Cristiana Cavina-Pratesi

1971 - 2016





Cristiana Cavina-Pratesi, senior lecturer in psychology at Durham University, sadly died on 1st August 2016. Cristiana had studied or worked at the Universities of Padova (Italy), Verona (Italy), Western (Canada) and Durham (UK). She will be remembered as a great researcher, teacher, friend and colleague to many. Cristiana’s positive attitude was an inspiration throughout her life. This is a place for everyone who knew Cristiana to share memories of her and through this to help celebrate her life. If you would like to contribute please email your post to psychology.office@durham.ac.uk


Messages

Christine Carter

Memorial University

I met Cristiana in 2003 while both of us were at Western. She quickly became one of my closest and most treasured friends. She took me under her wing like a little sister, which came with all the love and teasing inherent in that kind of relationship. I remember traveling to Hungary with Cristiana and Jody many years ago. I arrived in Budapest last, completely jet-lagged and over-trusting. Cristiana told me that there was no toilet in our apartment, only the bathroom with a sink and tub (Had I not been so tired, I would have noticed the separate door for the toilet!) She proceeded to mime how I would have to do my business over the sink and the garbage can. Her performance was worthy of an Oscar. That night, as I slid the chair up to the sink and got ready, Cristiana and Jody burst out laughing in the other room. They certainly got me.

Cristiana could make us all laugh like no one else. She was generous, honest, and selfless. She brought colour into our world. She was the best kind of friend.

I will feel gratitude for her impact on my life for the rest of my days.

3rd November 2016


Irene Sperandio

University of East Anglia

I had the privilege to meet Cristiana during my post-doc at the University of Western Ontario, back in 2009. I have always felt a sort of 'scientific connection' with Cristiana as we share similar backgrounds. In fact, we both did our PhD in Verona under the supervision of Carlo Alberto Marzi and we both moved to Canada afterwards to work in Mel Goodale's lab. I have fond memories of those moments we have spent together. In particular, the Easter's lunch we organized at my place in perfect Italian style, which of course involved great food and lots of laughter!

Cristiana was not only an inspiring and talented scientist, but an amazing and down-to-earth person. I will never forget her drive, energy and vitality. Ciao Cristiana! You will be greatly missed.

13th September 2016


Silvia Savazzi

University of Verona

I first met Cristiana when I came to Verona to apply for a PhD position. I ended up getting it and Cristiana and I shared a tiny little room (more like a corridor than an office) for the next few years. Despite of the same age, she started her PhD one year earlier than me. She introduced me to the magic of programming. Her motto was “you try, you try again, you try harder and then you ask”. That was the perfect attitude to give me the right dose of frustration and to make me learn a lot but at the same time to not feel alone on the way of getting things done. No need to say that she kept on checking on me and she was always there when I needed her help. Also our apartments were close to each other and in countless occasions we had dinner together. Most often at her place (Cristiana cooking) but also at a pizzeria down the house where we could bring our wine and spend time together in a family-like environment.

We spent so much time discussing, and sometimes arguing, about art, movies, books and science. She gave me one of my favorite book (Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture), which I kept on giving to others since then, a book about the passion and obsession for discovery. A book perfectly reflecting Cristiana’s passion and open-mindedness towards people, life and science.

It took a while for me to decide to write these few words about Cristiana. It’s too difficult to accept her premature death. I can only say that together with this immense sense of loss, I am also fortunate that I had the possibility to share a part of my life with Cristiana. She was not only an amazing scientist, but overall a fabulous person, with a sharp sense of humor, a brilliant mind and a huge heart, always caring for others and loving life. She’ll be missed. A lot. By many.

22nd August 2016


Maria Olkkonen

Durham University

I met Cristiana when I came to Durham in fall 2015. Cristiana gave me a warm welcome and was always friendly, generous, and graceful. I will never forget how much fun it was to hang out with Cristiana at her favorite Italian cafe in Durham! My thoughts are with Cristiana's family.

17th August 2016


Lucy van Eimeren

University of Exeter

Cristiana was an amazing scientist, tutor and just a lovely, giving and uniquely open person. We all felt the loss no matter how long we hadn't seen her or how short our time together really was. I can't even imagine the loss felt by her family and close friends and my thoughts are with them.

The story that constantly pops into my head when I think of Cristiana, is the moment that I loved her not as a scientist, but as a human being. We made sushi together at one of Jody's infamous summer lab parties. Both of us stood side by side, filled and rolled what seemed like hundreds of sushi rolls, talked science and about Jody behind her back (only lovely things of course). But then Cristiana took a HUGE ball of wasabi and hid it in a Salmon Nigiri. I just looked at her a bit shocked. She looked back, shrugged her shoulders and said: What's the point of all of this if we can't have a little bit of fun? I agreed and took a mental note not to eat any of the Nigiri pieces (and never to get on Cristiana's wrong side). ....unfortunately I am pretty sure her devilish little plan backfired on her, because she was the one that had very watery eyes at one point during dinner and chugged a pint of milk in one go.

Don't get me wrong: I like lovely people that are just lovely, but to cite a very wise person: what's the point of it all if you can't have a little bit of fun? Rest in peace, Cristiana!

16th August 2016


Jason Gallivan

Queen's University

I first had the privilege of meeting Cristiana when I began my MSc degree with Jody Culham in 2005. At the time, Cristiana was doing a postdoc with Jody and, right from the very day I arrived, she generously took me under her wing. What struck me about Cristiana, in addition to her thoughtfulness and creativity, was her genuine kindness and willingness to share her precious time and knowledge with colleagues. There were many nights where she selflessly put aside her own work to help me with programming, analyses or assist in data collection for my project. Through our interactions, she contributed significantly to my training and development as a scientist, and played a big role in setting me on my current career path.

One of my fondest memories of Cristiana is her insistence on recording her own auditory instructions (in English) for participants in her experiments. She had an unmistakable Italian accent when pronouncing certain consonants and I don’t think I’ll ever forget hearing the words “Right ring grasp” played through the headphones while I was in the scanner helping her pilot test an experiment (for those who don’t know – this was the cue for me to grasp an object using my thumb and ring finger). I still smile every time I think of those little moments and am thankful to have had the immense pleasure of both knowing and working with Cristiana.

Cristiana was a talented scientist, a tremendous colleague and someone I am lucky to have called a friend. It is clear, from reading the other comments on this page, that my view of Cristiana was not unique, but shared by many individuals. She touched a lot of lives and will be sorely missed.

16th August 2016


Paul Skarratt

University of Hull

I first met Cristiana back in 2006 and liked her immediately. I had just started as an RA in Durham and she was everything one could hope for in a new colleague. She was warm and funny and always generous with her time. In the beginning, I invited multiple rebukes for misspelling her name (in fact, she never let a single one pass without making some comment) but all were delivered with her trademark gentle mockery and good-natured humour.

Cristiana was interested in most things, and I particularly enjoyed our conversations about science, music and film. Of the latter, I recall one brilliant critique she gave of David Lean’s Brief Encounter. It was a total deconstruction, remarkable not only for the technical details she pulled from memory, but because she understood the social comment on repressive pre-war English culture. (I saw it as a film lacking in explosions and gun violence.) I watched it again after Cristiana raised my consciousness and I now watch films differently than I did before.

I admired and respected Cristiana for a great number of reasons, but none more than the courage with which she faced her illness. I’m proud to have been your friend, and I will miss you terribly.

16th August 2016


Domenica Bueti

SISSA, Trieste, Italy

I shared an important piece of my life with Cristiana. It was the beginning of our PhD, when we were young, stupid and amused by life! we were very close friends. I cannot find now appropriate words to describe how precious for me was the time we spent together talking laughing, discussing, arguing sometimes, dreaming, cooking (Cristiana), washing the dishes (me), reading, watching movies, driving the car or riding the red "Vespa". Cristiana was a bright, talented person with a sharp humor and a big heart. She had a profound and inquisitive mind and our friendship has changed me immensely.
Ti voglio bene Cri! Mi mancherai ma i nostri ricordi saranno sempre con me! Dim

12th August 2016


Rayna Mehta

School Psychologist - J.B.Petit High School for Girls,Mumbai, India

I had the privilege of calling Dr. Cavina-Pratesi my Dissertation supervisor during my MSc at Durham University. Words cannot express the gratitude I have for her. The compassion she had for us as students, made me want to do better than my best for her. Right from teaching me academic writing to caring about whether I had found my destination on the campus she's done it all. Despite her tumour and surgery she continued to supervise my dissertation, organizing meetings at her home on days when she did not have her chemotherapy sessions. Her positive attitude towards life was infectious. I was awe-inspired by her ability to bear the pain with a smile on her face. I always dreamed of coming to Durham and seeing that ever smiling face again, little did I know that our farewell lunch on the 9th of September 2014 would be the last time I saw her.
Ciao Ciao Cristiana ( I didn't call you Dr. Cavina-Pratesi 😉 ). You will be missed dearly.

12th August 2016


Jody Cullham

Western University

I knew Cristiana as a trainee and then as an independent colleague. Even more importantly, I came to know her as one of my very closest friends.

Cristiana came to work in my lab in a roundabout way. During her PhD with Carlo Marzi in Verona, she had a chance to come to Canada as a visiting scholar and then stayed as a postdoc. Due to a miscommunication, her original plans didn’t work out so she ended up working with Mel Goodale and me. After beginning to use neuroimaging, she decided she wanted to directly learn hands-on approaches to analyzing neuroimaging data. She came to my office and asked to work with me. She said, “I want to learn neuroimaging with you. I will do any project you want – literally anything. I will be your slave. Just tell me what you want me to do.” I told her I had an fMRI project on grasping that I wanted to do and she agreed – and that was how she began to study reaching and grasping, a topic in which she would make many important and insightful discoveries. She was a true joy to work with – smart, productive and fun.

Along the way through our scientific collaborations, we became the closest of friends. Cristiana was the hub of a wonderful social group in that era at Western. We spent many hours at Western’s grad pub talking about everything from the profound to the absurd. With Cristiana’s unique sense of humor, I suspect we spent more time on the absurd than the profound. We shared many wonderful dinners and parties hosted at Cristiana’s house, many lab events like our annual lab pumpkin-carving night, and fun travels with good friends and colleagues. Perhaps what I found most striking about Cristiana was her passion: her passion for science, her passion for life. Cristiana was a consummate explorer and it didn’t matter whether she was exploring scientific data or exploring other people’s perspectives through her deep love for movies and her enjoyment of novels and travel. She was a very curious person – or as she would’ve said, “COOR-ee-oos”, both in the sense of being inquisitive and in the sense of being offbeat… in the best possible way, always bringing an interesting perspective. She was always herself, without pretense or facades. She talked to everyone with the same empathy, whether they were an eminent professor, a junior student, or a homeless person on the street. Cristiana’s passion was also reflected by her playfulness, humour and ability to pull of hilarious practical jokes on the unsuspecting.

Cristiana was also generous and selfless. This was true in her scientific life, where she gave generous support to younger trainees and to colleagues without expectations. It was also especially true in her friendships. I could always trust Cristiana to give me honest, insightful and empathetic advice. She was not just smart, but more importantly wise. She knew the importance of friends and family above all else.

Though it is difficult to accept Cristiana’s illness and premature death, the strongest emotion I feel is gratitude. I am so grateful that I had a chance to know this amazing person, to work with her and to become a close friend. I am grateful for the many perspectives that she has given me about what is important in life. She taught me through her example not just how to live but how to die. Even as her fate became apparent, she sustained a powerful combination of acceptance, appreciation for the important things in life, especially friends and family, and optimism.

Though her flame died much too soon, we are all extremely fortunate that it illuminated our lives even if far too briefly.

12th August 2016


Mary-Ellen Large

University of Hull

I remember a conversation a few years ago, where Cristiana swore that unlike me she was not very social. Well I disagree. Sure she wasn’t one for small talk, and the idea of going to a party where there might be people she didn’t know, or people she didn’t like, was an anathema. But in every other way she was a very social person. She had a knack for facilitating social connections between people. And she was the center of our social life at the University of Western Ontario.

In Canada she opened up her home on a regular basis to a rag tag bunch of academics and students from around the world. We would watch movies, make pasta, drink wine. One of my earliest memories of Cristiana is visiting her home after a session at the Grad Pub, a pub for research staff and grad students, a five minute walk from the labs. We’d all been drinking and eating crisps. Always the crisps. Cristiana could never get her head around drinking without food. Unlike us Brits, she was not a beer guzzler. This one night, early on in my time at Western, Cristiana invited me and a few others to her house for pasta. I remember vividly walking along tree lined streets. The air is warm, a little humid, the light is fading and we stroll along, talking – talking about our lives, about work, about politics, movies books whatever took our fancy. Strolling back to Cristiana’s home, with Ken and maybe Anil zipping back and forth on their bikes. We arrive at her house, a house she shared with various postdocs. We sit in the dining room, drinking some wine, or beer, or water while Cristiana busies herself in the kitchen. She is cooking pasta, Cristiana loved pasta. She loved pasta with sauce. And she would make great big steaming bowls of pasta for all of us to share. And we ate, and talked and laughed. Silly, drunk, well fed.

Cristiana, did love to share food with people. She even taught us how to make fresh pasta. We covered her house with flour – it got everywhere. The house did not have a large kitchen, more of a galley. And there was coloured decorative glass, everywhere (I think much of it belonged to the landlord, Sue). And plants, lots of plants – Cristiana loved plants. It was a house full of bits and pieces. So after kneading the dough, we rolled out the pasta, covering the dining room table and sideboards with strips and squares. Putting dobs of filling in the squares and covering them to make ravioli. I can’t remember the filling, probably spinach and ricotta cheese. And of course, after all that mucking about making pasta, came the cleaning up and then opening up a bottle of wine, putting on some sauces, and the finale, eating our pasta. It was great fun.

I don’t think you can get more social than sharing food with friends in your home. So Cristiana, you may not have liked parties, but you did love spending time with friends, eating, talking, laughing and drinking. And you were our social hub for many years at Western.

I am sure that her friends here in Durham have shared similar experiences. I know from my visits here the same touches were evident. Small things, like making sure the lunch room was stocked up on biscuits so people could sit down with a hot drink and a biscuit for a chat. Taking fresh focaccia she had made to share with friends at work.

And working with Cristiana was no different from hanging out with her – perhaps a little more focused, but just as fun. I loved working with Cristiana and feel so privileged that I got that opportunity on more than one occasion. It was so easy to collaborate with Cristiana. It made no difference whether we worked on a project that she led, or a project led by a colleague. She approached all of her research with the same degree of effort and integrity. And she was just so incredibly humble about it all. Research, I think for her, was a collaborative, not a competitive, enterprise. She took great pleasure in discovery and her research was incredibly important to her. Even towards the end of her illness she worked hard to finish projects that she had started. To the extent that she was finalizing a manuscript with Jody whilst she lay immobilized in her bed. Such amazing tenacity of spirit. Cristiana, an amazingly generous, warm, lovable, and tenacious friend.

12th August 2016


Philippe Chouinard

La Trobe University

I was deeply saddened when I heard of Cristiana’s passing. I met Cristiana a little over ten years ago while I was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario. I will remember her kindness, generousity, insightfulness, and scientific inquiry. Cristiana was an exceptionally talented scientist who challenged and influenced my views. I thank her for that. My deepest condolences to Jason and her family.

12th August 2016


Monika Harvey

University of Glasgow

I first met Christiana at a symposium in Harrogate in 2011, where David Milner introduced us. Her scientific brilliance and innovation had preceded her, and this was more than confirmed when she spoke. What struck me most though on meeting her, was her engaging, extrovert and kind personality, and her ability to make everyone feel welcome and valued. She has been a most treasured colleague and friend ever since, and I miss her so much.

11th August 2016


Erik Chang

National Central University, Taiwan

I am fortunate to be Cristiana's officemate when being a postodctoral fellow at University of Western Ontario between 2005-2006. She immediately struck me as a straight-forward yet friendly colleague. Together with our UWO friends, we hang out a lot exploring nice foods, watching artistic movies (that I'd never thought of viewing by myself), and chatting about science and life before she left for Durham. Cristiana had a talent of sensing the unusual from the usual, and she was happy to share the insights with friends. I benefited a lot from her sparkles of thoughts, especially when once she teased me, "Why are you always so under control? I'd love to see you get angry sometime." It never occurred to me our last goodbye in OHBM 2010 was the final one. Her young passing away brought me tremendous sadness.
My thoughts are with her family.

11th August 2016


Alessia Cacace

Durham University

Cristiana, when I first got in this town I was alone and a bit scared of embarking on this whole new life. When I met you, I noticed so many similarities in our stories but one great difference: your amazing attitude. You taught me so much in only a couple of years, more than I've probably ever would have had the courage to say. You inspired me and showed me that it is indeed possible to follow your dreams. You believed in me and that made me stronger and for this I am so so grateful. I will miss you deeply but now with a big smile for all the times you gave one to the people around you.

10th August 2016


Norma Twomey

Durham University

My lasting memories of Cristiana will be her kindness, compassion and dedication to the students, her lovely smile, her laughter and wicked sense of humour. She was a truly inspirational person that I was privileged to call my friend. Ciao Ciao lovely lady x

10th August 2016


Anthony (Tony) Atkinson

Durham University

Cristiana arrived at Durham not long after I did. We interacted a lot over the years, both professionally and personally. She was special. Cheerful, always willing to help, caring and conscientious, with a good critical eye and a ready smile. We had many good times.
Cristiana was an excellent scientist, though she was very modest about it and would not admit it herself. She was an enthusiastic researcher and teacher, and the students were very fond of her.

A favourite tool in her research was functional MRI, about which she taught me a lot. A little memento that she encouraged me to buy to mark the completion of the first session of my first fMRI study as principal author will remind me now of her more than of that event (not least because she was the participant in that session). It was a little colourful turtle, fittingly in the form of a magnet.

Cristiana loved movies. There was a period of a few years, several years ago now, when we and others often went to the cinema together, usually the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. I fondly remember those times.

Cristiana's positive attitude during her illness was remarkable. Her passing is a great loss: it has left a hole in many peoples’ lives, including mine. You will live on in our memories, Cristiana.

10th August 2016


James Danckert

University of Waterloo

Cristiana and I crossed paths while at Western and her infectious love of life was immediately evident. We didn't overlap much in scientific endeavours, but over beers at the Grad Pub it was obvious that she combined an exceptionally sharp mind with a joyful curiosity. She visited my wife and I many years ago when our eldest was only 3 or 4 years old and I have an endearing memory of Cristiana getting on all fours to play with my son, wearing any silly hat he asked her to. We have lost a wonderfully bright person.

10th August 2016


Patrizia Fattori

University of Bologna

I met Cristiana in 2004 at Western. We started collaborating soon and since then we have been in touch. We often tried to catch up when we were at SfN or in other occasions. We shared nice dinners, because Cristiana enjoyed good food and good wine. It was a pleasure to spend time with her, she always has a simile and a sharp sense of humour that put things in another perspective.
I hope to find again her smile when we will catch up in the highest!

9th August 2016


Andrew Lai

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan

I first met Cristiana during my first week at Durham for my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience. She was the moderator of our induction session. She was a cheerful person and a brilliant scientist. She was always caring, energetic, and supportive. Her passion for teaching and science was inspiring. It is too early to lost her now. I would like to thank her for her guidance and support during my time in Durham.

9th August 2016


Thomas Schenk

Ludwig-Maximilians University

Cristiana was a brilliant researcher, a lovely and generous colleague and enthusiastic teacher. I was charmed by Cristiana’s caring and generous personality, her passion for good science and good food and her wonderful sense of humor. I got constantly in trouble with Cristiana because I reliably misspelt and mispronounced her name – hopefully have not done so again in this short paragraph.
I will miss her.

8th August 2016


Magdalena Ietswaart

University of Stirling

Cristiana my dear friend and colleague: we were David Milner's last postdocs, we supervised our first PhD student together and what an adventure it was, we did fun things like make pasta and the traditional crazy pillow fight play with my adoring young son, we breakfasted on biscuits after late night idea packed science discussions, her love of movies, her the love of life, her love dedication and sacrifice for science. I will forever treasured the time Cristiana light up this earth with her wisdom, her deeply individual take on things, her enormous generosity, her deeply passionate life, and I am grateful.

8th August 2016


Lee de-Wit

University of Cambridge

Cristiana and I met while she was a post-doc and I was a PhD student at Durham. She had a big impact on my PhD, often by challenging me to think more carefully about the experiments I was running! Cristiana genuinely cared about what she was researching, and talking to her was always a pleasure. Over the years we became good friends, although, that nearly came to an end she invited me over for dinner for the first time, and I came close to cutting up some spaghetti with a knife. The look of horror on her face has stayed with me ever since.
Some of my fondest memories from my PhD are from Cristiana’s apartment, the smell of coffee from the kitchen, the earnest scientific discussions. Cristiana truly enriched my time at Durham, and I’m sad that she is no longer with us, and that a future generation of students will miss the opportunity to learn from her.

8th August 2016


Vincent Reid

Lancaster University

I was first arrived to Durham University, Cristiana was a Research Fellow in the Psychology Department. I didn't get to know her until she became my counterpart for running MSc programmes. She coordinated the Cognitive Neuroscience programme and I did the Developmental programmes up until my departure in 2012. She had a wonderful sense of humour. Once she found out that she was a few years older than me, she took every opportunity to tease me about it in a good humoured way. When someone would shout "Hello My Young Man" down the corridor, there was no second guess as to who it was (though the Italian accent did give her away). She had a great knack in terms of dealing with difficult colleagues while at the same time being inclusive. There's no question that she was an all round excellent colleague and a wonderful person to boot.

8th August 2016


Debbie Riby

Durham University

When I arrived in Durham in 2013 to take on the course director role for the MSc Developmental Psychopathology, it was an absolute joy to work so closely with Cristiana and have her to show me the ropes as a course director. Cristiana was not only a superb researcher but an excellent all-round academic. She cared so much about the MSc students – often providing the students (and lucky staff!) with homemade Italian delicacies. Cristiana will be hugely missed by everyone in Psychology.

5th August 2016


Alex Easton

Durham University

Cristiana and I joined the department around the same time and was for the whole time I knew her a positive and cheerful friend and colleague. She was the natural choice to take over the role as Director of the MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and very much made the role her own. Her enthusiasm and energy teaching on the course and caring about the students and their experience was obvious to all.

She loved to provide unique experiences for the students (from her incredible homemade feasts for student poster events to being able to get students to meet and talk to the author of a classic paper she was teaching about) and as staff we were lucky enough always to be welcomed to these events with open arms. Even my daughter experienced Cristiana’s overwhelming generosity when she was the first participant in a pilot study Cristiana ran and found herself leaving the experiment more full of biscuits than she ever thought possible!

All this means whilst Cristiana will be sadly missed, she will always be very fondly remembered.

5th August 2016


Claudio Galletti

University of Bologna

I met Cristiana about ten years ago when I visited Jody's lab at the University of Western Ontario. We met several times in other ccasions. It was always a pleasure to discuss with her about science and it is now really too early to have lost her. She was a very nice girl, and I continue to remember her as she appears in the picture below.

Ciao Cristiana, ci manchi molto.

5th August 2016


Anna Sedda

Heriot Watt University

I met Cristiana thanks the Western University network, something like 8 years ago. I remember a specific episode that I think represent Her very well. We were writing a paper - I was second author and she was third. A reviewer asked for an additional experiment and Cristiana offered to do it. At that point, she had done a massive amount of work and with the first author we thought she would deserve the second name, not the third. Well, we had to fight. Cristiana did not want it. At the end we convinced her, but I bet she was not fully convinced. This was Cristiana: a true scientist with no glory ambitions, only a giant passion. She was rare as a person as well as a professional, and taught us all a lot.

5th August 2016


Sam Schwarzkopf

University College London

Unfortunately, I didn't know Cristiana very well. We met occasionally at various workshops or symposia. She was a great scientist but above all I will remember her kindness. The first time we met was when I worked in Verona for a few months during my undergrad while she was a doctoral student. She was one of the first people I got to know then. She took me out to dinner in the beautiful old city, taught me about Italian pronunciation and how not to embarrass myself - that is, learning to eat spaghetti without a spoon... My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

5th August 2016


Constanze Hesse & Dave Knight

University of Aberdeen

I (Constanze) first met Cristiana personally when I moved to Durham in 2010. She was an open, intelligent, witty and cheerful person that made me feel welcome instantly. Working with her was uncomplicated and great fun. I’ll miss her lots as both a colleague and as a friend, but Dave and I will forever remember some of her advice: “Never wine but beer with pizza”, and as for pasta: “Olive oil as it rains and parmesan as it snows”. Our thoughts are with Jason and her family.

5th August 2016


Simona Monaco

University of Trento

I have met Cristiana in 2005 in Jody Culham’s lab at the University of Western Ontario and since then Cristiana has been a caring mentor, colleague and friend. Cristiana’s wonderful personality shone through everything she said and did. A first few minutes in her company were enough to appreciate that she would have left a good memory with you and that she had a positive impact also in other people’s life. She sincerely cared about friends, co-workers and family like a good parent would. She was profoundly curious about life and science and this is what made of her an inspiring, encouraging and tireless scientist and mentor. Her positive attitude towards people and life have made of her a person that will be remembered by many. I am grateful that Cristiana has touched my life and I will treasure the memory of her genuine joy of living.

5th August 2016


Gemma Youll

Durham University

I have only known Cristiana for a couple of years, though I will remember her as someone who was always kind, cheerful and someone who was a genuinely lovely person. Cristiana was always someone who would say hello, would make you feel welcome and had a smile on her face. I feel lucky enough to have gotten to know Cristiana. Cristiana was always someone who worked hard and had a big heart; she will be a huge miss to our department!
I hope she will rest peacefully.

5th August 2016


Stephanie Rossit

University of East Anglia

I met Cristiana during my post-doc at UWO (Canada) and was really impressed with her research and willingness to share and discuss her ideas and findings. She also had a great sense of humour and was a very kind and fair person. She kindly hosted me when I gave a seminar in Durham and I really enjoyed discussing research with her. She was an inspirational female scientist that I will always look up to. My thoughts are with Jason, her family and her colleagues.

4th August 2016


Sophie Hodgetts

Durham University

I first met Cristiana when I applied to do some voluntary research assistant work during the summer vacation leading up to my third undergraduate year. I enjoyed working with her so much that I continued on as her student for my undergraduate dissertation. Cristiana was an inspiration to me, and a real joy to work with, and she really made me feel like I was making a valuable contribution to her work, and like my input to the study was valuable. Cristiana was my first real experience of working in psychological research, and I have so much to thank her for when I consider where I am today. It is thanks to her belief in me that I applied for the MSc Cognitive Neuroscience course, and then for the PhD programme.
I will always remember her as a friend, as well as a mentor and colleague, and I know I speak for all of us in the department when I say that I will miss her greatly.

4th August 2016