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Meet our team

PEDAL's team members come from a range of backgrounds including psychology, education, medicine, and speech and language therapy. We're linked together by our drive to discover how we can use play to spark change in families, schools, and communities.

PEDAL alumni

Find out more about previous PEDAL team members and what they're up to now

Emily Goodacre

Emily is a final year PhD student researching how children communicate with their peers during play and how this communication may be related to their characteristics.

Vicky Yiran Zhao

Vicky is a 4th year PhD student looking at the relationship between communication disorders and psychosocial adversities, and how play can be an effective intervention to promote children’s social and emotional skills.

PEDAL staff

Sara Baker

Sara is a Professor of Developmental Psychology and Education.

Beth Barker

Beth is a Research Associate at PEDAL. She's interested in supporting babies, toddlers, and families in the first years of life, translating research to real-world impacts, and promoting children's own voices in research.

Stephen Bayley

Stephen is an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow and Associate Member of the REAL Centre. His research focuses on education for adaptability.

Chloe Bond

Chloe supports the work of the PEDAL Centre in her role as Communications Assistant.

Elizabeth Byrne

Elizabeth is a Research Associate with PEDAL and The Lego Foundation, interested in play-based educational interventions for children and cognitive development.

Brittney Chere

Brittney is a Research Associate currently working on the Healthy Start, Happy Start follow-up study and the PlayBack study within PEDAL.

Christine O'Farrelly

Christine is a Senior Research Associate at PEDAL.

Jenny Gibson

Jenny is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Education. Her research focuses on investigating the role of play in children’s social development, and examining how play can be measured.

Allison Haack

Allison is a Research Assistant at the Centre, currently working to develop a digital professional development program for teachers.

Sally Hogg

Sally is PEDAL’s Policy Fellow. She works with the team to find ways for our knowledge and research to inform public policy, in order to improve children’s lives.

Zaheema Iqbal

Zaheema is a Research Assistant working on the Healthy Start, Happy Start follow up study within PEDAL.

Muhammad Aliff Aiman Kamarudin

Aiman is a Research Assistant, currently exploring the ways play and booksharing can support families in children's earliest years.

Katie Lui

Katie is a Research Assistant working on the Healthy Start, Happy Start follow up study within PEDAL.

Laura Oxley

Laura is a Research Associate working on the Healthy Start, Happy Start follow-up study within PEDAL.

Paul Ramchandani

Paul is LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning, and the Director of the PEDAL Centre. His research focuses on the role of fathers in children's early development.

Zhen Rao

Zhen is a Research Associate within the PEDAL Centre, currently investigating parent-child play, peer play, and playful learning.

Eloise Stevens

Eloise is a Research Associate and Child Therapist, currently developing and testing a virtual book sharing programme for parents of young children to promote language development and support parent-child relationships.

Pablo Torres Núñez

Pablo is a British Academic Postdoctoral Fellow and Principal Investigator on a project examining the impact of culturally effective teaching on developing self-regulation.

Sophie Wilcock

Sophie supports the work of the PEDAL in her role as the centre's Administrator.

PEDAL students

Sabilah Eboo Alwani

Sabilah is a 3rd year PhD student at PEDAL, researching how parents have supported children's early learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sydney Conroy

Sydney is a PhD student researching play therapists' experiences and perceptions of children's wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chika Ezeugwu

Chika is a PhD student researching how the integration of neuroscience, cognition, child development and education can improve the experience of children in low-income contexts.

Kelsey Graber

Kelsey is a 4th year PhD student researching the role of play in healthcare, specifically for children with chronic or severe illness.

Morgan Healy

Morgan is a 2nd year PhD student and Gates Scholar. Her research is exploring how family home visiting programmes can support children's development.

Natalie Kirby

Tilly is a 2nd year PhD student researching the ways play and booksharing can support families in children's earliest years. She's also a Research Assistant for the Centre.

Krishna Kulkarni

Krishna is a PhD student researching parent-child playfulness, and its importance in child outcomes.

Carolyn Mazzei

Carolyn is a PhD student examining play and classroom talk, and how these are related to children's cognitive development.

Stephanie Nowack

Stephanie is a 3rd year PhD student researching autistic children’s experiences of playful interventions in South Africa.

Domnick Okullo

Domnick is a 3rd year PhD student researching the use of play-based pedagogies in early childhood education.

Paulina Pérez-Duarte Mendiola

Paulina is a 2nd year PhD student exploring how children behave before, during and after they interact with Hospital Play Specialists and what children think of these interactions.

Emma Pritchard

Emma is a 3rd year PhD student funded by the LEGO Foundation and Cambridge Trust, undertaking research relating to autistic play and strengths-based autism diagnostic assessment. 

Yanwen Wu

Yanwen is a 2nd year PhD student, investigating the relationship between pretend play and counterfactual reasoning from a temporal perspective.