Erinma Ochu


I am queer and I am a neuroscientist.//


Hi, I’m a queer neuroscientist, queering and decolonising my discipline through black feminist and non-binary thought to better understand how we can steward and sustain our micro-environments from the hostilities and legacies of colonialism, including imperial science, the climate crisis and wider social inequalities.

I grew up in East London and recently moved back there after 20 years in the North of England. From an early age I was fascinated by patterns and pattern generation. Photography, film and wanting to understand how we’ve evolved to recognise patterns have been different ways to explore that. My claim to queer science fame is designing the 2012 Turing’s Sunflower experiment, involving the public in furthering Alan Turing’s interests in looking at number patterns in nature. This was devised with computational biologist Professor Jonathan Swinton and delivered with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, which now houses this very diverse sunflower, discovered as part of this public experiment and which featured in an exhibition celebrating Turing being picked to appear on the £50 note. This work has implications beyond biology, potentially in re-imagining artificial intelligence, but also for encouraging and valuing diversity and queer politics in science.