Personal profile


Clara has obtained a PhD in Psychology at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh (2016) and a Clinical Doctorate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in Italy (2014). She also completed a PGDip in Cognitive Neuroscience at Oxford Brookes University (2010), as well as an MSc in Clinical Psychology (2008) and a BSc in Psychology (2006). She has been working in both research and clinical settings in the area of neuropsychology and clinical psychology since 2008 with a wide range of patients and conditions.

Over the last decade she has developed a considerable expertise in the investigation of causes of AD and interventions aimed to reduce the negative impact of dementia, both in clinical and research settings.

Clara is currently working as a Research Assistant for a project coordinated by Dr Mario Parra at Heriot Watt University (Edinburgh) with a leading role in the fMRI study with MCI. The study aims to deliver novel tools for the assessment and intervention of people at risk of dementia. She works within a collaboration network which involves academics and NHS institutions across Scotland as well as international labs. Her job involves neuropsychological assessments and neuroimaging data collection in older adults with and without cognitive impairment. She is also involved in the design, implementation and application of a cognitive intervention programme which relies on Virtual Reality Technologies. This aims to incorporate state of the art VR and AI tools to create a tailored intervention program that responds to the needs of each individual living with dementia.

Research Group Contact Details

Detecting Alzheimer's and Enhancingf Memory (DAEM)


What is DAEM about? 


Longitudinal Assessment of Memory: We are assessing people with memory problems yearly using novel methodologies that are shedding light on the earliest symptoms linked to Alzheimer’s disease. This study is approved by the NHS. The information drawn from these assessments is used to provide research evidence and to inform clinical practice. We are also performing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings to people interested in these assessments.

EEG assessment: We collect the EEG while people perform a memory task. This assessment involves putting a cap with some electrodes on the head and to respond to some stimuli on a computer screen while we record the EEG. This session lasts approximately one hour. It provides information on the brain functions associated to memory performance. We can investigate how different brain regions communicate to each other while people remember things. This assessment takes place at the Heriot-Watt University Neurophysiology Lab.

fMRI Assessment: This assessment involves obtaining images of the brain in action while people respond to some visual stimuli. This session lasts approximately one hour. It provides information on the brain functions and structures associated to memory performance. This assessment is carried out at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience of the Wester General Hospital. 


Roles & Responsibilities

January 2016- September 2017. Heriot-Watt University. Edinburgh. UK

Research Assistant & Tutor


September 2015- December 2015. QueenMargaretUniversity. Edinburgh. UK

Visiting Lecturer in Psychology


September 2012- September 2015. QueenMargaretUniversity. Edinburgh. UK

Lecturer in Psychology- PhD bursary


March 2008 –July 2012. Hospital of Bari, Department of Neuroscience, Bari, Italy

Assistant Clinical Neuropsychologist. Conducted neuropsychological assessments and carried out research


June 2012. University of Cologne, Department of Social Cognition. Germany

Data coder. Research on Social Cognition Neuroscience.


July 2010- April 2012. Social Cooperative. “Dolce Vita 24h”. Bari. Italy

Consultant Psychologist. Neuropsychological assessments and interventions.


March 2009 - July 2009.  Academy of Fine Arts, Lecce, Italy.

Lecturer in the postgraduate course “Perception and form psychology theory”


July 2007 - February 2008.  C.S.M (Centre of Mental Health), Bari, Italy

Postgraduate Trainee Psychologist. Prevention, diagnosis and psychological intervention with psychiatric patients 

External positions

Visiting Research Assistant, University of Edinburgh

6 Jan 20161 Sep 2017

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Research Output 2014 2017

An early career researcher’s take-home tips on peer review

Calia, C. 20 Feb 2017

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

peer review
Peer Review

Visuospatial bootstrapping: aging and the facilitation of verbal memory by spatial displays.

Calia, C., Darling, S., Allen, R. & Havelka, J. 2015 In : Archives of Scientific Psychology.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Short-Term Memory
Spatial Memory

The cumulative semantic interference effect in normal and pathological ageing.

Mulatti, C., Calia, C., DeCaro, M. & Della Sala, S. Dec 2014 In : Neuropsychologia. 65, p. 125-130

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Activities 2013 2017

  • 7 Invited talk