia Spitzer, IT Officer:

Sonia is a postdoc and she conducts her research across several departments in Oxford and London, including Psychiatry, DPAG, EP and Imperial. Her research aims at understanding whether the composition of the gut microbiota early in life has long-term effects on synaptic activity and NMDA-receptor-dependent cognitive function. Before coming to Oxford, Sonia completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where she investigated how glutamate signalling in glia cells changes across the life span and the effects on myelination. Prior to that, she worked at the Netherlands’ Institute of Neuroscience in Amsterdam on an in vitro model of dopaminergic neurons to study Parkinson’s disease. As IT officer, Sonia ensures that the Club’s website runs smoothly and is up to date.

Email: sonia.spitzer [at]

Ana Ghenciulescu, Undergraduate Representative:

Ana is a 2nd year Medic. Before starting my undergrad, she won the International Brain Bee neuroscience contest for students hosted by FENS 2016, which catalyzed her fascination for neuroscience. She subsequently spent a summer working in Thierry Galli’s lab in Paris studying neuronal membrane traffic in developing neurons by using biophysical methods, where she developed an interest in the cellular mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative disease. Ana is enthusiastic to take on the new role of Undergrad Rep and aims to promote her passionate for neuroscience specifically amongst undergraduates to widen the Club’s scope and accessibility.

Email: ana.ghenciulescu [at]

Diego Asua, Fresher’s Officer:

Before coming to Oxford, Diego obtained his BSc degree in Biochemistry from the University of the Basque Country, Spain. For his BSc project he worked on synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and its dysregulation in Alzheimer’s disease. Currently he is a student in the MSc in Neuroscience and his main interest is to explore how the brain encodes and processes information at single cell resolution. As fresher’s officer, Diego will serve as the bridge between new students and the Cortex Club. In particular, he is excited to organise student-run debates.

Email: diego.asua [at]