I am a cognitive neuroscientist with a background in functional neuroimaging of perception and emotion in healthy populations and patients with psychiatric illness. Before joining the Psychology Division at KI in 2014, I worked at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, where I began to study cortical integration of smell and taste during food perception. I am currently affiliated with the Psychology Division at the Clinical Neuroscience Department, where I lead a research team within the Perception Lab that conducts experimental work on odor-taste integration (see https://www.perceptionlab.se/ for details). I also collaborate with the Aging Research Center, (https://ki-su-arc.se/) where I investigate the role of olfactory decline on health in the elderly using longitudinal population data, and the Center for Eating Disorder Innovation (CEDI, https://ki.se/en/meb/cedi-centre-for-eating-disorders-innovation) where I study the processing of olfactory reward in anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorders.
The identification of food objects, and decision whether or not to eat them at a particular point in time, is crucial for our survival, and depends heavily on the ability to remember associations between sensory information from different modalities. My current research studies the neural networks which permit the identification of smells in the environment, their integration with visual and gustatory cues, and the assessment of their behavioral relevance. In particular, I use structural and functional MRI as well as psychophysical and psychophysiological recordings to investigate the role of these networks for the maintenance of human health, as related to, for example, disease avoidance and appetite regulation.
I am Principal Investigator on the project "Perceptual decision-making about food flavor in the mouth, and its role in food intake regulation" funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), from 2019-2022.
I am also awardee of an ERC Starting Grant (2021-2026). The goal of my project OLFLINK is to investigate how new flavor preferences are formed, and how they are regulated by signals from the digestive tract. With this knowledge we aim to provide insights that can explain why it is so difficult to overcome our preferences for familiar food flavors in favor of healthier or more sustainable options, and thus inspire public health efforts directed towards dietary change.
I am currently the course leader for the course on emotion and motivation in the psychology program. I also teach in the neuropsychology course of the medical program. From the fall of 2020, am also affiliated for teaching with DIS Stockholm, where I will teach the course "psychology of food" https://disabroad.org/stockholm/courses/psychology-of-food/.
My team and I accept applications for research internships and student theses on a rolling basis. Please send me an email if you are interested.
2006 Master of Science in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology, LMU Munich, Germany
2010 PhD in Clinical Neuroscience, RWTH Aachen University
2010-2014 Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Pennsylvania/Monell Chemical Senses Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2015-2019 Assistant Professor (Forskarassistent), Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet
2020- Senior Researcher (Forskare), Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet