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Roberta Passiatore has served as a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Giulio Pergola’s lab at the Lieber Institute since January 2024. Her primary focus lies in translational research in neuroscience, investigating how the interplay of genetics and the environment shapes the uniqueness of each individual. Specifically, she is dedicated to delineating risk pathways leading to psychiatric disorders.

In close collaboration with Dr. Giulio Pergola, Roberta is deeply involved in imaging genetics projects with the aim to translate gene expression pathways derived from postmortem brain studies into in vivo brain functioning, employing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques across various cognitive and affective states.

With a background in psychology, Roberta earned her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical and Medical Biomolecular Sciences in 2022 from the University of Bari, Italy, under the mentorship of Dr. Alessandro Bertolino. Her earlier research at the University of Bari focused on unraveling changes in brain functional connectivity related to learning experiences and schizophrenia genetics.

Her expertise spans neuroimaging, bioinformatics, and data analysis, utilizing programming languages such as MATLAB, R, and Python. During her research period at the Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science in Atlanta, GA, with Dr. Vince Calhoun, she developed advanced methods for integrating multiple fMRI sessions in large neurodevelopmental cohorts. Additionally, her time at the Research Center Jülich involved combining various neuroimaging modalities—sMRI, fMRI, and Positron emission tomography—to elucidate plausible neurotransmission pathways underlying indirect measures of brain functional connectivity.

Roberta continues to pursue her passion for neuroscience, actively contributing to unraveling the complexities of the relationship between genetics and the brain functioning. Her ultimate goal is to discover new treatment opportunities that can alter the trajectory of individuals at risk for psychiatric disorders, thereby impacting and improving their lives.