Dr. Valera is an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a Research Scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has worked in the field of domestic violence for nearly 25 years using a range of methodologies to understand the neural, neuropsychological and psychological consequences of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) resulting from intimate partner-violence (IPV). Dr. Valera’s research has also focused on using neuroimaging to understand the neurobiology of ADHD and how corticocerebellar network abnormalities contribute to ADHD. Her most recent work in this area holds clinical relevance as it provides support for the potential targeting of cerebellar areas for therapeutic interventions in ADHD.

Dr. Valera has authored nearly 50 publications, is a reviewer for more than 60 journals and has obtained numerous grants to support her research. She regularly lectures on IPV internationally and has been interviewed by numerous news sources (e.g., TV news, New York Times Magazine, Forbes, CBC Canadian radio). She is actively engaged in training stakeholders (shelter workers, law enforcement, judicial personnel) and raising awareness of this global public health epidemic.


PhD in Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Select Publications

Kucyi A, Esterman M, Riley CS, Valera EM. Spontaneous default network activity reflects behavioral variability independent of mind-wandering. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Nov 29;113(48):13899-13904. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1611743113. Epub 2016 Nov 15. PMID: 27856733; PMCID: PMC5137714.

Valera E, Kucyi A. Brain injury in women experiencing intimate partner-violence: neural mechanistic evidence of an “invisible” trauma. Brain Imaging Behav. 2017 Dec;11(6):1664-1677. doi: 10.1007/s11682-016-9643-1. PMID: 27766587.

Valera EM, Cao A, Pasternak O, Shenton ME, Kubicki M, Makris N, Adra N. White Matter Correlates of Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in Women Subjected to Intimate-Partner Violence: A Preliminary Study. J Neurotrauma. 2019 Mar 1;36(5):661-668. doi: 10.1089/neu.2018.5734. Epub 2018 Oct 4. PMID: 29873292; PMCID: PMC6387564.


Rappaport Research fellowship in Neurology (MGH)

2019 Domestic Violence Award (from PINK concussions)

Robert D. Voogt Founders Award (from Voogt family and the North American Brain Injury Society)


The Valera Lab