Short CV/Education and training

  • My career started with a Bachelor degree in Physics, followed by a Master in Biophysics at Sapienza University of Roma, which included a 4-months internship at University College of London. On graduating, I was immediately awarded a PhD scholarship in Physics at Sapienza University (1 of only 12). During my PhD, I studied non-Gaussian diffusion phenomena, gaining experience on diffusion modelling. Before submitting my thesis, I secured a post-doctoral position at Cardiff University funded by the CONNECT Consortium, supported by the European Commission, during which I specialized in white matter imaging under the supervision of Professor D.K. Jones. After 1 year of postdoc, I was awarded the prestigious Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship for the project MIND – Modelling and Imaging using Non gaussian diffusion. This fellowship offered me the unrivalled opportunities to develop my own project at the very best facilities across Europe (Tel Aviv University with Professor Y. Assaf and Maastricht University with Professor A. Roebroek). Over 4 years, I proposed a strategy to fully characterize water dynamics in brain white matter outside the Gaussian regime, aiming at measuring biomarkers like the axonal density and diameter, the heterogeneity index and the tract-specific myelination. Using this framework, I proposed an innovative application in the field of addiction; my project ADDICT – Advanced Diffusion Dynamics to Investigate Cerebral Tissue – was awarded a young investigator award from the Brain and Behavior Foundation. This grant marked a major transition in my career: it allowed me to join the prestigious Institute of Neuroscience of Alicante as junior researcher. 3 years ago, I started in Alicante an ambitious project, founded by the European Research Council through a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship, to use advanced imaging tools to look at inflammation markers in brain grey matter under the mentorship of Dr. S. Canals. Last year, I was awarded the prestigious "Subvencion a la Excelencia de Juniors Investigadores" grant from Generalitat Valenciana, which allowed me to hire a technician and a student, and start my independent group.

Selected publications

  • N. Toschi, R. Arrais Gisbert, L. Passamonti, S. Canals, S. De Santis. Multi-shell diffusion imaging reveals gender-specific trajectories of early white matter degeneration in normal aging. Neurobiology of aging 2020;86:191-200.

  • S. De Santis, P. Bach, L. Pérez-Cervera, A. Cosa-Linan, G. Weil, S. Vollstädt-Klein, D. Hermann, F. Kiefer, P.Kirsch, R. Ciccocioppo, W. H. Sommer, S. Canals. Microstructural White Matter Alterations in Men With Alcohol Use Disorder and Rats With Excessive Alcohol Consumption During Early Abstinence. JAMA Psychiatry 2019;76(7):749-758.

  • S. De Santis, T. Granberg, R. Ouellette, C.A. Treaba, E. Herranz, Q. Fan, C. Mainero, N. Toschi (2019), Early axonal damage in normal appearing white matter in Multiple Sclerosis: novel insights from multi-shell diffusion MRI. Neuroimage:Clinical 2019, 22:101699

  • S. De Santis, B. Jeurissen, D.K. Jones, Y. Assaf, A. Roebroeck. T1 relaxometry of crossing fibres in the human brain. NeuroImage 141:133–142 (2016)

  • S. De Santis, D. K. Jones and A. Roebroeck. Including diffusion time dependence in the extra-axonal space improves in vivo estimates of axonal diameter and density in human white matter. Neuroimage 130:91-103 (2016)

  • S. De Santis, M. Drakesmith, S. Bells, Y. Assaf, and D. K. Jones. Why DT-MRI only works some of the time: Variance and covariance of tissue microstructure attributes in the living human brain. NeuroImage 89 35-44 (2014)

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Subvencion a la Excelencia de Junior Investigadores (SEJI) for the project BRAIN-VIVO: Biomarcadores de Resonancia magnética Avanzada por Imagen para el estudio de la Neuroinflamación in VIVO

  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship 2016 for the project MRI-STRUCTURE: MRI Signal To Recover Unique Cerebral TissUe Response to changEs

  • NARSAD young investigator grant 2016 for the project ADDICT- Advanced Diffusion Dynamics for the Investigation of Cerebral Tissue

  • Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2012 – 2016 for the project: MIND – Modelling and Imaging using Non-Gaussian Diffusion

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Society for Neuroscience

  • Spanish Society for Neuroscience

  • International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

Media coverage

  • My paper published in JAMA psychiatry got national and international press coverage with more than 70 articles/interviews across radio, television (including the 9PM “Uno” newscast) and newspapers, and was included by the agency Efe in the 12 top 2019 research pieces.

Soft Skills/Other activities and achievements

Soft Skills

  • I have a very creative and ambitious personality, I thrive in a dynamic, flexible and international work environment, I have excellent presentation & writing skills, I have a track record of successful people & financial management

Other activities and achievements/family

  • I have a full degree in fashion design, and have participated to several fashion shows. I taught for several years Adobe software at the Koefia fashion academy in Rome. Last but not least, I am married to a very cool man and we are expecting a baby for next summer!


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