Research in our lab uses translational methodologies to better understand how differences in the brain impact motivational processes and visual attention and how this manifests in various brain disorders.


Research Interests

Broadly, Dr. Troiani is interested in how innate motivation or homeostatic drives change activity in the brain and subsequently alter attention and perception. Her research aims to understand the behavioral and genetic contributions to atypical motivational circuitry in the brain and how this contributes to psychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Troiani studies the structure and function of brain regions involved in motivated attention, including reward-processing structures like the amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and orbitofrontal cortex. Her scientific worldview is inherently multidisciplinary, as she is interested in how atypical motivation can manifest in multiple disorders, from autism to obesity to addiction. Dr. Troiani uses a variety of techniques in this work, including psychophysics, eye tracking, structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging, electronic health record analysis, and genomics.

Highlighted Research

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Eye Tracking and Pupillometry


Genetics and Addiction


Brain Structure & Function

Recent News

Dr. Troiani recognized by Geisinger in honor of Women's History Month

March 30, 2020

In honor of Women's History Month, Geisinger recognized 31 women throughout March who exemplify Abigail Geisinger's spirit of vision, leadership and strength. Learn more about how Vanessa Troiani, PhD was among those honored by clicking the link below.


Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute 

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