Valentina [] is a postdoctoral researcher in cognitive neuroscience within the Courtois NeuroMod project, originated from Dr. Pierre Bellec’s laboratory for brain simulation and exploration (SIMEXP) at the Psychology Department of the Université de Montreal (UdeM). She is supported by a two-year fellowship from the Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO). Previously, she conducted postdoctoral research in Dr. Maria Luisa Gorno-Tempini’s lab (ALBA) at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) – Memory and Aging Center, tightly collaborating with the Biomagnetic Imaging Laboratory. During her PhD, she swang between the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (UPMC) and the Università degli Studi di Trento (UNITN). Her advisors were Dr. Christophe Pallier and Dr. Manuela Piazza. The lab where she spent most of her time (and did most of the work) is the Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit (UNICOG) at Neurospin.

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early Bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?


3 Do you have any pets?

A sourdough starter

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

Many, notable mentions: brain slices coasters & personalized binary code pillowcases

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?


6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?


7 Do you speak any other languages?

Italian, English, Spanish, French

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

Project manager

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

Physics [if only I knew math…]

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

Italy, to visit my family

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

Being in two places at the same time.

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

Dan Savage Lovecast

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Run, then eat, then watch TV.

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

Strong flavors, deep sounds, and intense feelings.

15 What beverage gives you life?


16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

1984 by Orwell

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?


18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Learning new things

19 What got you excited in science?

The fact that you have a question and go out looking for the answer.

20 What excites you about science now?

The fact that questions never end.

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

Singing pop songs

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

Doing headstands.

23 What is your favorite game?


24 What is the last book you read?

Three women by Taddeo

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

You can say no right away, but you have to wait 24 hours to say yes.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

Real math

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

Be active, not reactive.

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

Doing sports.

29 What is the last thing you watched?

The half of it

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

Frozen hand-made pasta

31 What is your favorite animal?


32 What is your favorite book?

Blindness by Saramago

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

Very, VERY, spicy sauce. On everything. EVERYTHING.

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

April 25th [Italy Liberation Day]

35 What is your favorite plant?


36 What is your favorite science fact?

It works []

37 What is your favorite season?


38 What is your favorite smell?

Freshly baked focaccia

39 What is your favorite sound?

Bass guitar

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I am comfortable in being uncomfortable, going out of my safe zone.

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?


42 What is your proudest moment?

Having trained for a marathon (and yes, running it)

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Oak tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

The seasons

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

I’ve lived in 5 different countries (IT, FR, US, NL, CA) – while my whole family lives in the same town close to Bologna since 1400 (yes, we have a family tree on both my mum and my dad side to prove it).

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?