I am an interdisciplinary researcher trained in psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and molecular biology with seven years of research experience.
I firmly believe that important advances in science and society can be made through interdisciplinary collaborations among researchers that normally do not work together and by including interdisciplinary scientists that can easily find a common language with researchers from different fields.
After obtaining a master's degree in Psychology from the University of Zagreb, I started my research career in 2015 through an internship at the University of Exeter (UK). I worked in a team of molecular biologists on two projects: one related to ageing, and another related to BPA (a chemical commonly found in plastics) and its effect on human health. Here I was given a unique opportunity to learn complex laboratory techniques although I did not have a formal background in molecular biology.
I included these laboratory skills in my research as a part of a dual PhD between Coventry University (UK) and Radboud University (NL). During the PhD, I won a £10 000 grant and I ran a randomised controlled trial of mindfulness and yoga at a clinical unit for personality disorders within a British high-security prison. In addition to leading an experimental study, I conducted systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, published in international peer-reviewed journals and in edited books. This has laid the foundation for my independent line of research on mindfulness, stress and health.
Following the end of my dual PhD, I wanted to continue in the same direction and gain more independence. In 2021, I was awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Individual Fellowship (MSCA-IF; Horizon 2020, EU) that enhances the potential of promising PhD holders through advanced training and mobility. As a part of that, I am currently in running a 2-year project at the University of Amsterdam about mindfulness, stress and health. This project develops and tests a theoretical framework that integrates psychological, neural, genomic and immune mechanisms of mindfulness interventions.
It consists of three studies. First, a review of the extant evidence that supports my theoretical framework (INSPIRER). Second, an experimental study that compares long-term mindfulness meditators with non-meditators in terms of neural and immune outcome measures. Third, an experimental study that compares a mindfulness intervention with an active control group.
Other than working in research, I am also a qualified and experienced mindfulness teacher. My long-term aim is to continue conducting rigorous studies of behavioural interventions that improve mental and physical health.