Parnian Rafei

Parnian completed her BA and MSc degrees in Clinical Psychology at the University of Tehran, Iran.  During her time as a master’s student, her research focused on the neural underpinnings of addictive behaviours – more specifically investigating the impacts of psychoactive substances such as cannabis on future-oriented domains of human cognition (such as episodic future thinking and prospective memory). Her thesis used fMRI to examine the neural correlates of episodic future thinking in chronic cannabis users and the results are published in the Psychopharmacology journal. Parnian is also keen on cue-based cognitive intervention paradigms in substance use research and published an opinion paper about their team’s recently developed paradigm titled “Cue-induced Retrieval and Reconsolidation with Episodic Foresight” (CIREF). Before starting her PhD, she worked as a graduate research assistant at the Iranian National Center for Addiction Studies (INCAS), a registered WHO collaborating centre.

She started her PhD at the Gillan lab in September 2022, zooming out from the addiction neuroscience research, aiming to explore a wider area – neurocognitive aspects of habitual behaviours, with a focus on the role of future-oriented cognition, using neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques, as well as gamified digital health apps. Her PhD research is supported by the Ussher fellowship and a European Research Council grant (ERC-HABIT), aiming to break the most rigid of habits!

She has also been serving as the executive secretary and research assistant for the Neuroscience Interest Group of the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM-NIG) since January 2020. She was the member secretary of the ISAM-NExT committee (2020 – 2022) and the communication officer of the ISAM Global Experts Network (ISAM-GEN).

Contact email address:

Publications and preprints:

  1. Verdejo-Garcia, A., Rezapour, T., Giddens, E., Zonoozi, A. K., Rafei, P., Berry, J., … & Ekhtiari, H. (2022). Cognitive training and remediation interventions for substance use disorders: A Delphi consensus study. medRxiv.
  1. Bhad, R., Achab, S., Rafei, P., Kathiresan, P., Ardabili, H. M., Butner, J. L., … & ISAM NExT Consortium. (2022). The scope and needs related to training, research, and mentorship among early-career addiction medicine professionals: an online global survey followed by expert group discussions. medRxiv.
  1. Ardabili, H. M., Akbari, A., Rafei, P., Butner, J., Khan, R., Khazaal, Y., … & Baldacchino, A. M. (2022). Tramadol, captagon and khat use in the Eastern Mediterranean Region: opening Pandora’s box. BJPsych International19(3), 58-62.
  1. Rafei, P., Rezapour, T., Batouli, S.A.H. et al. How do cannabis users mentally travel in time? Evidence from an fMRI study of episodic future thinking. Psychopharmacology 239, 1441–1457 (2022).
  1. Rafei, P., Rezapour, T., Bickel, W. K., & Ekhtiari, H. (2021). Imagining the Future to Reshape the Past: A Path to Combine Cue Extinction and Memory Reconsolidation With Episodic Foresight for Addiction Treatment. Frontiers in psychiatry12, 692645.
  1. Mehrabinejad, M. M., Rafei, P., Sanjari Moghaddam, H., Sinaeifar, Z., & Aarabi, M. H. (2021). Sex Differences are Reflected in Microstructural White Matter Alterations of Musical Sophistication: A Diffusion MRI Study. Frontiers in neuroscience15, 622053.
  1. Radfar, S. R., De Jong, C., Farhoudian, A., Ebrahimi, M., Rafei, P., Vahidi, M., Yunesian, M., Kouimtsidis, C., Arunogiri, S., Massah, O., Deylamizadeh, A., Brady, K. T., Busse, A., ISAM-PPIG Global Survey Consortium, Potenza, M. N., Ekhtiari, H., & Baldacchino, A. M. (2021). Reorganization of Substance Use Treatment and Harm Reduction Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Global Survey. Frontiers in psychiatry12, 639393.
  1. Farhoudian, A., Radfar, S. R., Mohaddes Ardabili, H., Rafei, P., Ebrahimi, M., Khojasteh Zonoozi, A., De Jong, C., Vahidi, M., Yunesian, M., Kouimtsidis, C., Arunogiri, S., Hansen, H., Brady, K. T., ISAM Global Survey Consortium (ISAM-GSC), Potenza, M. N., Baldacchino, A. M., & Ekhtiari, H. (2021). A Global Survey on Changes in the Supply, Price, and Use of Illicit Drugs and Alcohol, and Related Complications During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in psychiatry12, 646206.
  1. Baldacchino, A., Radfar, S. R., De Jong, C., Rafei, P., Yunesian, M., Gerra, G., Brady, K., Ebrahimi, M., Vahidi, M., Khojasteh Zonoozi, A., Mohaddes Ardabili, H., Busse, A., Saenz, E., Campello, G., Niaz, K., Ekhtiari, H., & Farhoudian, A. (2020). COVID-19 and Substance Use Disorder: Study Protocol for the International Society of Addiction Medicine Practice and Policy Interest Group Global Survey. Basic and clinical neuroscience11(2), 155–162.
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