Marie Zelenina, Artificial Intelligence MSc & Neurobiology MSc – Biomedical Engineering PhD Student (FCUL and NIMH, USA)


I am a Biomedical Engineering PhD student at the University of Lisbon and a Pre-doctoral Research Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), USA. I am co-supervised by Dr. Diana Prata (ULisboa, IBEB, Biomedical Neuroscience Lab: DPrataLab) and Dr. Argyris Stringaris (NIMH, Section of Clinical and Computational Psychiatry: CompΨ). Before this, I obtained an MSc in Neurobiology from the University of Porto and, at DPrataLab, researched on the effect of oxytocin on human resting-state EEG. Before that, I obtained an MSc in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh and analysed human eye-tracking data.
My current research mainly focuses on human affective neuroscience. I am also interested in, and contributing to, a range of topics in social neuroscience and psychopathology. Outside of research, I enjoy cooking and eating my way through the world’s map (can’t ever say no to Goan fish curry!), spending time in nature and winter sports. I am also an eager, albeit not very proficient, runner and climber.

Gonçalo Cosme, Biomedical Engineering MSc – Lab Technician  & FCT-sponsored PhD student


I first joined Diana Prata’s lab in 2017 with a master’s in biomedical engineering at FCT-UNL to work as lab technician. My core responsibilities were to setup equipment (MRI, EEG, ECG, EDA, Eye Tracking) and to synchronize them with the behavioral paradigms and themselves for data collection. As increased my familiarity with the topics discussed in the lab, so did my interest in Oxytocin and social cognition. In 2019 I received FCT funding to enrol in FCUL’s biomedical and biophysics PhD program. My research goal is to describe Oxytocin’s effects on attention allocation and salience attribution using, primarily, eye tracking neurocorrelates. In the future I hope to continue to expand my expertise in Oxytocin research to other neurocorrelates (autonomic: ECG, and EDA; and neuroimaging), while also studying Oxytocin’s interplay with other neurotransmitters.


Vasco Sá – Behavioural Neuroscience BSc –  ISCTE-IUL Psychology PhD student

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I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University. I am now working at Diana Prata’s lab as a part of my curricular program, where I mostly assist with task design and development, while learning the tools and concepts of research in cognitive neuroscience. I am particularly interested in research on diagnostic heterogeneity in psychiatry and mental illness etiology. I am now conducting a PhD, with fellowship awarded by FCT,  to conduct research on psychiatric phenotypes using MRI data and machine learning.


Rafael Esteves – Biomedical Sciences Bsc, Biopharmaceutical Sciences (FFUL) MSc – PhD student

42994764_1832858270095077_3052113376692928512_nI have a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, from where I gained a passion for Neurobiology, more specifically for Behavioral and Cognitive Neurosciences. So to better understand how molecular changes in the brain can affect our own behavior, I enrolled in the Biopharmaceutical Sciences Master’s degree in Faculdade de Farmácia (Universidade de Lisboa), with several units having a focus on Neurobiology (i.e. Neuroinflammation and Neuropharmacology), and joined Diana Prata’s Lab for both my Msc and PhD theses work. I intend do study Oxytocin and it’s relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Sonja Graf, Ethnochoreology MSc (University of Limerick, Ireland) – PhD student


I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Neuroanthropology. My research takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of social dances. My aim is to understand social bonding at the biochemical level of the dance (touch, synchrony and oxytocin) and how this influences group bonding and social integration. I have a very interdisciplinary background: in 2017 I graduated from Amsterdam University College, a liberal arts school, and received a bachelor’s in Philosophy and Literature with a special focus on culture. In 2020 I graduated with first-class honors with a master’s degree in Ethnochoreology (anthropology of dance) from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. I am currently doing an internship at Diana’s lab where we are developing this neuro-anthropological project.




Sara Lopes Ferreira – Clinical Psychology Msc – Neuroscience Msc student (FMUL) – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

In 2017, I got my Msc in Clinical Psychology from Faculty of Psychology of the University of Lisbon. I have also developed clinical practice among generIMG_3236al population and at-risk populations, namely subjects with patterns of substance abuse and refugees. Attached to that, I embrace a great interest on the neural basis of psychological trauma and personality traits, and their effects on social cognition. Therefore, I decided to enrol in a Msc in Neuroscience and in a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Lisbon. From now on, I intend to do research in Affective and Social Neuroscience among populations with severe social impairments, particularly with psychopathology. Exploring that through neuroimaging and psychophysiological techniques made me join Diana Prata’s Lab, where I have been conducting my current Msc and PhD thesis projects. 


Andreia Santiago, Health Science BSc – Neuroscience MSc (FMUL) student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED!


1583092312488.JPEGI hold a Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences, lectured in five faculties of the University of Lisbon, which allowed me to learn about the general functioning and pathology of the human body as well as its relationship with the brain. I always had an interest in neuroscience research, particularly for neuropsychiatric diseases, which led me to enroll in the MSc in Neuroscience (Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon) and join Diana Prata’s Lab. I’m currently working on my master’s thesis where I explore oxytocin and social salience attribution using behavioral and neural measures. My aim is to contribute to the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry and, as a future neuroscientist, study how Biology, (Epi)Genetics and Behavior relate to one another through neuroimaging and psychophysiological tools.


Alexandra Rodrigues, Medicine MSc (FMUL) – Volunteer trainee

alexandrarodriguesxol (1)I hold a Master’s degree in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto and I dedicate myself to neuroimaging and psychiatry. Neuroscientific developments have provided the possibility of searching for the biological substrates of psychiatric disorders. This has opened an unprecedented opportunity to diagnose, predict outcomes and improve the quality of treatment for patients. Motivated by this, I am currently working with fMRI and psychosis, assisting with clinical knowledge in designing protocols and conducting experimental sessions. While at the lab, I also intend to improve my proficiency in the field of computational psychiatry, with a focus on machine learning analysis of neuroimaging data.


João Simões, Biomedical Engineering (IST) – MSC student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED!

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I am a Biomedical Engineering finalist at Instituto Superior Técnico and, during the 1st semester of 2019/2020, I studied at FH Technikum Wien, Vienna, within the Erasmus program. During the summer of 2019, I worked as an intern at Faculdade Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa, FCUL. My work consisted of applying and evaluating network analysis algorithms to predict new genes associated with a pair of related diseases. In February of 2020, I began my work as an intern at the Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering (IBEB), University of Lisbon. Thus far, I have worked on modulating the outputs of a study where participants played consecutive trials choosing between two options, based on the Prisoner’s dilemma, using a Q Learning Models to study the effects of vasopressin and oxytocin on the process of learning. Furthermore, I have great interest in the study of neurological phenomena, using computational modelling and medical imaging.


Henrique Santos, Medicine MSc, Psychiatry intern (CHPL) – Volunteer trainee


I attained a master’s degree after graduating from Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de Lisboa and I am currently specializing in Psychiatry in Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa. There is a need for evidence on the mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders and these are a major cause of incapacity and psychosocial dependency which makes research on this field so important. Having a particular interest in the clinical aspects of research and having the opportunity to be part of neuroimaging research in psychiatric disorders were the two biggest reasons for collaborating with Diana Prata’s team. It has been a very enriching experience so far!


Helena Pereira, Biomedical Engineering MSc – PhD Student (FCT-UNL)

HelenaRicoPereiraHelena holds an MSc in biomedical engineering from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, with the thesis: “Classification of patients with parkinsonian syndromes using medical imaging and artificial intelligence algorithms”. She is now pursuing her PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the same university, closely supervised by Hugo Ferreira, Diana Prata, and José Manuel Fonseca, to continue studying Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases using MRI and artificial intelligence algorithms. Since 2019, Helena has a fellowship from IBEB, Universidade de Lisboa, wherein she is studying imaging biomarkers such as brain connectivity measures to better understand how neurodegenerative disorders affect the brain. Helena is fascinated by neurosciences, and hopes to see her research contribute to and enhance the knowledge regarding these diseases, conducting to the improvement and the creation of tools for early diagnosis.


Daniel Correia, Neuroscience MSc, Data Science Post-Grad (University of Lisbon) – Researcher


I graduated from the University of Lisbon with a BSc in Molecular Biology & Genetics + Minor degree in Mathematics and a MSc in Neurosciences. I have also recently completed a post-graduation in Data Science and Advanced Analytics at NOVA-IMS. Leading to the development of my master thesis, I have worked in the area of Behavioural and Computational Neurosciences, at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, in Vienna. Here, I had the opportunity of developing analytical quantification methods to analyse neuronal calcium imaging confocal data that I acquired, in order to understand fundamental biological mechanisms underlying the integration of sensory and motor information in the brain.  Currently, at Diana Prata’s lab, I work in the field of Social Cognition. I am characterizing the role of oxytocin in brain function and social cognition by analysing continuous EEG data.


Rute Patuleia, Biochemistry BSc (FCUL) – Neuroscience (FMUL) MSc student

Screenshot 2022-05-18 at 22.33.29I have a degree in Biochemistry from the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, and I am now doing my Masters in Neuroscience. I have always been interested in human behaviour, which is inevitably inherent in the processing of biological signals. In this way, I aspire to become a researcher in the field of behavioural neurobiology, relating it to some psychiatric diseases and to contribute to the resolution of interdisciplinary problems, as well as to the development of science and human life. I am currently working on my Master’s thesis, under the supervision of Dr. Diana Prata, in which I intend to study oxytocin and its relationship with Schizophrenia through an fMRI and epigenomics approach.


Professional ProfileGi Yi Ho (Jasmine), Psychology BSc student (Northeastern University, USA) – Coop trainee

I am currently completing my BSc degree in Psychology at Northeastern University. I am working at Diana Prata’s lab as part of my academic curriculum to learn more about the interactions between the biology and the psyche in mental disorders and further my experience in clinical research. I am participating in projects on brain imaging and performing appropriate data analysis and literature research. Upon graduation, I aspire to pursue graduate education and a career in clinical psychology. I am most interested in understanding high-functioning youth and children with depression and anxiety, specifically the traumatized or bullied population, and how we may develop better interventions and treatments for them. Outside work, I enjoy cooking/baking, traveling, and going on food adventures.


Inês Bem-Haja – Biomedical Engineering BSc – Neuroscience MSc (FCTUC) student


I hold a BSc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Coimbra, where I was able to develop my passion for Neuroscience, more specifically in Neuropsychiatry. This led me to continue my studies and pursue a MSc with a Specialisation in Neuroscience, which in turn brought me to Diana Prata’s Lab for my thesis. Since I have an interest in psychiatry and neuropharmacology, my work focus will be on a pharmaco-neuroimaging study of the role of oxytocin in schizophrenia.




Amanda Mlekoday, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc student (Northeastern University, USA) – Coop trainee



As a part of my curriculum, I am working at Diana Prata’s lab with the goal of learning more about the different aspects of cognitive neuroscience research. Currently, I am developing skills in data analysis, literature review, and various software programs by assisting in research that investigates the role of oxytocin in social cognition. In the future, I plan to pursue a master’s degree in nursing with the goal of becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. 


Bertrand Beffara, Cognitive Neuroscience PhD – Volunteer Post-Doctoral researcher


I am a young French PhD and assistant-lecturer in cognitive science. My main research interests relate to the study of psychophysiological phenomena at multiple biological scales using multiple investigation tools and following “new research practices” guidelines as much as feasible. I Joined Diana Prata’s team as a research collaborator in order to study the impact of oxytocin on cooperation and empathy and its psychophysiological correlates.




Babke Weenk, Liberal Arts and Sciences BSc, Brain & Cognitive Sciences (University of Amsterdam) – MSc student

I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, which allowed me to delve into my interests in humanities, social science, languages, psychology and neuroscience. Here, I found that I have a deep fascination for social and moral phenomena in combination with neuroscience. My Bachelor’s profilepic_pratathesis explored the relationship between cognitive and affective empathy and sensitivity to fear odors. I then pursued a Master’s degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, which I am currently finishing. For my first Master’s internship, I studied the relationship between conspiracy mentality and neural markers of attention and salience in an EEG decision-making paradigm. For my current internship, I am excited to be part of Diana Prata’s lab, where I will focus on the effects of oxytocin on resting-state brain activity using EEG.  




Sarah Galatoire, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc (Northeastern University, USA) — Co-op trainee

DSC00075I am currently completing my degree in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in International Affairs at Northeastern University in Boston. As a part of my degree program, I am interning at Diana Prata’s lab, which has given me the incredible opportunity to be immersed in cognitive neuroscience and oxytocin research. I am currently assisting in a new research study that explores the intersection of neuroscience and anthropology, specifically the neurobiological underpinnings of social dance. In the future, I plan to continue in neuroscience research while pursuing a career in medicine.

Anya Trubelja, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc (Northeastern University, USA) — Co-op trainee

IMG_1622I am currently pursuing my bachelors in behavioral neuroscience from Northeastern University. I am from Palo Alto, California and have previously worked at Camarillo Lab at Stanford University, ZMBH at Heidelberg University, and Chen Lab at Boston University. My goal is to pursue a career in R&D for brain computer interfaces. I am currently working as an intern at Diana’s Prata Lab as a intern as apart of my bachelors studies.



Larkin Stephenson, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc (Northeastern University, USA) — Co-op trainee

I am currently studying for my bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University. As part of my education, I am interning at Diana Prata’s Lab. Here I am studying oxytocin’s effect on behavior, attention, and social saliency with the help of fMRI and eye tracking. I am incredibly excited to be a part of these projects at the Lab. Apart from Dr. Prata’s Lab, I have prior and ongoing multifaceted research focused on traumatic brain injury prevention, education, patient care, and technology.



Sara Farinha, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc (Northeastern University, USA) — Co-op trainee

I am currently studying for a bachelor’s in Behavioural Neuroscience with a minor in Chinese at Northeastern University. As I am originally from Portugal, it’s exciting to return as an intern at the Diana Prata Lab. Here I am studying the role of oxytocin in human behavior, with the intention of then applying our findings to the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. As of now, I am involved in a longitudinal study exploring the neurochemistry of the dance forró and will soon be part of a new fMRI study at Hospital Santa Maria. I am excited to continue my research alongside my colleagues in the upcoming months. In the future, I hope to engage in cancer biology research while pursuing a career in medicine.



Pia Stoepper, Medicine Msc (University of Utrecht, the Netherlands) – Erasmus trainee

I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in Medicine at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands. My studies in the Netherlands,C6F0FE76A06D4586BB69E1461A26F77D my German background and internships in Austria and Portugal have given me insights into different health care systems. In previous research, I focused particularly on public health and mental health challenges of different minority groups. Besides, I am interested in psychiatry and the use of multidisciplinary, practice-based interventions and am excited about the various social dance projects that Diana Prata’s lab is exploring. During my internship in the lab, I will be part of the DANSOT project, which investigates the effects of social dance on oxytocin levels and social cognition tasks in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.





And, as Guest Scientists:


Philippe Pinel, Physics MSc, Cognitive Neuroscience Phd – Guest Scientist


I graduated from Paris VI University with a Ph.D in Cognitive Neuroscience and worked at INSERM for about 15 years. My initial works concerned the neural processing of symbols (digits, words), using various technics of brain imaging (EEG, fMRI, DTI). This expertise allowed me to develop various protocols in collaboration with neuropsychologists (Gerstmann syndrome, epileptic patients) and geneticists (Pasteur Institute), targeting the parietal and temporal lobe and their biomarkers (asymmetry, sulci and white matter organization). In particular, using a twins cohort and a database combining fMRI and SNPs, I could establish original correlations between genetic factors and brain activations.  These neuroscience methods are of course only one way of approaching cognition, and my understanding has been intensively nourished by other interests: dance (tango), animal behaviour (invertebrate cognition) and recently hypnosis. As my curiosity is more oriented toward the social cognition, I took advantage of my stay in Lisbon to collaborate with Diana Prata and her students to know more about the world of hormones and how oxytocin could alter neural circuits.

Hugo Ferreira, Medicine MSc & Physics MSc, Physics PhD, Assistant Professor (FCUL) – Guest Scientist

I hold a medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon and a physics engineering degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) of the TechnicalUniversity of Lisbon. I also hold a PhD degree in physics from IST, whereas my doctoral studies were done at INESC-MicrosysteHugo-Ferreirams and Nanotechnologies and at the BioEngineering Research Group – IST. I was a founder and the CEO of Haloris Nanotechnologies, a biosensor start-up and later I was a clinical education and application specialist for magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography at Siemens Healthcare. I then returned to academia as a researcher on neuroimaging at the Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering (IBEB) of the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon (FCUL). Now I am an assistant professor at FCUL where I teach Neurosciences and Neuromodeling, Nanotechnology in Biomedicine, Tissue Engineering and Artificial Organs, Medical Robotics, and Mechanisms of Disease. I am also the coordinator of the Masters in Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics at FCUL. At IBEB my current research topics include Brain Connectivity and classification of Neuroimaging and Neurophysiological signals, Physiological and Affective Computing, and Neuromarketing. Further information: ,



Carlotta Cogoni, Cognitive Neuroscience PhD – Post-Doctoral researcher

IMG_1687_RAfter having obtained a degree in Experimental Biology, and an MSc in Neuroscience, I’ve completed a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy. During my first post-doc at the University of Trento, I mainly worked on objectification processes that imply the reduction of a someone into a something both at a behavioral and neural level. The focus of my research is on the perceptual, cognitive, affective and neural process of sexual objectification (e.g., analytic/configural perceptual process, sexual objectification, neural correlates of empathy). I’m currently extending my social neuroscience research interest to another aspect of social cognition: I recently embarked on a new adventure together with Diana Prata, we will investigate the oxytocin and the dopamine systems contribution to social cognition.

Filipa Ramos Freire, Criminal and Forensic Psychology MSc student (Egas Moniz University, Portugal) – Volunteer trainee46173028_1041012196096826_8249127274910056448_n

I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in Criminal and Forensic Psychology at the Egas Moniz University (Portugal). I started collaborating at Diana Prata’s Lab as part of my academic internship, under the supervision of psychologist Sara Lopes Ferreira, assisting with forensic psychology instruments and insight. I am most interested in scientific research in the field of psychology, as well physiology and neural correlates of psychology and human behavior. Particularly, group psychology and criminology.

Vânia Tavares, Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering MSc (FMUL)- M2B PhD student – PhD THESIS COMPLETED (APPROVED WITH DISTINCTION & PRAISE)!

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I hold a MSc in Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering from Faculty of Sciences of University of Lisbon since 2014. I am a research team member at the Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering (IBEB), University of Lisbon, since 2013, with specialisation in Neuroimaging. In particular, I have been focused on developing multimodal biomarkers for clinical analysis. In 2015, I worked at the Instituto Luso-Ilírio para o Desenvolvimento Humano, where I developed museum activities using bio-signals (brain and non-brain signals) combined with user-computer interfaces. I am now a PhD Student at IBEB and teh Faculty of Medicina of the University of Lisbon and I have been granted a FCT-funded fellowship under the Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics Doctoral Programme (M2B). My research is now focused on developing a classification model based on multimodal data, including genetics, psychological assessments and magnetic resonance imaging (both structural and functional), with the final goal of predicting the onset of schizophrenia. My work is closely supervised by Diana Prata and Hugo Ferreira.

Daniela Chesi, Psychology BSc (University of Innsbruck) – Neuropsychology (Maastricht University, The Netherlands) MSc student MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

DanielaChesiI obtained my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Innsbruck in 2021. Currently I’m finishing a master’s degree in Neuropsychology at Maastricht University and a master’s degree in Psychology at the University of Innsbruck. My main research interest is social cognition and psychiatric disorders. I joined Diana Prata’s Lab to complete my master thesis on the role of oxytocin on valence and arousal in schizophrenic patients, supervised by Diana Prata. Additionally to that, I have the chance complement my work in the lab with some clinical shadowing at the CHPL. ​ 


Lara Kunze, Biophysics MSc (Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany) MSc student – Curricular Trainee

1635332611133After getting interested in biophysics during my bachelor thesis on  lensless microscopy for cell imaging, I am studying physics with specialization in biophysics within a masters program at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Neuroscience aroused my fascination while I was looking for an interesting and meaningful research area for a traineeship. At Diana Pratas lab I am characterizing brain connectivity networks derived from MRI scans and I am studying the changes of these networks under the influence of Alzheimer’s disease.  My goal is to get a better understanding how this pathology affects the brain. Besides that, I am aiming to learn as much as possible about neuroscience as well as to improve my skills in programming and scientific working.


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Nuno Vouga Ribeiro, Medical Student MSc (FMUL) – Volunteer trainee

I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in Medicine at Faculdade de Medicina (Universidade de Lisboa). Having had an interest in neuroscience research – particularly regarding the neurobiological basis of psychiatric pathology – I started to collaborate as a trainee at Diana Prata’s Lab since late 2018. For the moment being, I intend to develop skills in study design and implementation and statistics, as well as to contact with different tools for assessing neurobiological phenomena (MRI, fMRI, EEG and eye-tracking).


Grace Dobbins, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc student (Northeastern University, USA) – Coop trainee 

GraceDobbinsI am currently completing my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University. As a part of my experiential learning curriculum, I am working as a student intern in Diana Prata’s lab to develop my research skills and further my understanding of the biological basis of human behavior. I am assisting with research that investigates the role of oxytocin in social cognition, particularly examining how eye-tracking measurements can be useful in understanding how sexual objectification modulates decision making and cooperation. Post-graduation, I aspire to matriculate to medical school and pursue a career as a neurologist. Outside of the lab, I have been enjoying living in Lisbon and learning about Portuguese culture. I also love trying new foods, traveling, and crossword puzzles. 


Alexandra Counts, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc student (Northeastern University, USA) – Coop trainee 

AlexandraCountsI am currently pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Health, Humanities, and Society at Northeastern University. As a critical aspect of my learning curriculum at Northeastern, I get the opportunity to work at Diana Prata’s lab in assisting in both Post Doctoral research and PhD projects. I have been under guidance in performing literature review and data analysis and have been learning in depth about neurological research techniques as well as bettering my skills in analytical thought in the context of complex scientific topics and writing. In the future, I would like to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and working in Diana Prata’s lab is helping me become a more well rounded future healthcare provider, by allowing me to truly understand and appreciate the aspects that go into furthering our understanding in Neuroscience. 


Effie Mitou, Medicine MSc (Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ioannina, Greece) – Erasmus  trainee

EffieMitouI hold a Master’s degree in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ioannina, Greece. Due to my interest in neurobiological basis of psychiatric disorders I started working in Diana’s Prata lab as a part of my Erasmus+ traineeship. In the lab I work as a research assistant, mostly collecting data regarding biomarkers and neuroimaging. After completing my traineeship I am going to specialize in Children and Adolescents Psychiatry.


Alexandra Norce, Behavioral Neuroscience BSc student (Northeastern University, USA) – Coop trainee

AlexandraNorceI am currently in my second year of my undergraduate studies as a Behavioral Neuroscience major at Northeastern University. I am working as an intern in Diana Prata’s lab as a part of a curricular program at Northeastern. I am currently assisting with data analysis and reading literature while also learning more about research in cognitive neuroscience. I am specifically interested in etiology of psychiatric disorders and using that information to develop better diagnostic techniques and treatments. In the future, I plan to attend medical school and focus on neurology, psychiatry, or neuroradiology.

Anna Jensma, Liberal Arts and Sciences BSc (Amsterdam University College, The Netherlands) – Neurosciences (Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands) MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! Picture 1

I have obtained my Bsc degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Amsterdam University College, specializing in the pre-med and global health. Profound experiences during a long-term meditation retreat in the Himalayas had given me insight in the malleability of our human experience, making me realize I want to explore how the brain shapes our reality. That is the reason why I enrolled in the research master program Neurosciences at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Currently in my second year, I am doing my final research internship at Diana Prata’s lab, under supervision of Dr. Diana Prata and Dr. Maciej Kosilo. I am investigating resting state brain dynamics after oxytocin administration using EEG, focusing on how oxytocin affects individual neural oscillations and how this might affect social salience. My aim is to develop my research skills to become a successful researcher in the field of cognitive neuroscience and to contribute to the development of therapeutic interventions for mental health. When I am not looking at brain waves, you will probably find me in the ocean, surfing.

Maciej Kosilo, Psychology PhD – Post-Doctoral researcher


I completed my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and obtained a PhD from City, University of London (UK). My main interests revolve around cognition and perception, as well as the application of EEG and psychophysical methods to study these topics in health and disease, particularly in psychosis. During my PhD, I investigated how visual channels that combine and relay visual information from the retina to the brain contribute to performance on a visual working memory task, and whether the influence of each visual channel can be differentiated using EEG. As o post-doctoral researcher in Dr Diana Prata’s lab, I will continue to investigate how low-level mechanisms contribute to more complex cognition by looking into the role the neuropeptide oxytocin plays in social cognition and salience attribution.

Marta Guerra Neves, Neuroscience BSc (University of Sussex, UK) – Erasmus trainee

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I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at the University of Sussex, and am working in Diana Prata’s lab as part of my curriculum. In the lab I work as a research assistant, mostly collecting and analysing psychophysiological and genetic data. I am most interested in learning more about how biomarkers can be used to predict the onset and prognosis of neuropsychiatric illness.

Daniela Mendes – Computer Science (IST) – ResearcherDanielaMendes

I obtained a BSc in Computer Science in 2020, at Instituto Superior Técnico – University of Lisbon, where I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in the same field, with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence. I joined Diana Prata’s lab to develop my thesis as, during my degree, I became very interested in combining Informatics and Machine Learning with the medical field, where I hope to help develop tools that will contribute to improve people’s lives.

Carolina Vicente, Engineering and Data Science (IST) – MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

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I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in Engineering and Data Science in Instituto Superior Técnico, after having obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Computation. I am now working at Diana Prata’s lab to develop my thesis, bringing my experience with Machine Learning and Data Science while learning about neuroscience. I was always interested in neuroscience and now I am looking forward to learning more about this topic in conjunction with tools I acquired in my degrees.

Rui Nóbrega, Computer Science and Engineering (IST) – MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

foto-1I am currently enrolled in a Master´s degree in Computer Science and Engineering at Instituto Superior Técnico, specialized in Data Processing and Analysis and Intelligent Systems. I am now working under the supervision of Dr. Diana Prata in order to contribute with my knowledge in Data Science and machine Learning and to develop my thesis in neuroscience. Working under Dr. Diana Prata supervision has been an enriching experience as I have been able to increase my knowledge in Neuroscience as well as develop new skills.

Catarina Carvalho, Biochemistry BSc (FCUL) – Biomedical Engineering (ISEL) – Researcher


I have a Bachelor´s degree in Biochemistry from Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa and now I am pursuing my Master´s degree in Biomedical Engineering. I´m currently starting my final year of Master’s degree at Diana Prata´s Lab, where I will work on my thesis: “The role of oxytocin in sexual objectification: an EEG study.”. I have a great fascination and interest in Neuroscience. The possibility of learning as well as deepening my training in this multidisciplinary science will give me tools so that I can contribute to the advancement of this field in order to develop treatments that benefit human kind.

Tânia Muratori – Emotion Sciences (CIS, ISCTE-IUL) MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

Sandra Sunny, Cell Biology BSc student (University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK) – Volunteer trainee

Inés Moreno, Biotechnology BSc student (University of Girona, Spain) – Erasmus trainee

Isabella Chang, Molecular and Cell Biology BSc student (Berkeley University of California, USA) – Volunteer trainee

Rafael Esteves – Biomedical Sciences Bsc – Biopharmaceutical Sciences (FFUL) – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

Mathieu Mach, Computational Neurosciences MSc student (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) – Mobility trainee

20210507_122010 (1)I am currently doing a master’s degree in Computational Neurosciences at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). I am now working with Diana’s team in order to gain more knowledge and contribute to their projects concerning Data Analysis, MRI image quality control, and Machine Learning aiming at neurological diagnoses. Having always been interested in neurosciences and AI technics, working at Diana Prata’s lab is a great and rewarding experience including many different domains and therefore is always interesting.

Sai Buchireddy, Electrical and Computer Engineering BSc student (Northeastern University, Boston, USA) – Coop trainee


I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a minor in Mathematics at Northeastern University. I’m working at Diana Prata’s lab as part of my curricular program. By working in several different projects, I aim to gain exposure to neuroinformatics, neuro-engineering, and psychopathology while also improving my engineering skills in programming signal processing algorithms and building biomedical devices. In the future, I would like to study Neurology & Neuropsychology to not only better understand the human brain but also to improve society in a meaningful way

Bárbara Querido Oliveira, Medicine MSc (CHLN) – Volunteer trainee

ana bárbara querido oliveira_14767 (1)I graduated from Faculdade de Medicina of Universidade de Lisboa in 2018 and I’m currently working as a trainee in Diana Pratas’ Lab. When I first contacted with Psychiatry, during my course, I had great expectations and I imagined that we knew much more about the interfaces between mind and brain than we actually did. Besides that, I noticed other big issue around these disorders: stigma and marginalization. I believe that knowledge is the way to fight these phenomena, particularly human behaviour research. That’s what motivated me not to start my medical practice right away and be part of this team, to find answers and to grow as a scientist. I intend do my specialisation in Psychiatry, Pedopsychiatry or Pediatrics.

Joana Monteiro, Biomedical Engineering MSc student (FCT-UNL) – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 


Even though I am currently finishing my Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering at FCT NOVA, I have only started to scratch the surface of the world of neurosciences with the help of the members of Diana Prata’s lab. I have started working on my thesis here at the lab, under the supervision of Diana Prata where I intend to study and understand the effect of psychosis-relevant epigenetic variability on brain structure. As a passionate student in this interdisciplinary environment, I hope to contribute to the understanding of important genetic biomarkers for psychological disorders like schizophrenia, with the goal of studying the etiology of these disorders. My intended path is to keep my work closely related to psychiatry as a future biomedical engineer, because the human brain is too interesting not be studied and still holds many answers yet to be discovered.

Meghan Beck – Behavioral Neuroscience BSc student (Northeastern University, Boston, USA) – Coop trainee

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I am pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University. As part of my program, I am working in Diana Prata’s lab. I hope to be exposed to several facets of neuroscience research and progress my technical skills to help me develop as a scientist. I am interested in neuroimaging and its ability to give insight into how brain structure and function affect each individual’s reality. In the future, I plan to pursue medical school.

Ana Leonor Neto – Neuroeconomics MSc student (Maastricht University, NL) – Volunteer trainee

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As a psychology student I have always been fascinated by the multiple ways in which our social lives shape how we think and how we behave. I am currently collaborating with Diana Prata’s Lab while also taking a Neuroeconomics MSc at Maastricht University. More specifically, I aim to go deeper in the understanding of human decision making, with a focus on the influence of social cognition on our behaviour, tapping into the concepts of justice, fairness and morality.

Leslie Hassanein – Behavioural Neuroscience Bsc student (Northeastern University,  Boston, USA) – Coop trainee 

image.pngI am in the process of finishing my undergraduate degree in Behavioral Neuroscience at Northeastern University, working in Diana Prata’s Lab as part of my curriculum.  I was drawn to this lab for several reasons, mainly due to its focus on oxytocin and research that has the potential to improve the lives of many. Here, I have been exposed to many different phases of research, primarily task development. After completing a long relationship with academia, I hope to pursue a career in pharmaceutical research, focusing mainly on neuroendocrine disorders.

Angelica Fiuza – Health Science Bsc student (Northeastern University,  Boston, USA) – Coop trainee 

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I am currently finishing my Bachelor’s degree in Health Science at Northeastern University. As a part of my curricular program, I am now working at Diana Prata’s Lab where I am learning the process of research of cognitive neuroscience through assisting with paradigm design. Through working on different projects in the lab, I aim to develop my skills in statistics and various software programs, while gaining a deeper understanding of how neuroimaging tools can be used to better comprehend clinical presentations by looking at the structure of the brain. With the goal to pursue medicine in the future, I am interested in learning more about this field not only to discern the brain body connection, but also obtain insight into patient’s behavior.

João Malhadas Martins, MD, Psychiatrist & Psychopathology MSc – Researcher


I am a consultant psychiatrist at the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health in Santarém Hospital. I hold a Master’s degree in Medicine from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon. Currently, I am finishing the thesis for my Master’s degree in Psychopathology from University of Lisbon, titled as “Subjective Well-Being in the Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders”. My research interest lies in the area of Social Cognitive Neurosciences in Mental Disorders. I joined Diana Prata’s Lab in 2019.

Beatriz Simões, FCUL Biomedical Engineering MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

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I am a Biomedical and Biophysics Engineering MSc student in Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa. At Diana Prata’s Lab, I analyze DTI data in order to comprehend how a poligenetic risk impacts the white matter microstructure in healthy subjects, schizophrenia and bipolar patients. Previously, I have worked as a student at TUM-NIC, Technishe Universitat Munchen – Neuroimaging Center, where I studied dopamine and volumetric changes in the brain of schizophrenia patients when compared with healthy subjects.  I am particularly interested in comprehending the structural and functional alterations that occur in the brain of people with neuropsychiatric disorders.

Marie Zelenina, FCUP Artificial Intelligence MSc – Neurobiology MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

André Sousa, MD – FCUL Neuroscience MSc student – Researcher

Guilherme Nobre – FMUL Medical Sciences BSc student – Researcher

Luís Guerra – IST Information & Computer Engineering MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

Diogo Tecelão – FCT-UNL Biomedical Engineering BSc student – Curricular trainee

João Pizarro – ISCTE Neuropsychology MSc – Researcher

Svetlana Postarnak – FPUL Cognitive Science MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

Mónica Costa, Psychology BSc – FMUL Neuroscience MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 


I hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and am currently taking a Neuroscience Masters Degree at the University of Lisbon. I’m interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary approach with psychology, biology and computation on cognitive processes. Specifically, decision making, theory of mind and conscience, as well as their dysfunction in mental illness. My ultimate goal is to explore decision making, opening the path to understanding how we make the decision of what is reality and what is hallucination and its biological underlying mechanisms. Science communication is another interest of mine, having developed a ‘science storytelling’ blog where I explain Neuroscience findings in an artistic way (

Mariana Balseiro – IST Biomedical Engineering MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 


I am studying Biomedical Engineering in Instituto Superior Técnico since 2012. I am now working on my Master Thesis here at iMM, under the supervision of Diana Prata and Patrícia Figueiredo (IST). My goal is to study how polygenetic risk may influence structural and functional brain phenotypes in a sample of healthy individuals, schizophrenia patients and schizophrenia non-affected relatives. I will also work on a sample of bipolar patients, since there is a large overlap between the genetic risk factors for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

Sandro Nunes, Biomedical Engineering MSc – Researcher

I am a Biomedical Engineer, having obtained the MSc degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon, in 2014. Since then, I have worked as an associate researcher at the Evolutionary Systems and Biomedical Engineering Lab IMG_0411(LaSEEB), IST, in the field of high-resolution resting-state functional magnetic resonance. Specifically, I have been focused on improving the functional connectivity metrics by characterizing, modelling and removing the sources of physiological noise in the brain. In DPrata Lab I worked on the role of oxytocin on social decision making with a focus on the modelling and neuroimaging components.

Daniel Martins, Medicine MSc – Researcher

13391031_1094248227288374_1138537599_n copyI graduated in Medicine at Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto (MD, MsC – 2015). Between 2010-2015 I worked as a trainee at the Department of Experimental Biology (FMUP)/IBMC – Isaura Tavares’s lab, studying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying chronic pain, where I facilitated the first evidence regarding GABA involvment in spinal 5HT3R-mediated pronociception during diabetic neuropathic pain and explored the role of endovaniloid system in RVM-mediated pain processing in acute and chronic pain paradigms. My research in DPrata Lab was focused on the neurobiological basis underpining human social behavior (with a particular emphasis in the brain oxytocin system, empathy, trust, cooperation, social decision making and social reinforcement learning) and its dysfunction during mental illness (autism and schizophrenia). 

Duarte Ferreira, Biological Engineering MSc – Researcher

I am a Biological Engineer, having completed the MSc degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of Lisbon in 2015. I have done varied research work, ffotorom biological studies in autoimmune diseases, to cell biology studies in Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition; and worked at DPrata Lab applying computational reinforcement learning models, in order to study the effect of oxytocin in (non-)social behavior and brain activation; and designing experimental psychological paradigms and psychophysiological and neuroimaging recordings.

Carina Mendes, Biomedical Engineering MSc – Researcher

I am im_perfilfinishing a Biomedical Engineering MSc from The Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon. During my thesis, I specialised in the integration of several neuroimaging modalities (MR, PET and DTI) to better understand the brain connectivity of glioblastoma patients. At DPrata, I performed fMRI analysis, experimental psychological paradigm design and psychophysiological and neuroimaging recording set up.

Bernardo Moura, FMUL Medicine MSc and Psychiatry resident – Researcher

eu china cropI’m a resident in Psychiatry at Hospital de Santa Maria, University of Lisbon, starting a PhD at DPrata Lab. I’m interested in finding more informative and less stigmatizing frameworks for psychiatric disorders, combining dynamical networks of symptoms and biological markers. 

Gonçalo Oliveira, Psychology MSc, Psychobiology PhD – Post-doc Researcher

GO-2017.jpgI was a Postdoc in Diana Prata’s lab (iMM Lisboa) researching neuropeptide and androgen interactions in key brain areas underlying social and cognitive phenomena in humans. I am supported by an FCT Post-doctoral fellowship. Before joining DPrata lab, I worked under the supervision of Dr. Rui F. Oliveira (ISPA/IGC), first as a research assistant (2009-2010) and later as a Psychobiology Ph.D student (2011-2015; also funded by FCT fellowship). During my Ph.D, we have addressed theoretical and empirical questions on the social modulation of androgens levels, from the underlying mechanisms triggering androgen responses to social challenges, to what are the adaptive functions of these transient changes in androgen levels. After that, I continued at the Oliveira lab with a Post-doctoral position, investigating the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary implications of social plasticity. My initial training is in Clinical Psychology (ISPA-IU) and I’m also a licensed Psychologist (Full-member of Order of the Portuguese Psychologists).

Bernardo Neves, FMUL Medicine MSc & Psychiatry resident – Researcher

I received my MD/MSc from New University of Lisbon in 2012,Foto1 followed by a postgraduate diploma in Neuropsychology from Ordem dos Psicólogos in 2013. After my medical degree, I started working as a resident in Psychiatry at Júlio de Matos Hospital. Seeing so many people struggling with a brain illness due to the lack of effective treatments was the boost that I needed to become interested in research. I am interested in understanding how mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism, produce biases in the recognition of emotional expressions and how these impact social functioning. For this reason, I joined Diana Prata’s Lab team as a research collaborator with the goal of applying for a PhD position. I hope our work will give us new insight into our capacity to interact with other people in health and disease, and provide us with new therapeutic tools for disorders with defective social functioning.

Alessia Ávila, Psychology MSc – Researcher


I am a Clinical Psychologist by background, graduated in Italy with a dissertation on schizophrenia rehabilitation. I have been working as a clinician in an Early Intervention and Early Detection Service in Milan (Italy) and then moved to London to complete my training with an Msc in Neuroscience, specifically focused on psychosis. I have been working as a researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, for 3 years before moving to Diana Prata’s lab. My main research and clinical interests are early phase of psychosis and at-risk mental state, as well as cognitive and imaging correlates of anorexia and brain stimulation techniques.

Katja Brodmann, Psychology MSc, Behaviour and Cognition PhD –  Post-doc researcher

Image_newI studied psychology with the focus on cognitive neuroscience at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany (BSc 2009, MSc 2012) and I received my PhD in systems neuroscience at the Georg-August-University Göttingen, Germany, in 2016.  Currently I am working as a postdoc in Diana Prata’s lab. In her lab, I have the chance to continue and to expand my research regarding the neurobiological basis of social cognition and behaviour. I am especially interested in exploring the interplay between neuropeptides and neurotransmitter during social cognitive tasks and how the interaction is reflected on a neural level by variations in brain activation and functional connectivity.


Inês Fernandes – Biomedical Engineering BSc student – Curricular trainee

Teresa Maia – FCT-UNL Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student – Curricular trainee

Rita Lóios – FCT-UNL Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student –  Curricular trainee

Alexandra Cabrita – FCT-UNL Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student –  Curricular trainee

Emma-Jane Mallas, Psychiatric Research MSc student – MSc THESIS COMPLETED!

Matilde Pato – Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa Assistant Professor – Researcher

Andrew Rees – Luso-American Development Foundation Trainee

Rodrigo Prista – FCUL Biology BSc student – Volunteer rainee

Catarina Sequeira – FCT-UNL Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student – Curricular trainee

Rita Couto, Biological Engineering MSc student – Curricular trainee

Diogo Fernandes, Biological Engineering MSc student –  Curricular trainee

Tiago Castanheira, Biomedical Engineering MSc student –  Curricular trainee

Salwador Cyranowski – Erasmus trainee

Mateusz Gielata – Erasmus trainee

Julia Rogoska – Erasmus trainee

Rubina Gurung, IOPPN-KCL Neuroscience MSc – MSc THESIS COMPLETED! 

Evangelina Bernard, IOPPN-KCL Mental Health Studies Programme MSc – Msc THESIS COMPLETED!

Senita Rani-Robinson, IOPPN-KCL Neuroscience MSc – MSc THESIS COMPLETED!

Andreina Pauli, IOPPN-KCLMedicine BSc – Volunteer trainee

Lailee Zhuo, IOPPN-KCL Medicine BSc – Volunteer trainee

Inês Casqueiro, FPUL Psychology BSc – Researcher



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