Dr Valentina Lorenzetti

Deputy Director, Healthy Brain and Mind Research Centre
Program Lead, Neuroscience of Addiction and Mental Health Program

Dr Valentina Lorenzetti

Areas of expertise: addiction neurosciences; affective neurosciences; neurosciences; structural and functional neuroimaging; neuromodulation; psychiatric assessment; cognition; addiction; neurodevelopment; multi-site studies; imaging consortia; meta-analysis; OCD; problem gambling; cannabis; standard cannabis unit; mindfulness-based intervention; double-blind trials

HDR Supervisor accreditation status: Full

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-5917-7068

Phone: +61 3 9230 8088

Email: valentina.lorenzetti@acu.edu.au

Location: ACU Melbourne Campus

My research aims to examine vulnerability to and recovery of brain and mental health harms in chronic addictions and psychopathology, by combining advanced multimodal neuroimaging tools, global multi-site cohorts and new interventions. My research interests include: (1) identifying who is most vulnerable to brain and mental health harms among substance users, (2) examining if men and women who use substances (e.g. cannabis, alcohol, meth) show differential vulnerability to neurobiological changes with substance use, (3) exploring which substance using youth are most vulnerable and resilient to brain changes, mental health problems and worse cognitive performance, (4) Explore how mindfulness-based strategies, and cannabidiol-based interventions, mitigate adverse brain, mental health and cognitive outcomes in substance use and addiction, (5) Developing consensus-based, agreed-upon gold standards to measure substance use and misuse across research, treatment and public health settings.

Select publications

  • X Navarri, MH Afzali, S Mackey, J Lavoie, R Sinha, DJ Stein, R Momenan, D J Veltman, O Korucuoglu, Z Sjoerds, RJ van Holst, R Hester, E London, C Orr, J Cousijn, M Yucel, V Lorenzetti, R Wiers, N Jahanshad, DC Glahn, PM Thompson, H Garavan, PJ Conrod (2020) Case-control differences in brain structure in Alcohol and Cannabis Use Disorders: A comparison with other psychiatric disorders using the ENIGMA meta-analysis method. Human Brain Mapping
  • V Lorenzetti, E Hoch, W Hall (2020) Adolescent Cannabis Use, Cognition, Brain Health and Educational Outcomes A review of the evidence. European Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • E Hoch, V Lorenzetti (2020) Mapping and mitigating the health risks of legalizing recreational cannabis use: a call for synergy between research and policy. World Psychiatry.
  • P Irizar, A Verdejo-Garcia, V Lorenzetti (2020) Unpacking common and distinct neuroanatomical alterations in cocaine dependent versus pathological gambling. European Neuropsychopharmacology.
  • A Verdejo-Garcia, V Lorenzetti, V Manning, H Piercy, R Bruno, R Hester, D Pennington, S Tolomeo, S Arunogiri, ME Bates, H Bowden-Jones, S Campanella, S Daughters, C Kouimtsidis, DI Lubman, DJ Meyerhoff, A Ralph, T Rezapour, H Tavakoli, M Zare-Bidoky, A Zilverstand, D Steele, SJ Moeller, M Paulus, A Baldacchino, H Ekhtiari (2019) A Roadmap for Integrating Neuroscience into Addiction Treatment: A Consensus of the Neuroscience Interest Group of the International Society of Addiction Medicine. Frontiers in Psychiatry.
  • T Freeman, V Lorenzetti (2019) Standard cannabis units: a new proposal to inform safety guidelines based on milligrams of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol. Addiction.
  • Y Chye, S Mackey, B Gutman, A Batalla, J Cousijn, A Dagher, J J Foxe, AE Goudriaan, R Hester, K Hutchison, AM Kaag, O Korucuoglu, CR Li, E London, V Lorenzetti, M Luijten, R Martin-Santos, R Momenan, C Orr, MP Paulus, G Pearlson, L Reneman, L Schmaal, R Sinha, N Solowij, DJ Stein, EA Stein, A Uhlmann, R van Holst, DJ Veltman, A Verdejo-Garcia, M Yücel, PM Thompson, P Conrod, H Garavan (2019) Subcortical surface morphometry in substance dependence: An ENIGMA addiction working group study. Addiction Biology.
  • V Lorenzetti, Y Chye, P Silva, N Solowij, C Roberts (2019) Does regular cannabis use affect neuroanatomy? An updated systematic review and meta-analysis of structural neuroimaging studies. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience.
  • M Yücel, E Oldenhof, S Ahmed, D Belin, J Billieux, H Bowden-Jones, A Carter, SR Chamberlain, L Clark, J Connor, M Daglish, G Dom, P Dannon, T Duka, MJ Fernandez-Serrano, M Field, I Franken, RZ Goldstein, R Gonzalez, A Goudriaan, JE Grant, M Gullo, R Hester, D Hodgins, B Le Foll, RSC Lee, A Lingford-Hughes, V Lorenzetti, SJ Moeller, MR Munafò, B Odlaug, MN Potenza, R Segrave, Z Sjoerds, N Solowij, U Vaidyanathan, W van den Brink, RJ Van Holst, V Voon, R Wiers, LF Fontenelle, A Verdejo-Garcia (2018) A transdiagnostic dimensional approach towards a neuropsychological assessment for addiction: an international Delphi consensus study. Addiction.
  • V Lorenzetti*, B Melo*, R Basilio, C Suo, M Yucel,CJ Tierra-Criollo, J Moll (2018). Emotion regulation using virtual environments and real-time fMRI neurofeedback. Frontiers in Neurology - Applied Neuroimaging.
  • S Oldham, C Murawski, G Youssef, A Fornito, M Yucel, V Lorenzetti (2018) The anticipation and outcome phases of reward and loss processing: A neuroimaging meta‐analysis of the monetary incentive delay task. Human Brain Mapping.
  • Y Chye, N Solowij, EP Ganella, C Suoa, M Yücel, A Batalla, J Cousijn, AE Goudriaan, R Martin-Santos, S Whittle, CF Bartholomeusz*, V Lorenzetti* Role of orbitofrontal sulcogyral pattern on lifetime cannabis use and depressive symptoms (2017) Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry.
  • M Yücel, A Carter, A Allen, B Balliene, L Clark, N Dowling, S Gainsbury, A Goudriaan, J Grant, S Hayes, D Hodgins, R van Holst, R Lattimore, C Livingstone, V Lorenzetti, DI Lubman, C Murawski, L Parkes, N Petry, R Room, B Singh, A Thomas, P Townsend, G Youssef, W Hall (2017) An interdisciplinary dialogue on gambling: Perspectives on the role for neuroscience in gambling policy and treatment. Lancet Psychiatry.
  • N Solowji, V Lorenzetti, M Yücel (2016), The effects of cannabis use on human behavior: a call for standardization of cannabis use metrics, JAMA Psychiatry.
  • V Lorenzetti, N Solowij, M Yücel (2016) The role of cannabinoids on brain structural alterations in cannabis users, Biological Psychiatry.
  • V Lorenzetti*, M Yücel*, C Suo, A Zalesky, A Fornito, MJ Takagi, DI Lubman, N Solowij* (November 2015), Hippocampal harms, protection and recovery following regular cannabis use, Translational Psychiatry.
  • V Lorenzetti, N Solowij, SL Whittle, A Fornito, DI Lubman, C Pantelis, Murat Yücel (2015), Gross morphological brain changes with chronic, heavy cannabis use. The British Journal of Psychiatry.
  • A Zalesky, N Solowij, M Yücel, DI Lubman, M Takagi, IH Harding, V Lorenzetti, R Wang, K Searle, C Pantelis, M Seal (2012), Effect of Long-Term Cannabis Use on Axonal Fiber Connectivity. Brain, 135: 2245-2255.
  • Harding, N Solowij, BJ Harrison, M Takagi, V Lorenzetti, DI Lubman, ML Seal, C Pantelis, M Yücel (2012), Functional Connectivity in Brain Networks Underlying Cognitive Control in Chronic Cannabis Users. Neuropsychopharmacology, 37: 1923.
  • V Lorenzetti, N Allen, A Fornito, M Yücel (2009), Structural brain abnormalities in major depressive disorder: A selective review of recent MRI studies. Journal of Affective Disorders, 117:1-17.


  • 2022-2026 Al & Val Rosenstrauss Foundation, $850,000, Using neuroimaging tools to identify and mitigate brain harms in chronic cannabis use. CI: V Lorenzetti
  • 2020-2022 Australian Catholic University, Mindfulness to retrain dysfunctional brain networks in cannabis dependence. CI: V Lorenzetti. AIs: V Curran, T Freeman, G Terrett, S Kamboij, I Labuschagne.
  • 2020-2021, European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Mapping the association between risk perception and substance use levels in Europe: do gender and age matter? European Drug Survey. CIs: V Lorenzetti, A Gorelick, JP Matias.
  • 2019-2021 ENIGMA Addiction Working Group, Sex differences in the subregional neuroanatomy of cannabis and alcohol use (pre-registered here and here). CI: V Lorenzetti, AIs: A Batalla, M Bellani, P Brambilla, Y Chye, Y Cousijn, MG Rossetti, N Solowij, C Suo, M Yücel, I Labuschagne, P Rendell, G Terrett, S Grace.
  • 2018-2021 ENIGMA Addiction Working Group, Cannabis, alcohol dependence and neuroanatomy: does gender matter? Finding from the ENIGMA addiction working group (pre-registered here and here). CI: V Lorenzetti, AIs: A Batalla, M Bellani, P Brambilla, Y Chye, Y Cousijn, MG Rossetti, N Solowij, C Suo, M Yücel.
  • 2018-2022 IMAGEN consortium, Mapping structural and functional connectivity predating and following youth cannabis use, and in relation to cannabinoids. CI: V Lorenzetti, AIs: Curran, Roberts, Garavan, Schumann.
  • 2017-2021, National Health & Medical Research Council A$731,571 Characterising neurobiological abnormalities in Cannabis Use Disorders CIs: N Solowij, V Lorenzetti, A Verdejo-Garcia, J Copeland. AIs: C Suo, J Cousijn, M Yücel.
  • 2015-2018 National Health & Medical Research Council Mapping the neurobiology of OCD and problem gambling. CI M Yucel. (V Lorenzetti, project manager).
  • Apr 2019 Society for the Study of Addiction Launching the development of an international cannabis toolkit GBP10,000 (about ~A$18,000). CIs: Tom Freeman, V Lorenzetti.
  • Apr 2019 Faculty of Health Science grant A$10,000 Map trajectories of neurodevelopment in adolescent cannabis users: brain alterations predating and following cannabis use. CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • Apr 2018 Faculty of Health Science grant A$14,000 Dose-related neuroanatomical alterations and sex differences in alcohol and cannabis dependence: Findings from the ENIGMA Addiction consortium. CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • Jul 2017 Wellcome Trust, Public engagement grant £2,000 100 brain stories: neuroplasticity in pictures. CI: V Lorenzetti, S Gage.
  • June 2017 P2Liverpool £6,200 The use of virtual reality to develop personalised psychological experiments and interventions. CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • May 2017 Wellcome Trust, Biomedical Vacation Scholarship £2,000 A pilot MRI study testing neurocognitive plasticity of mindfulness in addiction.
  • Nov 2016 Liverpool University Technology Voucher £15,000 Mindfulness intervention in cannabis addiction: A pilot MRI study. CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • Jun 2015 Monash Biomedical Imaging – Psychology Grant 2015 A$14,400 Overcoming trauma: A real time fMRI neurofeedback study. CIs: P Molenberghs, V Lorenzetti, C Suo, L Jobson, M Yücel. AIs: J Moll, R Basilio.
  • Aug 2014 Monash Biomedical Imaging – Psychology Grant 2014 A$10,000 Validation of probabilistic maps of midbrain dopaminergic system obtained from 3T parallel transmit imaging. CIs: P Klauser, V Lorenzetti, C Suo.
  • Jul 2014- 2015 Monash University Post-doctoral Bridging Fellowship, Monash University A$60,000. Reward Learning in Problem Gamblers: A functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • Apr 2013 Monash Biomedical Imaging – Psychology Grant 2013 A$10,000 Craving and Reward Learning in Problem Gamblers: A functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study. CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • 2013 Melbourne Neuroscience Institute Post-doctoral Fellowship, The University of Melbourne A$72,000. Craving in problem gamblers: Does brain activity predict gambling later in life? CI: V Lorenzetti.
  • 2013 Interdisciplinary Seed Funding Grant, Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, Melbourne University A$50,000 Using Addiction Neuroscience to inform Gambling Research, Treatment and Policy. CIs: M Yücel, G Youssef, V Lorenzetti, AC Jackson, N Dowling, DR Christensen, DI Lubman, W Hall, A Carter, A Goudriaan
  • 2012 Research Higher Degree, Dept of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne A$7,500 The Effect of Affect: Emotional Arousal and Brain Function during Effortful Cognitive Performance. CIs: V Lorenzetti, I Harding, G Youssef.
  • 2008-2012 International Postgraduate Research Scholarship A$128,450 Funding body: The University of Melbourne.
  • 2008-2011 Melbourne International Research Scholarship A$82,296 Funding body: The University of Melbourne

Accolades and awards

2017 IBRO Travel Award €1,500 To support research visit and grant-focused workshop with collaborators Yucel, Verdejo-Garcia (Monash University), Solowij (University of Wollongong), Cousijn (Amsterdam University).

2017 Santander Travel Award £1,000 To support research visit to collaborator Prof Moll at the D’Or Institute, Brazil, and analyse grant pilot data.

2012 European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Fellowship Award €1,500 Awarded by: European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 25th congress (Vienna, Austria).

2010 Research Higher Degree Travel Support A$2,300 Awarded by: Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, The University of Melbourne. To attend: the 74th Annual Meeting of the College on Problems Drug Dependence (Florida, USA).

2010 Department of Psychiatry Travel Support A$1,000 Awarded by: Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne. Awarded to attend: the 16th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (Spain).

2010 Melbourne Abroad Travelling Scholarship A$1,000 Awarded by: The University of Melbourne. Awarded to attend: ‘Neuroimaging and Endpoints in Clinical Trials’ workshop (Provence, France).

Appointments and affiliations


  • April 2020 Program Lead, Neuroscience of Addiction and Mental Health Program, Australian Catholic University
  • April 2020 Deputy Director, Healthy Brain and Mind Research Centre, Australian Catholic University
  • April 2018-ongoing Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, Australian Catholic University
  • Sep 2016-Mar 2018 Senior Lecturer and Executive Member of the Technology Directorate, Institute of Psychology Health and Society School of Psychology, the University of Liverpool
  • Jul-Aug 2016 Research Fellow, University of East London, London (with Prof Cynthia Fu)
  • Jun 2014-Jun 2016 Research Fellow, Monash University
  • Jan 2013–Apr 2014 Research Fellow of the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, University of Melbourne, and Adjunct Research Associate, Monash Imaging and Clinical Neuroscience, Monash University
  • 2009-2012 Research assistant, Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre, Dept. Psychiatry, University of Melbourne


  • 2018-current Society for the Study of Addiction, Lisbon Addictions, International Society for Addiction Medicine, British Psychological Association
  • 2016-current ENIGMA Addiction Working Group, member
  • 2013-2017 International College of Obsessive Compulsive Spectrum Disorders, European College of NeuroPsychoPharmacology
  • 2013-2015 Organization for Human Brain Mapping

Editorial roles

  • Associate Editor, Addiction
  • Editorial Board Member, Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging

International journal review panel

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • JAMA
  • Psychoneuroendocrinology
  • Psychological Medicine
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
  • Revista Brasileira de Psyquiatria
  • Psychiatry Research
  • Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging
  • Journal of Addiction
  • Addiction
  • Drug and Alcohol Dependence
  • Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
  • Social Neuroscience
  • Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Early Intervention in Psychiatry
  • Psychopharmacology

Grant agency review panels

 Translational Research Program of The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development.

Public engagement

  • 2020 Workshop: Medicinal Cannabis in Healthcare, (postponed to June 2021), Ausmed
  • 2019 Workshop on the neurobiology of problem gambling at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
  • 2019 Invited public seminar: Coming of Age: A symposium on cannabis and the brain, Wednesday September 4, Queensland Brain Institute
  • 2018 Workshop on the neurobiology of problem gambling at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
  • 2017 Publication of info-graphic on the brain via @100brainstories a Wellcome Trust funded initiative
  • 2016 Lead of industry-academia collaboration to use Virtual Reality for evidence-based psychological interventions
  • 2016 Interview for article ‘Women and weed: the gender differences in cannabis use and abuse’ in the national newspaper ‘Sydney Morning Herald.’
  • 2015 Article in online science magazine ‘The Conversation’, V Lorenzetti, A Carter ‘Men and women use cannabis for different reasons’
  • 2015 Radio interview (SBS channel) on the neural substrates of cannabis use
  • 2014 Involvement (with Prof J Moll), in TV-commissioned documentary on using real-time neurofeedback and emotions.
  • 2014 Media release on the neuroscience of problem gambling
  • 2013 Involvement (with Prof M Yücel), with the producers of the SBS-commissioned documentary: “What divides the nation: legalization of cannabis?”
  • 2013 Invited presentation at the public seminar: ‘Cannabinoids – the good, the bad and the ugly’ at the Melbourne Neuroscience Institute, The University of Melbourne.
  • 2012 Volunteering for the opening of the Melbourne Brain Centre building, an initiative occurring during ‘Open House Melbourne’, aimed to engage the general public in academic research.
  • 2011 Organizing member of the Foundation Meeting, Biological Psychiatry Australia.
  • 2009 Involvement (with Prof M Yücel), with the producers of the ABC commissioned science documentary series entitled “Whatever! The science of teenagers”

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