dr. N. Petridou

dr. N. Petridou

Associate Professor
dr. N. Petridou
  • Research group Neurovascular Imaging

Research Programs




My research is at the intersection of neuroimaging with emphasis on MRI, biomedical engineering, computational neuroscience, and fundamental neuroscience. The ultimate goals are to enable non-invasive quantitative MRI measurements that can be used to infer neuronal and vessel function in the human brain, and to further our understanding neurovascular coupling mechanisms in health and neurovascular pathologies. On the technical side, my research group develops innovative MRI methods at human ultra-high field (7 tesla) to enable measurements of neuro-vascular function at the level of detail that is fundamental for brain function (μm to few mm). On the neuroscience side, my group seeks to elucidate neurovascular coupling mechanisms in the human brain at the same level of detail. A large part of this research focuses on the development and validation of computational models that can enable quantitative assessment of neuro-vascular function from MRI measurements. This includes assessment of spatial (e.g. laminar) and temporal aspects of function of neuronal populations and of intracortical vessels (e.g. vascular reactivity, blood flow patterns). We build methods and fundamental knowledge by studying the healthy human brain, and apply these to neurovascular pathologies with a specific interest in dementia.

My training blends neuroimaging, MRI physics, biomedical engineering, computing, and neuroscience with a focus on neurovascular coupling and neurophysiology. My Master’s training was in biomedical engineering and MR spectroscopy, at the George Washington University, Washington DC USA, and the In Vivo NMR Research Center of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA. I pursued my doctoral research at the unit of functional imaging methods, NIMH, NIH USA, which exposed me to pioneers and experts in functional MRI and MRI, (neuro)physiological mechanisms underlying fMRI signals, as well as electrophysiology and properties of neuronal circuits.  I pursued my post-doctoral training as a Sir Peter Mansfield fellow (Nobel Prize for Medicine 2003) at the University of Nottingham UK, and have worked on advanced 7 tesla fMRI techniques since the early days of human 7 tesla MRI scanners. As a post-doc at the University Medical Center Utrecht, I was in the front-lines of cortical depth-resolved fMRI (laminar fMRI) development for the human brain, and I eventually started my own group zooming in on neurovascular coupling. Each of these informs the current research of my group, in which we take an integrated approach to understand the mechanisms of neurovascular coupling in health and disease, spanning advanced neuroimaging methods development, computational modelling, and the relationship between neuronal and vascular function in the human brain.

Fellowship and Awards


Grants as principal PI


VIDI, NWO Applied & Engineering Sciences; “Measuring neuronal activity in humans: From Blood to Neuron”


Innovational Research Incentives Scheme personal program grant focusing on the development of ultra-high field (7T) fMRI methods for measuring spatially detailed neuronal activity in humans, validated with intra-cranial human electrophysiology (ECoG).




Personal program grant for the advancement of talented female scientists in academia.


NWO Medium Investment grant; ”Detailed imaging of human brain function”


Project to develop a high-density signal receive head coil-array for very high spatiotemporal resolution functional MRI of the human brain.


BRAIN Initiative, National Institutes of Health (NIH); “Development and validation of empirical models of the neuronal population activity underlying non-invasive human brain measurements”


Transatlantic consortium program focusing on the development and validation of computational models of the neuronal population activity underlying non-invasive human brain measurements, based on empirical measurements from the human brain obtained with fMRI at 3T and 7T, MEG, EEG, and intra-cranial electrophysiology (ECoG). Receiving a BRAIN Initiative award as a non-USA based principal PI is exceptional (~1% rate).


NIH diversity program grant


Grant under a special call to promote diversity in health-related research. The funds supported a female bachelor’s student to gain a 2-year research experience in neuroscience.


Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) – NWO. Human Measurement Models 2.0 program; “Virtual Cerebrovascular Responses:  Modeling the human cortical vasculature to understand brain function in health and disease”


Public-private consortium program (2 UMCs – 2 SMEs) focusing on the development and validation of a computational model of cortical vessel function in the human brain that will bridge the gap between the information obtained with functional MRI and the underlying biology. Validation involves multi-contrast 7T functional MRI and intra-cranial instrinsic signal optical imaging from the human brain. The model will help optimize the functional measurements to stage neurovascular disease severity and to interpret the observed changes.


Grants as co-PI


Focus & Massa, Neuroscience and Cognition Utrecht


Project investigating the causal link between cortical organization and conscious perception using fMRI and electrophysiology in humans.


NWO scientist visit grant


Award for short-term support/visit of an international scientist to collaborate on project ”Pushing the limit of fMRI in speed and detail”


NWO Medical Research Domain (ZonMw); “Mechanisms of Dementia (MODEM)”


Consortium program focusing on elucidating the biological mechanisms that lead to dementia, or protect against it, aiming to help in the improvement of diagnostics and developing medical treatments.


NWO National Roadmap - Large Scale Infrastructure ; “DYNAMIC”


The Dutch National 14Tesla Initiative in Medical Science (DYNAMIC) consortium program to establish a 14T MRI system as an (inter)national resource for the development of ultra-high field imaging techniques and their application in Neuroscience and Medicine.




Aspasia nomination for the advancement of exceptionally talented female scientists, Dutch Research Council


Outstanding Teacher Award, International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


Aspasia award for the advancement of exceptionally talented female scientists, Dutch Research Council


Sir Peter Mansfield Fellowship, Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Center, University of Nottingham


Fellows Award for Research Excellence , National Institutes of Health

Research Output (79)

Precise Spatial Tuning of Visually Driven Alpha Oscillations in Human Visual Cortex

Yuasa Kenichi, Groen Iris I A, Piantoni Giovanni, Montenegro Stephanie, Flinker Adeen, Devore Sasha, Devinsky Orrin, Doyle Werner, Dugan Patricia, Friedman Daniel, Ramsey Nick, Petridou Natalia, Winawer Jonathan 12 Jul 2023, p. 1-40

A vision of 14 T MR for fundamental and clinical science

Bates Steve, Dumoulin Serge O, Folkers Paul J M, Formisano Elia, Goebel Rainer, Haghnejad Aidin, Helmich Rick C, Klomp Dennis, van der Kolk Anja G, Li Yi, Nederveen Aart, Norris David G, Petridou Natalia, Roell Stefan, Scheenen Tom W J, Schoonheim Menno M, Voogt Ingmar, Webb Andrew 10 Apr 2023, In: Magma - Magnetic Resonance Materials In Physics Biology And Medicine. 36 , p. 211-225 15 p.

Mechanisms of speed encoding in the human middle temporal cortex measured by 7T fMRI

Gaglianese Anna, Fracasso Alessio, Fernandes Francisco G, Harvey Ben, Dumoulin Serge O, Petridou Natalia 1 Apr 2023, In: Human Brain Mapping. 44 , p. 2050-2061 12 p.

A mechanistic computational framework to investigate the hemodynamic fingerprint of the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal

Báez-Yáñez Mario Gilberto, Siero Jeroen C.W., Petridou Natalia 2023, In: NMR in Biomedicine. 36

The many layers of BOLD. The effect of hypercapnic and hyperoxic stimuli on macro- and micro-vascular compartments quantified by CVR, M, and CBV across cortical depth.

Schellekens Wouter, Bhogal Alex A, Roefs Emiel Ca, Báez-Yáñez Mario G, Siero Jeroen Cw, Petridou Natalia 19 Oct 2022, In: Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. 43 , p. 419-432 14 p.

Temporal dynamics of neural responses in human visual cortex

Groen Iris I A, Piantoni Giovanni, Montenegro Stephanie, Flinker Adeen, Devore Sasha, Devinsky Orrin, Doyle Werner, Dugan Patricia, Friedman Daniel, Ramsey Nick, Petridou Natalia, Winawer Jonathan 19 Aug 2022, In: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 42 , p. 7562-7580 19 p.

Intracranial recordings show evidence of numerosity tuning in human parietal cortex

van Dijk Jelle A, de Jong Maartje C, Piantoni Gio, Fracasso Alessio, Vansteensel Mariska J, Groen Iris I A, Petridou Natalia, Dumoulin Serge O 3 Aug 2022, In: PLoS ONE. 17 , p. 1-15

Moving in on human motor cortex. Characterizing the relationship between body parts with non-rigid population response fields

Schellekens Wouter, Bakker Carlijn, Ramsey Nick F, Petridou Natalia Apr 2022, In: PLoS Computational Biology. 18 , p. 1-31

Laminar processing of numerosity supports a canonical cortical microcircuit in human parietal cortex

van Dijk Jelle A, Fracasso Alessio, Petridou Natalia, Dumoulin Serge O 25 Oct 2021, In: Current Biology. 31 , p. 4635-4640.e4

A touch of hierarchy: population receptive fields reveal fingertip integration in Brodmann areas in human primary somatosensory cortex

Schellekens Wouter, Thio Martijn , Badde Stephanie, Winawer Jonathan, Ramsey Nick, Petridou Natalia Sep 2021, In: Brain Structure and Function. 226 , p. 2099-2112 14 p.

All research output

Thank you for your review!

Has this information helped you?

Please tell us why, so that we can improve our website.

Working at UMC Utrecht





Practical uses cookies

This website uses cookies This website displays videos from, among others, YouTube. Such parties place cookies (third-party cookies). If you do not want these cookies, you can indicate that here. We also place cookies ourselves to improve our site.

Read more about the cookie policy

Agree No, rather not