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Valeria Gazzola

Head of department

About Valeria

Valeria Gazzola studied Biology in Parma – Italy – and started her scientific carrer in Rizzolatti’s lab, where mirror neuron where first recorded, with an experimental master thesis entitled: “The role of the somatosensory cortices during the observation of the tactile stimulation of others” which contributed to a publication in Neuron.

She then moved to the University of Groningen – The Netherlands – where she completed my PhD (cum laude) with a thesis entitled “Action in the brain: Shared neural circuits for action observation and execution” under the supervision of Christian Keysers at the BCN-NeuroImaging Center. For the next three years she worked as a Post-Doctoral VENI Fellow, and Assistant Professor at the University Medical Center of Groningen. There she continued to work on shared circuits, with particular emphasis on the idea they are not a single circuit devoted to action perception but a general mechanism that covers different domains: actions, emotions and sensations. In particular, by combining fMRI and neuro-stimulation technique (cTMS) she showed that somatosensory cortices, normally involved in processing the sensations on our body, play a critical role in social cognition, extending her work from action-related mirror responses to the domain of sensation and emotions.

In 2010, she moved to Amsterdam, to the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, where she became group leader in 2015. The work of her research group,

Her research aims at focuses on understanding the causal relationship between brain activity in areas responding to the actions, sensations and emotions of others, and pro- and anti- social behavior by using a combination of fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), EEG (electrical encephalography), tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation) and TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation).

Her research is funded by national (NWO VENI and VIDI), international ( ERC-StG: HelpUS, NARSAD, BIAL) personal grants, as well as by national collaborative consortia funding schemes (NWO-Groot: CUBE, Gravity grant: GUTs and DBI2)

Her group has a long standing collaboration with the group of C. Keysers, which is formalized in the co-foundation of the Social Brain Lab. Together they aim at unraveling the neuronal bases of empathy, from single cells to circuits.

Other positions:

Associate Professor at the department of Psychology of the University of Amsterdam.


Full CV: CV Gazzola

Google Scholar Profile: click here

My Publications on Pure: click here

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