Hi, I'm Emily Towner

I’m Emily Towner and I am a 4th year PhD Student in Psychology at the University of Cambridge and a Gates-Cambridge Scholar. 

My research focuses on adolescence and the brain. My interests include learning, mental health, and understanding the impacts of stress and social interactions during development.

To find out more about my work, connect or chat — send me an email! I am also available for consulting, talks, tutoring, and freelance writing.

About Me

I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Lab led by Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. My Ph.D. research focuses primarily on social isolation in adolescents — where I am investigating the effects of isolation and loneliness on fear learning and mental health. Through the use of high definition magnetic resonance imaging I am also exploring structural associations between the brain and one's response to social isolation. In addition, I seek to examine whether virtual social interactions (such as the use of smartphones and social media) might mitigate or exacerbate the effects of social isolation.

Before beginning my Ph.D. at Cambridge, I was lab manager and research associate in the Brain and Body Lab in the Psychology Department at UCLA where we investigated how early experiences influence the brain and body - including the gut microbiome. In 2019, I graduated from UCLA with a Master’s Degree in Social Science where I completed a project examining the interaction between early and current life stress on adolescent mental health. Before UCLA, I completed a postbaccalaureate program in psychology at Columbia University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media from the City University of New York, and an Associate's Degree in Applied Science from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Advertising and Marketing Communications. In addition to my studies, I have worked as a journalist.

I am passionate about open science and science communication, and hope to disseminate research findings to a wide audience, including young people — particularly young women and girls - who might be interested in STEM careers.

Originally, I am from the U.S. and grew up in a small town in Georgia before moving to New York City where I lived for 10 years and worked as a fashion model. After New York, I moved to Los Angeles for two years before settling in Cambridge, U.K. to pursue my Ph.D.

In my spare time you'll find me rowing, traveling Europe or spending time with friends in Cambridge. I have a six year old rat terrier named Maggie — and funnily enough — our college rowing team goes by the same name! Yeah, Maggie!


Get in touch at et467@cam.ac.uk