Principal Investigator

Lorenza S. Colzato

Lorenza studied cognitive and clinical psychology at the University of Padova, Italy, in 1999. She then moved Leiden University where she obtained her PhD degree (2005) under the supervision of Prof. Lex van der Heijden. Since 2006 she has been Principal Investigator at the Cognitive Psychology Unit of Leiden University.

In 2008, she was awarded with a NWO- Veni grant (250.000 €) to investigate the role of dopamine in cognitive control. In 2013, she won NWO- Vidi grant (800.000 €) to focus on the enhancing effects of tyrosine on cognition. In 2016, she won JPI-A healthy diet for a healthy life grant (1.000.000 €) to investigate the enhancing effects of tryptophan on social cognition in aging.

Since March 2010 she has been Editor in Chief of the open access journal Frontiers in Cognition and since September 2016 of the subscription Journal of Cognitive Enhancement (Springer). She is also a recognized Client-Centered Psychotherapist.

Lab members

Lab members

Post Doc

Alessandra Finisguerra

Alessandra graduated in Psychology at the University of Padova (Italy), in 2010, under the supervision of Prof. Daniela Mapelli. Before and after her graduation, she spent one year doing internship in the laboratory of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Department of General Psychology, University of Padova).

In 2011 she started her doctoral school in Robotics, Cognition and Interaction Technologies under the supervision of Prof. Thierry Pozzo at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) of the University of Genova, where she got her PhD degree in 2014. She spent the following four months working for a postdoctoral fellowship at Robotic, Brain and Cognitive Science Department at the IIT.

Afterward, in 2015 she moved to the University of Udine (Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience) where she worked as post-doc until February 2017, under the supervision of Dr. Cosimo Urgesi. In March 2017 she will join for one year the Cognitive Psychology Unit at Leiden University to work on the effects of vagus stimulation on implicit attitudes.

Laura Steenbergen

Laura completed her Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience (cum laude) at Leiden University and is now working as a postdoc under the NWO VIDI grant awarded to Dr. Lorenza Colzato. She is particularly interested in cognitive enhancement, and focuses on the acute effect of tyrosine on cognitive control and tryptophan and probiotics on social cognition. As a research assistant, she has worked on several research projects, among which imaging of dopamine resources in the brain and the effect of tryptophan intake on social cognition.  During her master, she completed a research internship at Maastricht University, where she worked on a project focusing on the effect of cocaine on creativity.

PhD Students

Bryant Jongkees

Bryant completed his Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience (summa cum laude) at Leiden University and is now working as a PhD student on the role of tyrosine in working memory and its interaction with tDCS.

Research assistants

Matthijs de Wit

Matthijs investigates the role of vagus nerve in cognitive control

Lucas de Zwaart

Lucas investigates the role of tyrosine in cognitive control


  • Olga Boer
  • Jennifer M. Becker
  • Angelica van der Ploeg
  • Stephanie Ekey
  • Annika Klaffehn
  • Fallon Cooper
  • Gylviève Filiciana
  • Femke Koornneef
  • Mellany Mc David


Roberta Sellaro

Roberta graduated in Psychology at the University of Padova (Italy), in 2007, under the supervision of Prof. Carlo A. Umiltá. She spent her post-grad year doing internships in cognitive psychology (Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialization, University of Padova) and in clinical neuropsychology (Rehabilitation Unit for acquired neuropsychological deficits, Pieve di Soligo, Treviso, Italy).

In 2009 she moved to the Center for Mind and Brain Sciences (CIMeC) of the University of Trento where she obtained her PhD degree (2013) in Cognitive and Brain Sciences, under the supervision of Prof. Roberto Cubelli. Afterwards she has moved to the Leiden University (Cognitive Psychology Unit) where she is currently a postdoctoral fellow working on the effects of tyrosine on cognition, a project funded by NWO- Vidi grant (2013) to Lorenza S. Colzato.