About me

I was born in Brazil in 1982 and my parents named me Vitória Magalhães Piai. Since part of the Western world doesn't like double last names, I dropped the most complicated of them, but I'm still proud of my Portuguese heritage, dating centuries back (I guess, to tell from the name) to the great explorer Fernão de Magalhães. For the rest, my genetic heritage is 80% Italian.

I grew up in the metropolis of São Paulo. I studied at Colégio Jesus Maria José, in São Paulo. From 1992 to 2000, I also studied Early music and early woodwind instruments. In 2000, I was admitted to the university to study music, but also to USP, University of São Paulo. I decided to go for the latter, although I still play. In that year, I studied Portuguese language, Portuguese literature, classical literature, and linguistics. It was love on the first lecture with the latter.

In January 2001, I went on a student exchange programme to Belgium. There I lived in Nandrin and in Amay. At the end of that year, I moved to the Netherlands.

After a long period of treatment for cancer, in 2004, I finally got to go back to the university, this time in Utrecht. I earned two BA degrees, one in Linguistics and one in Portuguese Language and Culture in 2007. Then I moved on to Radboud University Nijmegen to follow the Research Master in Cognitive Neuroscience, which I completed in 2009.

In September 2009, I started my PhD at the same university, working on lexical selection in spoken word production, with Ardi Roelofs and Herbert Schriefers. I obtained my PhD degree in March, 2014 from the Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Graduate School for Cognitive Neuroscience, and International Max Planck Research School.

In April 2014 I moved to California to work at UC Berkeley with Bob Knight and Nina Dronkers after obtaining a Rubicon from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). I worked on brain organisation in relation to language and memory, in particular, how long-term (semantic) memory affects our use of language. For this research, I worked with electrophysiology (EEG, MEG, intracranial EEG) in three patient populations: stroke, brain tunour, and epilepsy.

In June 2016, I started a tenure-track position at the Radboud University and Radboud University Medical Centre, funded by the Language in Interaction consortium. I am setting up my own research programme focused on language function and dysfunction.

I live with my husband, Kristoffer Dahlslätt, who is a constant inspiration in my life and in my work.