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Dr Valentina Tomassini

Dr Valentina Tomassini

Clinical Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2074 5118
91F, 4th Floor, B-C Link Corridor, Main Hospital Building, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

I am a Clinical Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Neurologist in the Cardiff University School of Medicine. I work within the Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences. I am also part of the MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric and Genomics and of the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre.

I undertake various different types of research. This includes research on neuroinflammation (multiple sclerosis and allied diseases), basic neuroscience (studies on healthy volunteers), and methods development, in which I contribute intellectually and with recruitment to studies that develop neuroimaging methods for clinical applications.

I am also an MSc lecturer, and a lead tutor for neuroscience for year IV undergraduate medical students.

Another aspect of my job role is consultant neurologist, which includes general neurology with specialist interest in neuroinflammation.























Teaching Summary

My activity covers various aspects of teaching in the School of Medicine, ranging from delivery to innovation in teaching, targeting an audience that goes from medical students to research and clinical staff:

Undergraduate teaching: I am Lead Tutor for the 4-year undergraduate Neuroscience Module, Cardiff University School of Medicine. I supervise medical students for their senior clinical projects.

Graduate/post-graduate teaching: I contribute to the MSc in Neuroimaging in CUBRIC, School of Psychology. I supervise PhD students and post-doctoral research associates. I also supervise clinical researchers who join the Department of Neurology for collaborative research projects.

Clinical specialist teaching: I am on the teaching faculty for a number of courses on neuroinflammation for neurologists, psychiatrists, neurology trainees, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

Research Summary

My specialist clinical interests are Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and allied neuroinflammatory diseases of the Central Nervous System.

My research interests cover clinical, neuroscientific and methodological aspects of neuroinflammation studied using advanced imaging methods:

Clinical:I am interested in prevention of brain damage and clinical disability in inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system. I have studied pathological, clinical, prognostic and therapeutic aspects of chronic inflammatory demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system with the objective of preventing damage to the brain and preventing clinical disability

Neuroscientific: I am interested in promotion of recovery from damage and clinical disability by modulation of brain plasticity. I have studied the mechanisms of cerebral plasticity that help limit the impact of damage on clinical disability. Because these mechanisms are active also during normal learning, my scientific interests have widened to include functional anatomy of the healthy brain and its changes in the course of learning.

Methodological:I am interested in the development of structural and functional neuroimaging for clinical applications. I have contributed to the development of advanced methods of functional and structural neuroimaging to characterise anatomical and functional changes in the course of damage and recovery and to develop neuroimaging markers of clinical recovery.

Selected publications (5 examples of most relevant publications in each research domain)


  • Tomassini V*, d'Ambrosio A*, Petsas N, Wise RG, Sbardella E, Allen M, Tona F, Fanelli F, Foster C, Carnì M, Gallo A, Pantano P, Pozzilli C. The effect of inflammation and its reduction on brain plasticity in multiple sclerosis: MRI evidence. Hum Brain Mapp. 2016 Jul;37(7):2431-45. *equal contribution
  • Arun T*, Tomassini V*, Sbardella E, de Ruiter MB, Matthews L, Leite MI, Gelineau-Morel R, Cavey A, Vergo S, Craner M, Fugger L, Rovira A, Jenkinson M, Palace J. Targeting ASIC1 in primary progressive multiple sclerosis: evidence of  neuroprotection with amiloride. Brain. 2013 Jan;136(Pt 1):106-15. *equal contribution
  • Tomassini V, Matthews PM, Thompson AJ, Fuglø D, Geurts JJ, Johansen-Berg H, Jones DK, Rocca MA, Wise RG, Barkhof F, Palace J. Neuroplasticity and functional recovery in multiple sclerosis. Nat Rev Neurol. 2012 Nov 5;8(11):635-46. Review.
  • Tomassini V, Johansen-Berg H, Jbabdi S, Wise RG, Pozzilli C, Palace J, Matthews PM. Relating brain damage to brain plasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis. Neurorehabil Neural Repair. 2012 Jul-Aug;26(6):581-93.
  • Tomassini V, Pozzilli C. Sex hormones, brain damage and clinical course of Multiple Sclerosis. J Neurol Sci. 2009 Nov 15;286(1-2):35-9.


  • Scholz J, Tomassini V, Johansen-Berg H. Individual differences in white matter microstructure in the healthy brain, in: Imaging brain pathways - Diffusion MRI: from quantitative measurement to in-vivo neuroanatomy, 2013 (2nd edition). Eds: Johansen-Berg H, Behrens TE
  • Tomassini V, Jbabdi S, Kincses ZT, Bosnell R, Douaud G, Pozzilli C, Matthews PM, Johansen-Berg H. Structural and functional bases for individual differences in motor learning. Hum Brain Mapp. 2011 Mar;32(3):494-508.
  • Giorgio A, Santelli L, Tomassini V, Bosnell R, Smith S, De Stefano N, Johansen-Berg H. Age-related changes in grey and white matter structure throughout adulthood. Neuroimage. 2010 Jul 1;51(3):943-51.
  • O'Reilly JX, Beckmann CF, Tomassini V, Ramnani N, Johansen-Berg H. Distinct and overlapping functional zones in the cerebellum defined by resting state functional connectivity. Cereb Cortx. 2010 Apr;20(4):953-65.
  • Mars RB, Jbabdi S, Sallet J, O'Reilly JX, Croxson PL, Olivier E, Noonan MP, Bergmann C, Mitchell AS, Baxter MG, Behrens TE, Johansen-Berg H, Tomassini V, Miller KL, Rushworth MF.  Diffusion-weighted imaging tractography-based parcellation of the the human parietal cortex and comparison with human and macaque resting-state functional connectivity.  J Neurosci. Mar 16;31(11):4087-100.


  • Gelineau-Morel R, Tomassini V, Jenkinson M, Johansen-Berg H, Matthews PM, Palace J. The effect of hypointense white matter lesions on automated gray matter segmentation in multiple sclerosis. Hum Brain Mapp. 2012 Dec;33(12):2802-14.
  • Tomassini V, Palace J. Multiple sclerosis lesions: insights from imaging techniques. Expert Rev Neurother. 2009 Sep;9(9):1341-59.
  • Tamás Kincses Z, Johansen-Berg H, Tomassini V, Bosnell R, Matthews PM, Beckmann CF. Model-free characterization of brain functional networks for motor sequence learning using fMRI. Neuroimage. 2008 Feb 15;39(4):1950-8.
  • Tomassini V, Jbabdi S, Klein JC, Behrens TE, Pozzilli C, Matthews PM, Rushworth MF, Johansen-Berg H. Diffusion-weighted imaging tractography-based parcellation of the human lateral premotor cortex identifies dorsal and ventral subregions with anatomical and functional specializations. J Neurosci. 2007 Sep 19;27(38):10259-69.
  • Tomassini V, Paolillo A, Russo P, Giugni E, Prosperini L, Gasperini C, Antonelli G, Bastianello S, Pozzilli C. Predictors of long-term clinical response to interferon beta therapy in relapsing multiple sclerosis. J Neurol. 2006 Mar;253(3):287-93.