PhD-Biomedicine at Universitat de Barcelona, Spain (2010-2015); MSc (Specialised Translation: Scientific, Technical and Medical), Universitat Pompeu Fabra-IDEC, Spain (2010-2011); MSc Neuroscience, Universitat de Barcelona (2008-2009), BSc, Biology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona (2002-2008).
PhD (Biomedicine), MSc (Neuroscience), BSc (Biology)
(Most recent first) DPAG, University of Oxford (Postdoctoral Researcher), Dept. Psychiatry, University of Oxford (Visiting PhD student); Saint John of God Foundation and Parc de Recerca Biomédica Sant Joan de Déu-Universitat de Barcelona, Spain (PhD Student, Master Student, Research Assistant); Parc de Recerca Biomedica de Barcelona (PRBB), Spain, (Undergrad student).
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Research Fellow (University of Oxford), Retaining-fee lecturer in Psychology-Neurophysiology (Somerville College, Oxford)
Department of Pharmacology, University of Oxford (through an EU grant) and Somerville College.
Favourite thing to do in science: Learning new ways to investigate how the brain works.
I study neurons, brains and behaviour.
I live with my husband and our cat in Oxford. I like late mornings and long walks. When I am out of the lab you can find me starting a new craft project, trying a new “improv” recipe, watching some good detective series or playing board games with my husband. I also love nature and hiking (just got back from walking Hadrian’s Wall Path from coast to coast!!). Ah, and I am a huge fan of Doctor Who!
I study how activating certain neurons in the brain affects behaviour.
I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. I am interested in understanding how changes in serotonin have an impact on emotional learning in experimental models. Neurons use specialised chemical mediators called neurotransmitters to communicate with each other, within and across brain regions. Serotonin is a key neurotransmitter in healthy mood regulation and emotional processing. I am researching how changes in the serotonin system in specific areas of the brain have an impact on emotional learning.
Understanding the role of serotonin in emotional learning will help us better understand healthy mood states and the biological mechanisms that make us prone to disorders such as anxiety and depression.
My Typical Day
Hectic and exciting! No two days are ever the same.
I usually get up to the cat-alarm asking for breakfast, but I like sleeping in so my husband usually has to chip in to make sure I do wake up! Breakfast varies but my first coffee is really a must! A walk through the parks gets me to work (usually with lots of stops to see new ducklings and other little wonders!). At work my days are quite varied. Some days I spend a lot of time on my computer analysing data, preparing future experiments or writing up. Other days are really busy with experiments. No time to get bored! I enjoy having different challenges to face every day. On some days I also attend meetings or teach. At the end of the work day I have another nice walk home. Some evenings I go to the gym for a bit of Zumba or running on the treadmill to unwind. I also always find time to play with my kitty and to work on my crochet projects while watching some detective series or the last episode of Doctor Who on the telly!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Friendly, creative, driven.
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
Training younger “researchers-to-be”, it allows me to pass on the knowledge other people previously invested on me!
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
My Biology teacher when I was 14, she encouraged us to think a step ahead and try to understand why biological processes work in a particular way.
What was your favourite subject at school?
History and Literature, surprised? Then Science.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Lots of things! But mainly a teacher and a researcher, and here we are… :D
Were you ever in trouble at school?
The teacher used to tell me off for chatting too much, I could not stop! Haha.
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
A tour guide, scientific translator, languages teacher or writer. Maybe I’d open a literary café…
Who is your favourite singer or band?
I love music, many different styles. At the moment I’m listening a lot to Johnny Flynn.
What's your favourite food?
Sushi, tuna sushi.
What is the most fun thing you've done?
During my last hike, it was raining buckets and I had to descend a very steep stony crag, so I just went down on my bum!! Like a huge slide, it was hilarious! XD
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Happiness, health, and maybe a good grant to continue with my research!!!
Tell us a joke.
What did the cheese say when it looked in the mirror? “Halloumi!” :P