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

GO-2017.jpgI am currently 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).

Alessia Ávila, Psychology MSc – FCT & NeurULisboa PhD student

AlessiaI 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 Lisbon to start my Phd at the Instituto de Medicina Molecular – in 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

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.

Bernardo Neves, 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.

Mariana Balseiro – Biomedical Engineering MSc student


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. 


Mónica Costa, Psychology BSc – Neuroscience MSc student


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 (

Vânia Tavares, Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering MSc – M2B PhD student

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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 Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) 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 (IMM) and Hugo Ferreira (IBEB).

Marie Zelenina, Artificial Intelligence MSc – Neurobiology MSc student


I am passionate about Computational Psychiatry, and I hope to contribute to this multidimensional field with my very diverse background. I hold a MSc in Artificial Intelligence (University of Edinburgh, 2014), and I am currently studying for an MSc in Neurobiology (University of Porto). After I completed my taught units, which ranged from Neuroanatomy and Molecular Biology to Genetics and Computational Neuroscience, I joined Diana Prata’s lab for my thesis work. I will start by looking at gender differences in mentalization, using multimodal data, including eye tracking and EEG. I will be assisting with fMRI data collection and contribute to developing machine learning applications to enable early and precise neuropsychiatric diagnosis with the lab’s startup NeuroPsyCAD.

Beatriz Leitão, Biomedical Engineering MSc student

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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.

Gonçalo Cosme, Biomedical Engineering MSc – Lab Technician


I graduated in 2016 from Universidade Nova de Lisboa with a Masters in Biomedical Engineering. My thesis entitled “Image reconstruction for Ultra-Fast PET systems” allowed me to enter the research world in which I want to pursue a career in, specifically in engineering applied to neurosciences. Right now my role in Diana Prata’s Lab is to support the leading researchers with technical support in EEG, ECG, fMRI and Eye Tracking, setup troubleshooting, task development and data analysis. My ambition is to have my own study and do a PhD related to machine learning with multi-modal data applied to biomarker discovery in mental disorders.

Ana Leonor Neto – Psychology BSc student

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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 finishing my bachelor in Psychological Sciences at the University of Lisbon and I intend to go abroad to take my master degree in Cognitive Neuroscience. 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. I am at Diana Prata’s lab gaining insights in neuroscience research.


Vasco Sá – Neuroscience BSc student (Boston University intern)

Guilherme Nobre – Medical Sciences BSc student

Diogo Tecelão – Biomedical Engineering BSc student

João Pizarro – Neuropsychology MSc, PhD student (co-supervision with ISCTE-IUL)

Svetlana Postarnak – Cognitive Science MSc student (co-supervision with FPUL)

Luís Guerra – Information & Computer Engineering MSc student (co-supervision with IST)

Marco Carvalho – Ciência Cognitiva MSc student (co-supervision with FPUL)


Inês Fernandes – Biomedical Engineering BSc student

Teresa Maia – Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student

Rita Lóios – Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student

Alexandra Cabrita – Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student

Emma-Jane Mallas, Psychiatric Research MSc, Researcher at Imperial College London

Matilde Pato – Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa professor

Andrew Rees – Luso-American Development Foundation trainee

Rodrigo Prista – Biology BSc student

Catarina Sequeira – Cellular and Molecular Biology BSc student

Rita Couto, Biological Engineering MSc student – trainee

Diogo Fernandes, Biological Engineering MSc student – trainee

Tiago Castanheira, Biomedical Engineering MSc student – trainee

Salwador Cyranowski, Erasmus

Mateusz Gielata, Erasmus

Julia Rogoska, Erasmus

Rubina Gurung, Neuroscience MSc

Evangelina Bernard, Mental Health Studies Programme MSc

Senita Rani-Robinson, Neuroscience MSc

Andreina Pauli, Medicine BSc

Lailee Zhuo, Medicine BSc

Inês Casqueiro, Psychology BSc – Cognitive Sciences MSc student

Sandro Nunes, Biomedical Engineering MSc

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

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 student

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, Medicine MSc and Psychiatry resident – NeurULisboa PhD student

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. 


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