Anna Christina (Kia) Nobre
Anna Christina Nobre (known as Kia Nobre) is Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow in Psychology at New College Oxford. She is the Director of the Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity (OHBA) at the Department of Psychiatry; Head of the Brain & Cognition Laboratory (B&C) at the Department of Experimental Psychology; and, together with Professor Miles Hewstone, Co-Director of the Oxford Social Neuroscience Laboratory (OXSONE) in the Department of Experimental Psychology. She is also Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology at Northwestern University, where she has a longstanding collaboration with members of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC).
Professor Nobre holds many positions of responsibility at the University of Oxford and in the cognitive neuroscience community at large. She is the Psychology and Neuroscience Delegate for the Oxford University Press (OUP), member of the Wellcome Trust Neuroscience and Mental Health Funding Committee, advisor to the James S. McDonnell Foundation Program in Understanding Human Cognition, and serves on the editorial board of several journals.
The primary objective of Nobre’s research is to reveal the organizational principles of the neural systems that support cognitive functions in the human brain.
Current work in her laboratory investigates the dynamic regulation of perception, action and memory by changing predictions, task goals and motivation -- “attentional orienting”. Current projects investigate how different types of expectations are generated (e.g., spatial, temporal, motivational) and how they modulate different aspects of neural processing. Areas of particular interest are: the interplay between attention and memory, the role of temporal expectations and synchronisation in modulating perception, and the integration of predictive signals to guide perception and decision-making. The laboratory also plans to test the role that these basic and varied attentional modulatory mechanisms play in psychological disorders.
Her methodological approach is to combine a variety of complementary non-invasive techniques to measure the human brain at work. The multi-methodological approach affords a balanced grasp of conceptual issues. The laboratory is unusual in its mastery of multiple brain-imaging and related methods, including magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephaography (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs), functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and eye-tracking. The laboratory is also a pioneer in combining and integrating methods, such as simultaneous EEG/TMS and EEG/fMRI.
Funding for the research in the Brain & Cognition Laboratory has come primarily from the Wellcome Trust, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF). In addition, members of the lab have been supported by the Medical Research Council (MRC), Royal Society, Clarendon Fund, John Fell Fund, Programme Alban, New College Oxford, St John’s College Oxford, Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture, Marshall Scholarship, and Commonwealth Scholarship. The Brain & Cognition Laboratory has also collaborated on industrial projects, holding research contracts with GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever.
Kia Nobre was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She completed her primary and secondary education at the Escola Americana do Rio de Janeiro, and her undergraduate studies at Williams College, Massachusetts, USA. She obtained her PhD from Yale University (1992), supervised by Gregory McCarthy. Her doctoral thesis work used scalp and intracranial EEG recordings to investigate linguistic processing in the human brain and its modulation by selective attention. She remained with McCarthy as a postdoctoral fellow (1992-3), contributing to some of the earliest fMRI studies of cognition, and then became Instructor at Harvard Medical School, doing postdoctoral research at the Behavioral Neurology Unit of Beth Israel Hospital (1993-4). She moved to the University of Oxford as the Astor & Todd Bird Junior Research Fellow in Psychology at New College Oxford and as McDonnell Pew Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience (1994-6), when she set up the Brain & Cognition Laboratory. In 1996, she took up a position as University Lecturer in the Department of Experimental Psychology and as Tutorial Fellow at New College; and has been promoted to Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience. She also holds an Adjunct Professor position at Northwestern University in Chicago, USA, where she has maintained her active collaboration with Marsel Mesulam, which she initiated at Harvard.