Punit Shah

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Adapted from IoPPN, King's College London, Open Doors Initiative


The Open Doors Project, a visual display of some of our Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) staff and students and their achievements, can now be found on door panels around all our campuses. It aims to highlight the many and great contributions our BME staff and students are making to university life. 


Punit Shah

MRC, SGDP Centre

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN)

Ethnicity: (British) East African Asian





How do you contribute to the success of King’s?

I am an academic researcher studying for a PhD at the IoPPN. I am conducting  research into Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and developmental prosopagnosia. Much of this work has been published in academic journals and contributes to the - already very high - research quality at King's.


What achievement are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my research paper 'Robust orienting to protofacial stimuli in autism' on social orienting in autism, which was published in the Peer reviewed Journal, Current Biology (Shah et al., 2013, Current Biology). This was an important piece of work which has changed the way in which people think about the causes of autism.


Do you have role models? If so who are they and how do they inspire you?

Dr Geoffrey Bird (my supervisor) is my role model. He is hugely supportive of my work and is the reason why I am firstly, doing a PhD at King's, secondly, am as successful as I have been to date, and thirdly, why I want to pursue a career in academia. As someone from a 'working class' background in London, it is difficult to find appropriate mentors and I have been very lucky indeed!


What does being a member of King’s College London mean to you?

A lot. It is a fantastic, diverse and fun place to work. I am extremely proud to be part of King's, and hope to continue my career at the institution.


How do you balance your academic/professional/student role with life outside the institution?

I really try not to! I think the idea of 'balance' is misleading. As a postgraduate researcher at King's, I try to intertwine my work with all aspects of my life. For example, my partner is also a PhD student at the IoPPN!


What if any support has been of most benefit in your studies/career?

The support of my supervisor.


What aspects of student life do you get involved with?

Student social gatherings.


The IoPPN Youth Awards are offered by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London.


The Awards aim to encourage young people (aged 15-18) from schools in the local area to stay in science and maths education and go on to study these subjects at university. They began in 2013 and have been steadily increasing in number ever since.

They cover a number of science based subjects including genetics, economics, psychology, health and computer science.


These Awards are an excellent and exciting opportunity to gain practical experience and make valuable contacts. Each Award involves attending a placement at the relevant department for two days for the purpose of learning about each subject.

I also help on the IoPPN International Buddy Scheme - helping new postgrad students at the IoP to settle in. If I have been allocated as your mentor - please feel free to get in touch with me via email and/or phone.