Group Members

Dr Hannes P Saal

Senior Lecturer
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I studied Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück, Germany. After an internship at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), I obtained an MSc and PhD in Neuroinformatics at the University of Edinburgh. I was then a postdoctoral scholar in Sliman Bensmaia’s lab at the University of Chicago, before joining the University of Sheffield to set up my own lab. For most of my career I have worked on the sense of touch, using methods from computational neuroscience, robotics, and machine learning.

Dr Rodrigo Siqueira Kazu

Data Scientist
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I am a research associate in computational neuroscience with experience in complex networks, comparative neuroanatomy and cell culturing. In the Active Touch Lab I am helping people walk again by modelling the tactile responses of the foot sole aiming at real-time feedback prosthetics! In addition to that, I am a member of INSIGNEO and a data scientist for the AMRC at the University of Sheffield. My research interests include general intelligence, network neuroscience and information processing in the somatosensory cortex.

Dr Laura R Edmondson

Research Associate
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I am a research associate investigating mechanisms that influence topography and magnification in the somatosensory cortex of both humans and non-human primates. I was previously a PhD student in the lab, focusing on modelling somatosensory cortex using dimensionality reduction techniques and self-organising models.

Dr Giulia Corniani

Marie Curie fellow
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I am a research fellow supervised by Hannes Saal. I am part of the NeuTouch project, included in the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. My research focuses on spiking models of realistic human tactile interactions. I am interested in the development of a computational method that translates sensor input into spiking output to deliver realistic and real-time tactile feedback for neuroprosthetics and robotics.

Luke D Cleland

MRC DiMeN PhD Student
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I am a PhD student, part of the MRC DiMeN DTP. My research involves the investigation of tactile processing in the foot along with investigating different gait variables. I have previously worked on computational modelling of homeostatic plasticity in the somatosensory cortex in the context of touch.

Zijun Li

PhD Student
Twitter Orcid

I am a PhD student supervised by Hannes Saal. I am principally interested in modelling the development of the human somatotopy. My research also involves neuroimaging and psychophysical approaches.

Holly M Rowland

EPSRC PhD Student

I am a PhD student co-supervised by Hannes Saal and Claudia Mazza. I previously worked as a software engineer following my undergraduate degree in Engineering. My project looks at how peripheral neuropathy in the feet affects tactile feedback and reflexes in gait and balance.

Rory Holmes

CASE PhD Student

I am a CASE PhD student co-supervised by Hannes Saal and Michael Mangan, working in collaboration with Opteran Technologies. My project aims to develop novel architectures for robotic control, inspired by the sensorimotor systems found in animals and their ability to adapt to changes in the environment and body morphology.

Mia Rupani

Research Intern / Technical Support

I am a second year BSc student on the Psychology course at the University of Sheffield. I’m very interested in learning about computational neuroscience and I am currently helping wherever I can with experiments and data analysis.

Dimitrios Dimitriou

Research Intern

I am a second year Psychology student, peer learning leader and student ambassador at the University of Sheffield. Additionally, I am honoured to be part of a computational neuroscience group, by providing my assistance in any way necessary and possible.

Raj U Deshpande

CCN MSc dissertation student

I am a postgraduate student studying cognitive and computational neuroscience. Being a robotics engineering graduate, I am interested in bridging the gap between neuroscience and engineering through exploring imaging technologies and artificial neural networks. My master’s project will be focusing on using optical coherence tomography (OCT) to study sub-surface skin features.

Associate members

Dr Stuart P Wilson

University Website Github GScholar Orcid

My research explores the interaction between evolution and development in the context of mammalian somatosensory systems. In particular, I am interested in how self-organisation can interact with natural selection in the context of i) self-organisation of topological maps in rodent barrel cortex, ii) self-organising thermoregulatory huddling behaviours in rodent litters.

Prof Tony Prescott

University Website Twitter GScholar Orcid

I investigate active touch sensing in animals, humans and robots, focusing on (i) the evolution of the mammalian somatosensory system, (ii) multisensory perception and memory, (iii) haptic interaction and emotional touch in biomimetic robots, and (iv) haptic interfaces for sensory augmentation and telepresence.


Patrick Brydon, CCN MSc, 2021-22
Joanna Kubiak, CCN MSc, 2021-22
Peter Beech, CNHN MSc, 2021-22
Tom Graham, CCN MSc, 2020-21
Lucy Bradbury, CCN MSc, 2020-21
Jesus Rivero Ortega, CCN MSc, 2020-21
Jinzhao Wang, CCN MSc, 2020-21
Nicholas Garside, CCN MSc, 2019-20
Jonathan Jones, CCN MSc, 2019-20
Zimeng Wan, CCN MSc, 2019-20
Nathan Darnley, CCN MSc, 2018-19
Muneerah Patel, CCN MSc, 2018-19
Luke Moffat, CCN MSc, 2018-19
Ursula de Souza Braganca, CCN MSc, 2017-18
Ross Bradbury, CCN MSc, 2017-18