Dr Martina Bocchetta
Lecturer and Honorary Senior Research Fellow
Place of work / study:
Brunel University London and University College London
Area of Research:
I am interested in investigating brain measures on MRI and particularly how subcortical structures are structurally and functionally connected in the different forms of frontotemporal dementia. My final goal is to improve our understanding of this heterogenous disease, by measuring when frontotemporal dementia starts in the brain and how it progresses over time. This will be crucial to help in developing a cure, by measuring whether new drugs are effective in slowing down the progression of dementia.
How is your work funded:
I am currently funded by a Alzheimer’s Society Research Fellowship
Tell us a little about yourself:
My background is in neuroimaging and neuroanatomy, applied first in Alzheimer’s disease and then in frontotemporal dementia. I studied biological psychology and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Padua (Italy). After my PhD in Neuroscience in Brescia (Italy), I moved to UCL to work with Prof. Rohrer with whom I currently collaborate as an Honorary Senior Research Fellow. Previously I worked as a Research Assistant at the Fatebenefratelli Institute in Brescia (Italy) with Prof. Frisoni. I am now a lecturer at Brunel University London, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am passionate about public engagement in my role as STEM Ambassador.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
My life is centred around islands: my family is from Sardinia, I moved to Great Britain and I married a Maltese!
Why did you choose to work in dementia?
I was first exposed to dementia during an internship whist I was still an undergraduate student. This experience in a neuroimaging research laboratory, working closely with a memory clinic, was truly inspiring for me, as I witnessed the impact of this terrible disease on patients and their families. I have since never left this field as I realised the potential of research to better understand the different forms of dementia, and improve the lives of so many people affected by it.
What single piece of advice would you give to an early career researcher?
Find a good mentor and a good supervisor to support you, and don’t be discouraged by unsuccessful experiences: we all have many of them!