Dr Valentina Lorenzetti - Nat Sch Psychology (Faculty of Health Sciences)

Fully accredited supervisor - Can supervise as principal supervisor


Dr Lorenzetti is Senior Lecturer, Lead of the Neuroscience of Addiction & Mental Health Program and Deputy Director of the Healthy Brain and Mind Research Centre, at the School of Behavioural and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Australian Catholic University.

Her research program aims to map vulnerability to and recovery of brain and mental health harms in chronic addictions and psychopathology. An additional goal is to establish consensus-based gold standards to measure substance use and misuse in research, treatment and public health settings.

Dr Lorenzetti' long-term vision is to carry out world-leading research on the pathophysiology of addiction and to alleviate its devastating harms on ~55M people globally, by combining advanced multimodal neuroimaging tools, global multi-site cohorts and new interventions.

Her Program welcomes national and international student exchange.

Examples of research questions examined by the Neuroscience of Addiction and Mental Health Program include:

- Who is most vulnerable to brain and mental health harms, among substance users?

- Which neurobiological mechanisms differentiate young adolescent substance users who are vulnerable to brain and mental health harms, from those who are resilient to these harms?

- How to mitigate brain and mental health harms in chronic addictions? We explore the role of mindfulness-based strategies that target craving, and CBD-based interventions.

- How does cannabis potency affect brain integrity, and what is the role neuroprotective and neurotoxic cannabinoids in driving and mitigating brain harms in cannabis users?

- How does recreational and dependent substance use differ at a neurobiological level?

- How do men and women differ in the neurobiology of substance use?



Phone :+61392308088 (Melbourne)
Email :valentina.lorenzetti@acu.edu.au
URIs : Staff Directory ProfilePersonal Website

Research Interests

addiction ; neuroscience ; Mindfulness ; sex differences ; cannabis ;

Methods Expertise

Functional and Structural Neuroimaging ; Longitudinal data analysis ; RCT, mixed method ; consortia ; Meta-Analysis ;

Research Projects

Current Projects

  • Mapping short-term brain changes in cannabis users: An fMRI study (PhD) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Mapping sex differences in the neurobiology of alcohol dependence and cannabis use (PhD) (Principal Supervisor)
  • Adolescent cannabis use: mapping risk factors and neurodevelopmental trajectories using resting state and white matter connectivity (PhD) (Principal Supervisor)

Selected Publications


Neural correlates of symptom severity in obsessive-compulsive disorder using magnetization transfer and diffusion tensor imaging

Predicting Alcohol Dependence from Multi-Site Brain Structural Measures

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor association with amygdala response in major depressive disorder

Unpacking common and distinct neuroanatomical alterations in cocaine dependent versus pathological gambling

Adolescent Cannabis Use, Cognition, Brain Health and Educational Outcomes A review of the evidence

Mapping and mitigating the health risks of legalizing recreational cannabis use: a call for synergy between research and policy

Accuracy of automated amygdala MRI segmentation approaches in Huntington???s disease in the IMAGE-HD cohort


Standard THC units???: a proposal to standardize dose across all cannabis products and methods of administration

A meta-analysis of neural alterations in cannabis users

Cannabis use and mental health: risks and benefits

Neuroanatomical Alterations in People with High and Low Cannabis Dependence

Subcortical surface morphometry in substance dependence: An ENIGMA addiction working group study

Transdiagnostic variations in impulsivity and compulsivity in obsessive-compulsive disorder and gambling disorder correlate with effective connectivity in cortical-striatal-thalamic-cortical circuits

A Roadmap for Integrating Neuroscience into Addiction Treatment: A Consensus of the Neuroscience Interest Group of the International Society of Addiction Medicine

Cortical surface morphology in long-term cannabis users: A multi-site MRI study

From Socioeconomic Disadvantage to Obesity: The Mediating Role of Psychological Distress and Emotional Eating

Impulsivity and body fat accumulation are linked to subcortical brain volumes among adolescents and adults

Defining compulsive behavior

Does regular cannabis use affect neuroanatomy? An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of structural neuroimaging studies


The anticipation and outcome phases of reward and loss processing: A neuroimaging meta???analysis of the monetary incentive delay task

A transdiagnostic dimensional approach towards a neuropsychological assessment for addiction: an international Delphi consensus study

Alteration to hippocampal volume and shape confined to cannabis dependence: A multisite study

Emotion regulation using virtual environments and real-time fMRI neurofeedback.

Mega-analysis of grey matter volume in substance dependence: general and substance-specific effects.

Mapping Cortical Brain Asymmetry in 17,141 Healthy Individuals Worldwide via the ENIGMA Consortium.


Role of orbitofrontal sulcogyral pattern on lifetime cannabis use and depressive symptoms

Cannabis-related hippocampal volumetric abnormalities specific to subregions in dependent users

An interdisciplinary dialogue on gambling: Perspectives on the role for neuroscience in gambling policy and treatment.

Other information

We welcome national and international research students to take part in ongoing neuroimaging projects.