Dr Nikolina Skandali MD PhD MRCPsych MSc

Nikolina Skandali

University position

Academic Clinical Fellow


Department of Psychiatry


NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre



Home page

http://nikolinaskandali.com/ (personal home page)

Research Themes

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience

Systems and Computational Neuroscience


I am a psychiatry registrar in Addenbrooke's hospital and an Academic Clinical Fellow with the Dpt of psychiatry working with Professor Valerie Voon. I am interested in decision-making, impulsivity and compulsivity, and the underlying neural mechanisms. I am currently working on how neuromodulation with transcranial magnetic stimulation alters impulsivity in healthy volunteers and addiction patients. I also use pharmacological tools, cognitive testing, computational modelling, neuroimaging and other neuromodulation tools.

I completed by PhD in the Dpt of psychiatry in Cambridge investigating the role of serotonin in a broad range of cognitive functions including response inhibition, reinforcement learning and emotional processing with Professors Trevor Robbins and Barbara Sahakian. I had previously completed my MSc thesis research project in UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging with Professors Ray Dolan (UCL) and Robb Rutledge (Yale).

Research Focus




cognitive neuroscience


interventional psychiatry

Clinical conditions


Impulse control disorders


Behavioural analysis

Computational modelling

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing

Transcranial magnetic stimulation

Vagus nerve stimulation



Trevor Robbins

Barbara Sahakian

Saurabh Sonkusare

Valerie Voon

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Ying Zhao, Nikolina Skandali, Richard AI Bethlehem, Valerie Voon (2022), “Mesial prefrontal cortex and alcohol misuse: dissociating cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships in UK Biobank” Biological Psychiatry Pages 907-916

    Nikolina Skandali, Joonas Majuri, Juho Joutsa, Kwangyeol Baek, Eveliina Arponen, Sarita Forsback, Valtteri Kaasinen, Valerie Voon (2021), “The neural substrates of risky rewards and losses in healthy volunteers and patient groups: a PET imaging study” Psychological Medicine 1-9

    Skandali N, Rowe JB, Voon V, Deakin JB, Cardinal RN, Cormack F, Passamonti L, Bevan-Jones WR, Regenthal R, Chamberlain SR, Robbins TW, Sahakian BJ (2018), “Dissociable effects of acute SSRI (escitalopram) on executive, learning and emotional functions in healthy humans” Neuropsychopharmacology 43(13): 2645-2651

    Robb B Rutledge, Michael Moutoussis, Peter Smittenaar, Peter Zeidman, Tanja Taylor, Louise Hrynkiewicz, Jordan Lam, Nikolina Skandali, Jenifer Z Siegel, Olga T Ousdal, Gita Prabhu, Peter Dayan, Peter Fonagy, Raymond J Dolan (2017), “Association of neural and emotional impacts of reward prediction errors with major depression” JAMA psychiatry 74(8);790-797

    Frank Ryan, Nikolina Skandali (2016), “Reward Processing in Motivational and Affective Disorders” Frontiers in psychology 7; 1288

    Skandali N (2016), “Self reported wellbeing: the role of neuroscience research” BMJ 354; i4969

    Rutledge RB, Skandali N, Dayan P, Dolan RJ (2015), “Dopaminergic Modulation of Decision Making and Subjective Well-Being” J Neurosci 35(27): 9811-9822

    Rutledge RB, Skandali N, Dayan P, Dolan RJ (2014), “A computational and neural model of momentary subjective well-being.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111(33):12252-7 Details



    Kasper Schmidt, Nikolina Skandali, Carsten Gleesborg, Timo L Kvamme, Hema Schmidt, Kim Frisch, Arne Møller, Valerie Voon (2020), “The role of dopaminergic and serotonergic transmission in the processing of primary and monetary reward ” Neuropsychopharmacology 45, 1490–1497


    Zarros A, Skandali N, Tsakiris S (2012), “Comments to the Editor concerning the cholinergic response to manganese-induced neurotoxicity, based on the paper entitled "The inhibitory effect of manganese on acetylcholinesterase activity enhances oxidative stress and neuroinflammation in the brain" by Santos et al.” Toxicology 298(1-3):59-60; author reply 61-2 Details


    Katsouni E, Sakkas P, Zarros A, Skandali N, Liapi C (2009), “The involvement of substance P in the induction of aggressive behavior.” Peptides 30(8):1586-91 Details

    Liapi C, Zarros A, Theocharis S, Al-Humadi H, Anifantaki F, Gkrouzman E, Mellios Z, Skandali N, Tsakiris S (2009), “The neuroprotective role of L-cysteine towards the effects of short-term exposure to lanthanum on the adult rat brain antioxidant status and the activities of acetylcholinesterase, (Na+,K+)- and Mg2+-ATPase.” Biometals 22(2):329-35 Details


    Zarros A, Theocharis S, Skandali N, Tsakiris S (2008), “Effects of fulminant hepatic encephalopathy on the adult rat brain antioxidant status and the activities of acetylcholinesterase, (Na(+),K (+))- and Mg (2+)-ATPase: comparison of the enzymes' response to in vitro treatment with ammonia.” Metab Brain Dis 23(3):255-64 Details