2023 Sports Public Engagement Ambassadors announced

For 2023 we are piloting a new programme here at Football on the Brain: Sports Public Engagement Ambassadors, who will develop and deliver activities that connect research with various sport audiences. This programme is modelled after the established Public Engagement Ambassador scheme run by our home department (Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging / Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences), which is coordinated by our team members Carinne Piekema, Jacqueline Pumphrey, and Hanna Smyth. The Sports PE Ambassadors will have access to a year-long series of training sessions, which will help them understand key public engagement concepts and receive guided support in developing activities. They have already begun supporting various strands of Football on the Brain activities, and you will hear more from and about them over the coming months.  


Find out more about them:  

Zhiyu profile photo

Zhiyu (Jerry) Zheng is a DPhil student in Clinical Neurosciences in the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging. His research aims to improve Magnetic Resonance Imaging’s ability in distinguishing between different types of structures in the brain. He achieves this by studying the underlying physics of Magnetic Resonance and physiological phenomena. He is passionate about neuroscience and football. As a sports public engagement ambassador, he hopes to explore applications of neuroscience in sports and communicate them to football enthusiasts and the general public. Twitter: @Anonymouszzy. Instagram: @jediknightnapoleon



Lauren Rudd is a DPhil candidate at the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit in the Department of Biology. Her research focuses on understanding the impact that disturbances, such as disease outbreaks, have on lion social behaviour. She is also really interested in science communication, and researches the ways that bias can affect how the public engage with conservation recommendations on social media. She is passionate about sport, particularly increasing access to sport for women and those from minority backgrounds, and currently plays basketball for the University of Oxford.  



Denise Kohlhepp is currently pursuing a DPhil in Experimental Psychology funded by the ESRC Grand Union DTP. Founded on her passion for sports, she investigates the causal mechanisms of physical activity on cognitive and brain health. 

Denise previously obtained a Master’s in Psychology and Education and the British Psychological Society accreditation at the University of Cambridge. She is also a trained teacher with Staatsexamen from Germany, and prior to returning to academia, Denise spent several years as a teacher, head of department and athletics coach in a boarding school and as a tutor for Continuing Education at the University of Oxford. Twitter: @kohlhepp_denise. Instagram: @runningyogibee



Eliza Copland is a second year undergraduate in biochemistry. She is particularly interested in how science has the potential to improve football. She co-founded and co-captains the women’s football team at New College. Instagram: @eliza.copland