Research Interests: My research focuses on mapping the human brain in health and disease and particularly on biomarkers and underlying mechanisms of psychiatric diseases. This builds upon my expertise in population neuroscience, neuroimaging, and social neuroscience.
In my largest study so far, I focus on the neural-hormonal coupling during negative affect in patients with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. I am verifying the presence of the neural and hormonal signatures of depressive symptomatology, which might possibly serve as early biomarkers, in a cohort of typically developing young adults. I am also interested in the comorbidity of psychiatric disorders with general medical disorders such as cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Thanks to the access to several European and North American cohort studies, I can take a life-course perspective and investigate the early origins of adult diseases. Starting with small-scale experimental studies focused on the sources of altered brain structure and function (e.g., studies of the impact of prenatal and pubertal androgens, studies of the role of menstrual cycle and the use oral contraception on brain function, studies on the effects of short term sleep deprivation on structural fluctuations in white matter), we can verify the results on samples from hundreds of individuals to improve our confidence in the findings. In particular, I am interested in prenatal and early postnatal exposures (stress, proinflammatory cytokines, androgens), development during adolescence, and their impact on health in adulthood.
- University of Toronto (prof. Paus, prof. Pausova)
- Harvard Medical School (prof. Goldstein)
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Dr. Nikolova)
Grants in the past:
- Biomarkers and underlying mechanisms of vulnerability to depression (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IEF) - Marie Curie Fellow
- Sleep deprivation and structural fluctuations in white matter (funding from MŠMT and Child Mind Institute) - Local Coordinator