Katya Rubia

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Katya Rubia
Katya Rubia.jpg
Alma mater University of Munich, PhD, 1994
Scientific career
Fields Cognitive neuroscience
Institutions Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London
Thesis  (1994)
Academic advisors Ernst Pöppel, Joseph Sergeant, Eric Taylor
Notable students Anna Smith, Anastasia Christakou

Katya Rubia is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre (SGDP Centre) and Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, both part of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.[1][2]

She is best known for her work in child cognitive neuroscience and neuropsychiatry, particularly on disorders of impulsiveness, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and conduct disorder. She uses techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neurofeedback.[1][2][3]

Education and Profession[edit]

Katya Rubia received her BA in Philosophy and Psychology in 1987 at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain. She obtained her PHD in neuropsychology (on the neuropsychology of timing functions in brain lesion patients) in 1994 at the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich, Germany. After graduating, she was a post-doc research assistant for six months at the Technical University of Munich, in the Neurology Department. She was a post-doc research assistant in Amsterdam, Netherlands at the University of Amsterdam for one year from 1994-1995. Since 1995, she has been a professor at King's College London, Institute of Psychiatry (Child Psychiatry Department) in London, England. She teaches cognitive neuroscience, and is head of the section of developmental neuropsychology and neuroimaging.[4][5]

Research career[edit]

Some of Katya Rubia's main contributions to the field are that children with ADHD may have difficulties with time perception[6] and emotional processing.[7] She has also highlighted that the interpretations of some research articles in ADHD can be questionable, because the participants were on medication.[8]

Recently her research has been focusing on brain activation abnormalities in individuals with ADHD, and using neuroimaging to create personalized medication therapies for patients. She is doing this through using meta-analysis of PET scans to have computers detect abnormalities in brain patterns.[9] She is hopeful that in the future computers will be able to analyze a brain scan and figure out the abnormalities, thus using it as a diagnostic tool. From here doctors would be able to figure out which medications would be the most effective, and save patients the hassle of trying multiple medications to find the best one for them. Rubia is also developing a platform to show that the brain adapts to stimulants, which is the most common medication used to treat ADHD. She is looking into the long-term effects of stimulants[10] and is a proponent of drug holidays, or taking a break from drugs over the summer.[11]

One other exciting direction Rubia has taken with neuroimaging is creating a video game that is used as neurotherapy in ADHD patients. ADHD individuals have been found to have abnormalities in very specific regions of the brain, specifically the right prefrontal cortex. The video game works by having the patients activate this part of their brain, and in response a rocket ship moves higher in the sky within the game.[11][12]

Katya Rubia has over 150 publications in academic journals.[2]

Other interests[edit]

While research and teaching takes up most of her time, Rubia stays balanced and reduces stress by practicing Sahaya Yoga meditation.[13] She has studied how meditation could be used as a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatment in children with ADHD.[14]


  1. ^ a b "Institute of Psychiatry Staff, Professor Katya Rubia". King's College, London. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  2. ^ a b c "Katya Rubia". Research Portal, King's College, London. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  3. ^ "Katya Rubia Details". Neurotree. 2008-03-28. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Katya Rubia". Loop. Retrieved 2015-11-19. 
  5. ^ Rubia, Katya. "LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  6. ^ "Children with ADHD may have "faulty" time management". Tri-City Psychology Services. 2009-06-10. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  7. ^ "ADHD brain chemistry clue found". BBC News, Health. 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Dopamine and ADHD". Dana Review, DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboaratory. 2007. Retrieved 2014-01-02. 
  9. ^ Hart, Heledd; Radua, Joaquim; Nakao, Tomohiro; Mataix-Cols, David; Rubia, Katya (2013-02-01). "Meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of inhibition and attention in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: exploring task-specific, stimulant medication, and age effects". JAMA Psychiatry. 70 (2): 185–198. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.277. ISSN 2168-6238. PMID 23247506. 
  10. ^ "King's College London - Patients' brains may adapt to ADHD medication". www.kcl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-20. 
  11. ^ a b "Katya Rubia into the future of neuroimaging: keynote at ESCAP 2015, Madrid - ESCAP". www.escap.eu. Retrieved 2015-11-20. 
  12. ^ Rubia, Katya; Alegria, Analucia; Brinson, Helen (2014-05-01). "Imaging the ADHD brain: disorder-specificity, medication effects and clinical translation". Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 14 (5): 519–538. doi:10.1586/14737175.2014.907526. ISSN 1744-8360. PMID 24738703. 
  13. ^ "King's College London - Professor Katya Rubia". www.kcl.ac.uk. Retrieved 2015-11-20. 
  14. ^ Harrison, Linda J.; Manocha, Ramesh; Rubia, Katya (2004-10-01). "Sahaja Yoga Meditation as a Family Treatment Programme for Children with Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder". Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 9 (4): 479–497. doi:10.1177/1359104504046155. ISSN 1359-1045. 

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