Valeria Gazzola, PhD
Social Brain Laboratory, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, University of Amsterdam
Valeria Gazzola studied Biology in Parma – Italy – and started her scientific career in Rizzolatti's lab, where mirror neuron where first recorded. She then moved to the Netherlands where her PhD and postdoctoral research established 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, where she leads the Mechanisms of Social Behavior group at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience of the KNAW and is an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam. Her research is financed by prestigious National and European grants, and investigates the causal relationship between mirror like activity, pro-social behavior and decision making by using a combination of fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), EEG (electrical encephalography), tDCS (transcranial direct current stimulation) and TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). Her work, published in renown journals, places her at the forefront of an effort to critically assess the relationship between brain regions associated with empathy and actual social behavior. Her international standing is apparent from her election to the Young Academy of Europe.