Neuroscience

In my initial postdoctoral research, I got involved in neuroscience projects in order to dig deeper in the identification of the cognitive processes associated with negative symptoms in schizophrenia and poor outcomes and furthered the research into identifying the common basis of impaired social cognitive processes across mental disorders. I was awarded two competitive grants to explore the neurofunctional basis of social cognition in individuals taken from the general population who showed high traits on several psychopathological constructs (social anxiety, autism, paranoia and sociopathy) that put them at high risk for social isolation and poor functioning. From 2012 to 2017 I joined as a post-doctoral fellow Professor David Zald’s Lab at Vanderbilt University, I was a lead investigator on one of the first studies to assess psychopathology within the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework, a research initiative of the NIMH. We have investigated the nosology of mental disorders by integrating many levels of assessment (from neuroimaging to self-reports) to better understand the common neural, behavioral, and psychopathological signatures that cut across current diagnostic categories. During this time, I gained expertise in analyzing large complex datasets to define underlying constructs across disorders that capture the statistical interrelationship between assessment measures based on diverse modalities.

PUBLICATIONS

Kendra E. Hinton, Benjamin B. Lahey, Victoria Villalta-Gil, BD Boyd, Benjamin C. Yvernault, Katherine B. Werts, Brooks Applegate, Neil D Woodward, Bennett A. Landman, David H Zald. Right fronto-subcortical white matter microstructure predicts cognitive control ability on the go/no-go task in a community sample. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (in press).

Moo K. Chung, Victoria Vilalta-Gil, Paul J. Rathouz, Benjamin B. Lahey, David H. Zald. Mapping Heritability of Large-Scale Brain Networks with a Billion Connections via Persistent Homology. Artificial Intelligence 2017.

Lahey. B. B.,  Zald, D. H., Perkins, S. F., Villalta-Gil, V. Werts, K. B., Van Hulle, C. A., Rathouz, P. J., Applegate, B., Class, Q. A., Poore, H. E., Watts, A. J., & Waldman, I. D. (in press). Measuring the hierarchical general factor model of psychopathology in young adults. International Journal of Methods in Psychiatric Research.

Victoria Villalta-Gil, Kendra E. Hinton, Bennett A. Landman, Benjamin C. Yvernault, Scott F. Perkins, Allison S. Katsantonis, Courtney L. Sellani, Benjamin B. Lahey, David H. Zald. Convergent individual differences in visual cortices, but not the amygdala across standard amygdalar fMRI probe tasks. Neuroimage.312:319. 2017.

Moo K. Chung, Victoria Villalta-Gil, Hyekyoung Lee, Paul J. Rathouz, Benjamin B. Lahey, David H. Zald. Exact Topological Inference for Paired Brain Networks via Persistent Homology. Information Processing in Medical Imaging. 299:310. 2017.

M Giménez; A Guinea-Izquierdo; V Villalta-Gil; I Martínez-Zalacaín; C Segalàs; M Subirà; E Real; J Pujol; BJ Harrison; JM Haro; J Sato; M Hoexter; N Cardoner; P Alonso; JM Menchón; C Soriano-Mas. Brain alterations in low-frequency fluctuations across multiple bands in obsessive compulsive disorder. Brain Imaging and Behavior (in press).

Fuste, M; Melendez-Perez, I; Villalta-Gil, V; Pinacho, R; Villalmanzo, N; Cardoner, N; Menchon, JM; Haro, JM; Soriano-Mas, C; Ramos, B. Specificity proteins 1 and 4, hippocampal volume and first-episode psychosis. BJP 208 (6):591-592. 2016

Pinacho, R; Saia, G; Fuste, M; Melendez-Perez, ; Villalta-Gil, V;Haro, JM; Gill, G; Ramos, B. Phosphorylation of Transcription Factor Specificity Protein 4 Is Increased in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of First-Episode Psychosis. PLOS ONE 10 (4). 2015

Yvernault BC, Theobald CD Jr, Smith JC, Villalta V, Zald DH, Landman BA. Validating DICOM Transcoding with an Open Multi-Format Resource. Neuroinformatics. 2014 (in press).

Villalta-Gil, V.; Meléndez-Pérez, I.; Russell, T.; Surguladze, S: Radua, J.; Fusté, M.; Stephan-Otto, C.; Haro, J.M. Functional similarity of facial emotion processing between people with a first episode of psychosis and healthy subjects. Schizophr Res. 149(1-3):35-41.2013

Fuste, M.; Pinacho,R.; Melendez-Perez, I.; Villalmanzo, N.; Villalta-Gil, V.; Haro, J.M.; Ramos, B. Reduced expression of SP1 and SP4 transcription factors in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in first-episode psychosis. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 47:8-14.2013

PROJECTS

Role: PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

PROJECT TITLE: The Pathologies of the Social Brain: a neurofunctional approach to social disability in autism, paranoia and social anxiety. FINANCIAL ENTITY: Fundació Marató de TV3. LENGTH FROM: 01/01/2010 TO: 31/12/2012. AMOUNT: 195,203.75 €

PROJECT TITLE: Social Decision-making in people high in psychopathic traits. FINANCIAL ENTITY: MICINN  LENGTH FROM: 01/01/2012 TO: 31/12/2012. AMOUNT: 74,000 €

Role: POSTDOC RESEARCHER

PROJECT TITLE: RDoC Constructs: Neural Substrates, Heritability and Relation to Psychopathology. FINANCIAL ENTITY: NIMH. LENGTH FROM: 09/2012 TO: 09/2016. AMOUNT: $4.000.000. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: David Zald.

PROJECT TITLE: Psychostimulant Treatment of TBI-Related Attention Deficits: fMRI Analysis of Neural Mechanisms of Response PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Michael G. Tramontana, Ph.D

PROJECT TITLE: Gender Differences in the neuroanatomical and neurofunctional basis of social Cognition in First Psychotic Episodes. FINANCIAL ENTITY: Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. Spanish Ministry of Health. LENGTH FROM: 01/01/2008 TO: 31/12/2010. AMOUNT: 120.250 €. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Josep Maria Haro.

Role: RESEARCH ASSISTANT

PROJECT TITLE: Application of New Tools for the assessment of the Frontostriatal disfunction in Schizophrenia. FINANCIAL ENTITY: Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. Spanish Ministry of Health. LENGTH FROM: 2005-01-01 TO: 2008-12-31 AMOUNT: 114.000 €. PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Raymond Salvador.

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