Dr Sam Wass gained a first-class undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. He spent his twenties working as an opera director, in opera houses in London, Glyndebourne, Berlin, Vienna, Bregenz, Geneva and others, before returning to academia. He did his PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, Birkbeck, and his postdoctoral research in Cambridge, at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. He is currently based at the University of East London, where he is an ESRC Future Research Leader Fellow.

Sam’s research examines how stress affects concentration and learning capacities during childhood. He works with children being raised in low socio-economic status backgrounds, as well as children in early stages of developing conditions such as Autism Spectrum disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He has received funding from the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, the National Institute of Health Research, the British Academy, the Nuffield Foundation, and others. 

He has active research collaborations with a range of researchers including: Vicky Leong (Cambridge), Elena Kushnerenko and Mark Harwood (UEL), Mark Johnson (London), Edmund Sonuga-Barke (London), Jukka Leppanen (Finland), Susan Rose (New York), and Lonnie Zwaigenbaum and Susan Bryson (Alberta). 


In addition, Sam is very active in the public communication of science. He is one of the host scientists in the award-winning Channel 4 series The Secret Life of 4-, 5- and 6-Year-Olds, produced by Teresa Watkins for RDF Television and supported by the Wellcome Trust, for which he is heavily involved in programme development and appears regularly on-screen. He appears regularly on television (BBC News) and radio (BBC Radio 4, 5 Live), and has given talks at the Royal Institution. His work also appears regularly in national newspapers and on BBC News. Sam has acted as media spokesperson for public campaigns by Save the Children, Nickelodeon, Ikea, Dulux and more.

My email address is s.v.wass[at]uel.ac.uk.