PIPKIN Research Team
Sarah Lloyd Fox
As a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, I am lead investigator of PIPKIN and Brain Imaging for Global Health (BRIGHT) Study. By mapping brain and cognitive function in the first days and months of life, I hope to better understand how the world we live in mediates early brain specialisation and behaviour
I pioneered the use of fNIRS in infants, focusing on developing field-friendly toolkits for use in low income and home settings. In partnership with community-informed initiatives, I hope to optimise family-mediated interventions that bridge the transition between pre- to post-natal life. Research insights will be communicated to suit the needs of individual communities in the UK & global health contexts.
The focus of my research is the study of functional brain development over the first years of life. The key questions that motivate my research concern how specialized cognitive functions emerge within particular brain regions (e.g. the cerebral cortex) during development.
I am particularly interested in the development of the newborn social brain, specifically activity during face perception, eye-gaze perception and eye-gaze cued action, and the perception of human action. Through imaging (ERP, NIRS) and behavioural testing methods, my goal is understand the typical and atypical development of the human social brain network.
I am an aspiring developmental psychologist and a mother of an extraordinary boy. I joined the PIPKIN study in 2022 after completing a Master's degree in Singapore. I am interested in the early development of a baby's temperament and its role in shaping the parent-child relationship and early cognitive development.
As a PhD in cognitive neuroscience at the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language (BCBL) my research focused on investigating the influence of early bilingual exposure on the development of resting-state functional connectivity and speech processing during the first months of life.
In PIPKIN, my interest will be on optimizing the application of a wearable fNIRS neuroimaging toolkit for monitoring early functional brain development in naturalistic setups. The diffusion optical tomography capabilities of the new fNIRS toolkit will allow us to compute 3D images of functional brain activity.
Alumni and Associates
Topun Austin (Cambridge, UCL) is our clinical consultant on PIPKIN and has expertise in premature neuodevelopment & neonatal neouroimaging suitable for NICU.
Simon Baron-Cohen (Cambridge) has expertise in fetal fMRI and ultrasound, as well as genetic and hormonal assays implicated ASD pathogenesis.
Tony Charman (KCL) has expertise in clinical diagnosis and biomarker identification related to early ASD and ADHD.
Clare Elwell (UCL) has expertise in newborn optical brain imaging, including fNIRS, for use in home, hospital, global and resource-poor settings.
Emily Jones (Birkbeck) has expertise in conducting longitudinal EEG and eye-tracking acquisition studies of infants at high risk infants for neurodevelopmental conditions.
Andrew Pickles (KCL) has expertise in the biostatistics applied to human development and longitudinal modeling of neurodevelopment.