Professor Penny (Penelope) Lewis
I am primarily interested in off-line learning during sleep and wakefulness: my research investigates brain plasticity, focusing specifically on the changes in behavior and neural activity which occur after initial learning. I’m particularly interested in changes occurring while a memory is not being encoded, practiced, or recalled. These can happen both during sleep and during wakefulness.
Current interests in the lab fall into three main categories
- consolidation of procedural skills
- emotional episodes
- transition of memories from episodic to semantic
- ‘sleep engineering’ or ways to manipulate sleep for greater cognitive and or health benefit (see TEDx talk)
Sleep is critical for both health and cognition. Our lab is developing ways to manipulate sleep (called ‘Sleep Engineering’) in order to maximise its beneficial properties. We are working on ways to enhance memory, disarm negative emotions, and combat cognitive decline through ageing. Read more here.
I am teaching on the masters in neuroimaging: PST505
Selected publications (2014 onwards)
Full list of publications
I am quite active in the media, and frequently give interviews for the BBC, NPR, and other networks. I recently gave a TEDx talk on Sleep Engineering, have written a popular book ‘The Secret World of Sleep’ and edited a book of short stories about sleep ‘Spindles’. For links to some of my media work, please look here.
BBSRC, MRC, EPSRC, Wellcome Trust, DARPA
Hong Viet-Ngo, Institute for Medical Psychology and Behavioural Neurobiology ,Teubingen, Germany 9
Alex Casson, Electrical Engineering, Manchester, UK
Simon Stringer, Oxford Center for Theoretical Neuroscience, Oxford, UK
Postgraduate research interests
If you are interested in applying for a PhD, or for further information regarding my postgraduate research, please contact me directly (contact details available on the 'Overview' page), or submit a formal application here.
Anne Koopman - studying sleep engineering for creativity
Tia Tsimpanouli - studying sleep, emotional memory and depression
Hikaru Tsujimura - studying the impact of sleep on generalisation of face representations
Jules Schneider - studying ways to trigger SWS
Current Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Isabel Hutchison - Did a PhD on the impact of direct current stimulation on sleep and memory
Nora Hennies – Did a PhD on the impact of sleep upon the formation of new semantic memories
James Cousins – Did a PhD on the impact of triggered replay during sleep upon overnight memory consolidation
Scott Cairney: Did a PhD on sleep and emotional memory and is now a postdoc at York
Prior Post Doc Students
BA at Cornell University
DPhil at Oxford