Sarah Garfinkel, PhD

Professor of cognitive neuroscience, University College London, UK

Professor Sarah Garfinkel’s research centers on body–brain interactions underlying emotion and cognition. She investigates how individual differences in interoception (perception of internal bodily sensations) can influence emotion and memory. Grounded in neuroscience and psychiatry, she also determines how aberrant bodily and neural mechanisms can contribute to symptom maintenance in psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. She has a particular interest in the heart, such as the way heart–brain interactions determine the gating of fear responses.

In each stage of her career, Sarah has received extensive training in a number of diverse techniques, including memory and pharmacology (PhD, University of Sussex), psychiatry and neuroimaging (University of Michigan), and autonomic affective neuroscience (BSMS with Hugo Critchley). Together, these techniques provide her the tools to pursue an integrative approach combining functional imaging (fMRI) with cardiovascular monitoring/manipulation to investigate body–brain interactions in emotion and cognition. In 2018, Nature identified Sarah Garfinkel as one of 11 “Rising Star” scientists across all science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.