Maria Picó-Pérez

  • Emotion regulation
  • Neuroimaging
  • Meta-Analysis
  • OCD
  • fMRI
  • Mental Health

“Maria Picó-Pérez’s research relies on the use of neuroimaging techniques as a window towards understanding typical and atypical behavior. She has been involved on several national and international projects. Maria’s PhD thesis in the University of Barcelona was focused on studying the neurobiological correlates of emotion regulation in psychiatric disorders, including the use of meta-analytical techniques. She has also developed an interest in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) research that still continues today, and that allowed her the possibility of collaborating in the international consortium ENIGMA.
During her past years as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Minho, Maria has expanded her interests into the study of other psychiatric disorders, and into developing novel biologically-informed treatments such as neurofeedback (a non-invasive neuromodulation technique). More recently, she has also been involved in a project exploring mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is Principal Investigator (PI) of two projects: one related to OCD research, and another focused at studying sex- and gender-related variables in the stress response, attempting to expand on the binary framework of sex differences in order to improve personalized healthcare. During this period, Maria has also supervised students (4 master thesis and 4 laboratory rotations completed, and 3 PhD thesis ongoing), organized research activities, as well as worked and presented in science communication events.
Maria was recently awarded with a “María Zambrano” contract to start working in the Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging group from the Jaume I University, Spain. “

Scientific Highlights

“1. Picó-Pérez M, Radua J, Steward T, Menchón JM, Soriano-Mas C (2017). Emotion regulation in mood and anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis of fMRI cognitive reappraisal studies. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry, 79(Pt B): 96-104. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2017.06.001, IF: 4.185, Q1.
2. Picó-Pérez M, Moreira PS, de Melo Ferreira V, Radua J, Mataix-Cols D, Sousa N, Soriano-Mas C, Morgado P (2020). Modality-specific overlaps in brain structure and function in obsessive-compulsive disorder: Multimodal meta-analysis of case-control MRI studies. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 112: 83-94. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.01.033. (IF: 8.989; D1).
3. Magalhães R*, Picó-Pérez M*, Esteves M*, Vieira R, Castanho TC, Amorim L, Sousa M, Coelho A, Fernandes HM, Cabral J, Moreira PS, Sousa N (2021). Habitual coffee drinkers display a distinct pattern of brain functional connectivity. Mol. Psychiatry., *Co-first Authorship.
4. Picó-Pérez M, Ferreira S, Couto B, Raposo-Lima C, Machado-Sousa M, Morgado P (2021). Sociodemographic and lifestyle predictors of mental health adaptability during COVID-19 compulsory confinement: a longitudinal study in the Portuguese population. Journal of Affective Disorders, 295, 797-803.
5. Picó-Pérez M*, Fullana MA*, Albajes-Eizagirre, Vega D, Marco-Pallarés J, Vilar A, Chamorro J, Felmingham KL, Harrison BJ, Radua J, Soriano-Mas C. (2022). Neural predictors of cognitive-behavior therapy outcome in anxiety-related disorders: a meta-analysis of task-based fMRI studies. Psychological Medicine, 1-9, doi: 10.1017/S0033291721005444, *Co-first Authorship.
6. Project funding as PI: “Influence of individual differences in reward sensitivity on the modulation of cognitive-motivational interactions in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder” (CMI-OCD), Funding entity: 2CA – Centro Clínico Académico, 04/2020-12/2021, Total amount: 5000€.
7. Project funding as PI: EXPL/PSI-GER/1030/2021: “Influence of sex and gender on the stress response: going beyond the binary framework for improving personalized healthcare”, Funding entity: FCT, 01/2022-06/2023, Total amount: 49812.50€.
8. “María Zambrano” Postdoctoral Fellowship for the attraction of international talent (MAZ/2021/11) from the Jaume I University (01/2022-12/2024).
9. Congress Awards: Travel fellowship award for predoctoral scholars, 73rd Annual Meeting of the SOBP, 2018, New York; Travel award to attend the 30th ECNP Congress, 2017, Paris; Travel award to attend the 32nd ECNP Congress, 2019, Copenhagen.
10. Award to the best video “Neurofeedback Awakens: The Attack of the Obsessive Mind” of the contest “Dance your PhD” from the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS) Open Day, 2019, Braga ( “