Eve Valera, PhD, is a researcher with the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Her lab uses a range of neuroimaging and neuropsychological methodologies to investigate two understudied areas of interest: the role of the cerebellum in psychiatric illness and the sequelae of traumatic brain injuries in women experiencing intimate-partner violence. She currently is using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and other advanced imaging scans to test for the presence of abuse-related brain injuries in women who have been in a physically abusive relationship. Using a brief neuropsychological battery and diagnostic assessment, she is also examining the relationships between brain injuries and cognitive and psychological functioning in these women. This research could have serious implications for legal, social and educational interventions available to women in such physically abusive situations.
Dr. Valera is also examining the functional and structural integrity of corticocerebellar circuits in adult ADHD in order to elucidate their role in deficits, such as motor coordination, temporal processing and working memory. She is using structural and functional MRI, DTI and varied connectivity analyses in conjunction with behavioral motor assessments to examine corticocerebellar network abnormalities in ADHD. As there is a growing literature supporting the involvement of the cerebellum in psychiatric disorders in addition to ADHD, Dr. Valera hopes to eventually investigate the role of the cerebellum in other disorders as well.