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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.


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 a Research Associate with PEDAL and an Associate Member of the REAL Centre, University of Cambridge. His research focuses on education for adaptability and how children in low-income settings develop skills like creativity and problem solving.

Julia Birchenough

Julia is a Research Associate, currently working with Prof Sara Baker as part of the Play in Schools team.

Christine O'Farrelly

Christine is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow and Senior Research Associate at PEDAL. She's developing ways to widen access to early, effective support for families to help babies and toddlers enjoy healthy and happy lives.

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.

Kelsey Graber

Kelsey is a postdoctoral researcher looking at the role of play in healthcare, specifically for children with chronic or severe illness.

Sally Hogg

Sally is PEDAL’s Senior 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.

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.

Paul Ramchandani

Paul is LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning, and the Director of the PEDAL Centre.

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.

Anna Vidos

Anna supports the work of PEDAL in her role as Projects Assistant.

Sophie Wilcock

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

PEDAL Students

Sydney Conroy

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

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.

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.

Dina Fajardo-Tovar

Dina is a 3rd year PhD student exploring Mexican teachers' perspectives on using playful learning in their practice, particularly in urban and rural preschools.

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.

Debbie Kwan

Debbie is a first year PhD student and a new member of PEDAL. Her research will look at raising empathy through play-based learning.

Stuart Macalpine

Stuart is a part time doctoral student.

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-Rowe

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. 

Kateryna Tyzhuk

Kate is a first year PhD student in PEDAL and the MRC Epidemology unit, co-supervised by Prof Paul Ramchandani.

Yanwen Wu

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

Zhiyu Zhao

Zhiyu is a first year PhD student with PEDAL.