Peter Smittenaar

I am a freelance researcher and data scientist interested in improving human health through technology and data. I work with Hinge Health to bring convenient and effective care to people living with chronic knee or low back pain. I also work with Surgo Foundation in Washington D.C. to develop machine learning-driven solutions for practitioners in international development. I also worked with Healum, a young company working to tackle chronic disease.

Prior to this I was the science lead in the Citizen Science team at Cancer Research UK. We developed mobile and web-based applications that let over 500k people help out with large-scale data analysis projects in cancer research.

In April 2015 I finished my PhD in neuroscience (pdf) with Ray Dolan at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at UCL. This work on the neuroscience of decision-making and reward learning was the foundation for my Henry Wellcome fellowship to do 4 years of independent post-doctoral research, which I ended up foregoing.

I am also one of the developers of The Great Brain Experiment, a smartphone game that collects behavioural science data from across the population with 130k users and counting.

Academic publications

PhD thesis

Smittenaar, P. (2015) Action control in uncertain environments. [pdf]


Smittenaar, P., Kurth-Nelson, Z., Mohammadi, S., Weiskopf, N., Dolan, R.J.
Local striatal reward signals can be predicted from corticostriatal connectivity
NeuroImage, vol 159, p9-17 [html]

Rutledge, R.B., Moutoussis, M., Smittenaar, P., Zeidman, P., Taylor, T., Hrynkiewicz, L., Lam, J., Skandali, N., Siegel, J.Z., Ousdal, O.T., Prabhu, G., Dayan, P., Fonagy, P., Dolan, R.J.
Association of Neural and Emotional Impacts of Reward Prediction Errors With Major Depression.
JAMA Psychiatry, 74(8):790-797 [html]

Smittenaar, P., Erhart-Hledik,J.C., Kinsella, R., Hunter, S., Mecklenburg, G., Perez, D.
Translating comprehensive conservative care for chronic knee pain into a Digital Care Pathway: 12-week and 6-month outcomes for the Hinge Health program.
JMIR Rehabil Assist Technol 2017;4(1):e4 [html]

Lawson, J., Robinson-Vyas, R.J., McQuillan, J.P., Paterson, A., Christie, S., Kidza-Griffiths, M., McDuffus, L-A., Moutasim, K.A., Shaw, E.C., Kiltie, A.E., Howat, W.J., Hanby, A.M., Thomas, G.J., Smittenaar, P.
Crowdsourcing for translational research: analysis of biomarker expression using cancer microarrays
British Journal of Cancer 116, 237-245. doi:10.1038/bjc.2016.404 [html]


Keramati, M., Smittenaar, P., Dolan, R.J., Dayan, P.
Adaptive integration of habits into depth-limited planning defines a habitual-goal-directed spectrum.
PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.1609094113 [html | pdf]

Rutledge, R.B., Smittenaar, P., Zeidman, P., Brown, H.R., Adams, R.A., Lindenberger, U., Dayan, P., Dolan, R.J.
Risk Taking for Potential Rewards Decreases Across the Lifespan.
Current Biology vol. 26, issue 12, page 1634 - 1639 [html | pdf]


Smittenaar, P., Rutledge, R.B., Zeidman, P., Adams, R.A., Brown, H.R., Lewis, G., Dolan, R.J.
Proactive and reactive response inhibition across the lifespan
PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0140383 [html | pdf | data]

McNab, F., Zeidman, P., Rutledge, R.B., Smittenaar, P., Brown, H.R., Adams, R.A., Dolan, R.J.
Age-related changes in working memory and the ability to ignore distraction
PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1504162112 [html | pdf]


Brown, H.R., Zeidman, P., Smittenaar, P., Adams, R.A., McNab, F., Rutledge, R.B., Dolan, R.J.
Crowdsourcing for Cognitive Science - the utility of smartphones
PLoS ONE 9(7): e100662 [pubmed | pdf]

Aarts, E., Nusselein, A.A., Smittenaar, P., Helmich, R.C., Bloem, B.R., Cools, R.
Greater striatal responses to medication in Parkinson's disease are associated with better task-switching but worse reward performance.
Neuropsychologia (in press). [pubmed | pdf]

Callaghan, M.F., Freund, P., Draganski, B., Anderson, E., Cappelletti, M., Chowdhury, R., Diedrichsen, J., FitzGerald, T.H.B., Smittenaar, P., Helms, G., Lutti, A., Weiskopf, N.
Wide-spread age-related differences in human brain microstructure revealed by quantitative MRI.
Neurobiology of Aging, 35 (8), 1862-1872. [pubmed | pdf]

Smittenaar, P., Prichard, G., FitzGerald, T.H., Diedrichsen, J., Dolan, R.J.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Does Not Affect Model-Based or Model-Free Reinforcement Learning in Humans.
PLoS ONE 9(1), e86850. [pubmed | pdf]


Smittenaar, P., Guitart-Masip, M., Lutti, A., Dolan, R.J.
Preparing for Selective Inhibition within Frontostriatal Loops.
The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(46), 18087-18097. [pubmed | pdf]

Smittenaar, P., FitzGerald, T.H., Romei, V., Wright, N.D., Dolan, R.J.
Disruption of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases model-based in favor of model-free control in humans.
Neuron, 80(4), 914-919. [pubmed | pdf | supplement]


Wunderlich, K.*, Smittenaar, P.*, Dolan, R.J. (*equal contribution)
Dopamine enhances model-based over model-free choice behavior.
Neuron, 75(3), 418-424. [pubmed | pdf | supplement]

Smittenaar, P., Chase, H.W., Aarts, E., Nusselein, B., Bloem, B.R., Cools, R.
Decomposing effects of dopaminergic medication in Parkinson's disease on probabilistic action selection-learning or performance?
European Journal of Neuroscience, 35(7), 1144-1151. [pubmed | pdf | supplement]


Lowik, D.W., Meijer, J.T., Minten, I.J., Van Kalkeren, H., Heckenmuller, L., Schulten, I., Sliepen, K., Smittenaar, P., Van Hest, J.
Controlled disassembly of peptide amphiphile fibres.
Journal of Peptide Science, 14(2), 127-133. [pubmed | pdf]