Ayan Ahmed

PhD Student

Research Area

Research area: Addiction in Africa/Middle East, Neuroscience


I am currently a second year PhD Psychology candidate at the University of Surrey, researching drug uses in minority and marginalized populations in the UK. The main aim of my PhD is to explore the underlying neurobiological and cognitive consequences of khat (Catha edulis) by using behavioural tasks and brain imaging techniques. My research project involves using multidisciplinary approaches to understand substance misuse in African communities. To date, I have travelled to Ethiopia to examine the effects of khat on cognitive processes important to drug risk taking behaviour such as impulsivity, working memory and cognitive flexibility.

I hold a combined bachelors degree in psychology and biology from Manchester Metropolitan University and masters degree in Neuroscience from Kings College, London. I have experience of working and volunteering for local addiction and mental health charities supporting individuals from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic communities (BAME).

In the future, I would like to continue investigating the neurobiology of addiction and mental health in BAME populations and to build on knowledge that can be used develop culturally suitable prevention and treatment programs on both a national and global level.