The Committee




Raffaele Sarnataro, Co-President:

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 experiences at Harvard Medical School and University of Cambridge, in 2017 he joined the University of Oxford, obtaining an MSc in Neuroscience. He is currently working with prof. Gero Miesenböck on the mechanistic understanding of sleep homeostasis and how sleep pressure is physically encoded in the brain.

After one year as Committee member, he is currently Co-President of Cortex Club, thrilled by the opportunity of fostering Neuroscience in Oxford, experimenting new Cortex Club formats and interacting with a brilliant neuroscience community, from students to world-leading local and external researchers.

Email: raffaele.sarnataro [at]

Marta Blanco Pozo, Co-President:

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.

Email: marta.blancopozo [at]

Naroa Ibarra Aizpurua, Secretary:

Naroa is a MSc in Neuroscience student. She obtained her BSc degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of the Basque Country, Spain. She did her BSc thesis in Achucarro: Basque Centre for Neuroscience, studying how GABAB receptors affect oligodendrocyte development. She is particularly interested in studying the molecular mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases, in order to understand how and why these diseases develop. Naroa describes herself as an organizer, and she is looking forward to working as the Secretary of the Cortex Club in order to be part of this multidisciplinary Neuroscience community and to help bring everything together.

Email: naroa.ibarraaizpurua [at]

Celinie Nguyen, Social Secretary:

Celinie is a visiting undergraduate student obtaining a Sc.B in Cognitive Neuroscience from Brown University. She is in Brown’s 8-year BS-MD program and will be matriculating into the Warren Alpert Medical School at the end of her undergraduate degree. She is studying Experimental Psychology at Pembroke College for her year abroad at Oxford. Before coming to Oxford, she conducted research in the Barnea lab at Brown University studying the olfactory and gustatory circuit in Drosophila melanogaster using the transsynaptic modelling tool, trans-Tango. Celinie is excited to be coordinating events and starting Cortex’s first string of neuroscience competitions among Oxford students.

Email: celinie.nguyen [at]

Tara Diviney, Social Secretary:

Tara is currently on the MSc year of the 4 year doctoral Wellcome Trust programme in Neuroscience. She graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2019 with a BSc in Biomedical Science specialising in Pharmacology. During her Bachelor’s degree, Tara undertook a research placement at the University of Cambridge and obtained a study abroad studentship to go to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. She completed her Bachelor’s thesis in collaboration with the Galway Neuroscience Centre and the SFI Centre for Research in Medical Devices (CÚRAM) looking at the effect of DOPAL on the viability, reactivity and bioenergetic function of an astrocyte cell line. As the Fresher’s Officer of the Cortex Club, Tara hopes to encourage new undergraduate and graduate students to engage with the club by disseminating information about upcoming events. She is very delighted to be part of the rich Neuroscience community at Oxford and is excited to welcome distinguished international neuroscientists to Oxford over the coming year.

Email: tara.diviney [at]