Professor Sylvia Xueni Pan

Sylvia has extensive experience working in VR researching Virtual Reality technology and social neuroscience.

Staff details

Professor Sylvia Xueni Pan


Professor of Virtual Reality




x.pan (


Xueni Pan is a Professor of Virtual Reality. Working in VR for almost 20 years she developed a unique interdisciplinary research profile with journal and conference publications in both VR technology and social neuroscience. Her work in training and education in VR has been featured multiple times in the media, including BBC Horizon and the New Scientist magazine. More info can be found on Xueni Pan's website.

Academic qualifications

  • 2009 PhD in Virtual Reality, Computer Science Department, UCL
  • 2005 MSc in Vision, Imaging, and Virtual Environments, Computer Science Department, UCL
  • 2004 BEng in Computer Science, Beihang University, Beijing, China


Before joining Goldsmiths in 2015, she worked as a research associate in Computer Science, UCL from 2009-2013, and in the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), UCL from 2013-2015, where she remains an honorary research fellow.

Modules she taught/is current teaching at Goldsmiths include:

  • 3D Virtual Environments and Animation (previously Advanced Graphics and Animation)
  • Data Visualisation
  • Audio-Visual Computing
  • Perception and Multimedia Computing

Areas of supervision

The use of Immersive Virtual Reality in: Cognitive Neuroscience, Social Interaction, Training, Education, and Psychotherapy.

VR technology: Character Animation (facial expression, motion capture), Photogrammetry built Virtual Environment.

Professional activities

Xueni Pan has participated in the following projects

Picking up ethical challenges within the humdrum of professional practice: can 3D avatars help? Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, HENCEL (Health Education North and Central London), and the Wellcome Trust. In Collaboration with UCL Laws and UCL Computer Science. More info can be found on the Virtual Realities and Professions page.

INTERACT: ERC funded project looking at how we subconsciously copy each other, using Virtual Reality. The project was based at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (ICN), UCL. More info can be found on INTERACT's webpage.

Moral Judgement and Virtual Reality: funded by the Leverhulme Trust to investigate how we make moral judgements - and more importantly whether our moral judgements are aligned with our moral action, in Virtual Reality. The project was based at the Department of Computer Science, UCL. More info can be found on UCL's project page.

Featured work

Publications and research outputs

Book Section

Gillies, Marco; Ballin, Daniel; Pan, Xueni and Dodgson, Neil. 2008. Semi-Autonomous Avatars: A New Direction for Expressive User Embodiment. In: Lola Cañamero and Ruth Aylett, eds. Animating Expressive Characters for Social Interaction. John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 235-255. ISBN 9789027252104


Dobre, Georgiana Cristina; Gillies, Marco and Pan, Xueni. 2022. Immersive Machine Learning for Social Attitude Detection in Virtual Reality Narrative Games. Virtual Reality, 26(4), pp. 1519-1538. ISSN 1359-4338

Gibbs, Janet K.; Gillies, Marco and Pan, Xueni. 2022. A Comparison of the Effects of Haptic and Visual Feedback on Presence in Virtual Reality. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 157, 102717. ISSN 1071-5819

Zibrek, Katja; Pan, Xueni and Orel, Marko. 2021. Meeting Remotely-The Challenges of Optimal Avatar Interaction in VR. Frontiers in Virtual Reality, 2, 773258. ISSN 2673-4192

Conference or Workshop Item

Amirov, Assankhan; Castegnaro, Andrea; Rudzka, Katarzyna; Burgess, Neil; Chan, Dennis and Pan, Xueni. 2024. 'Augmented Reality as a Potential Tool for Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease: A Pilot Study'. In: 12th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health. Madeira, Portugal 7 - 9 August 2024.

Collingwoode-Williams, Tara; Gillies, Marco; Nambyiah, Pratheeban; Fertleman, Caroline and Pan, Xueni. 2024. 'Delivering Bad News: VR Embodiment of Self Evaluation in Medical Communication Training'. In: International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health. Madeira, Portugal 7-9 August 2024.

Jamalian, Nima; Constantinides, Marios; Joglekar, Sagar; Pan, Xueni and Quercia, Daniele. 2023. 'Our Nudges, Our Selves: Tailoring Mobile User Engagement Using Personality'. In: INTERACT 2023. York, United Kingdom 28 August - 1 September 2023.

Research Interests

  • Virtual Reality
  • Social Neuroscience