Lorena Fernandez De La Cruz
I completed my PhD in psychiatry and clinical psychology and defended my thesis with honors in 2013 at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In my dissertation, I explored the clinical heterogeneity of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in children and adolescents. For four years, I worked at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King's College London. During my last year at the IoP, I completed a one-year postdoc in the Mood & Development Laboratory at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I moved to Stockholm in 2014 for a second postdoc at the Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Across the Lifespan research group at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience (CNS), led by Professor David Mataix-Cols, where I started working with psychiatric epidemiology designs. From 2016 to 2019 I was an Assistant Professor (Forskarassistent) in this group and, since 2020, I am a Senior Researcher. I qualified as Docent in Psychology in 2021.
I have been part of the Junior Faculty Steering Group at the Karolinska Institutet since 2018, where I have previously coordinated the Career Focus Group (2020-2021). Since September 2018, I am the Equal Treatment Representative (Ombud för Lika Villkor) at CNS. I am also the Dissemination and Outreach Coordinator for BUP Forsknings och Utvecklingscentrum (BUP FoU) at the Stockholm Mental Health Services (SLSO), Region Stockholm.
I am the team leader of the “Health consequences and lifestyle modification group”, within the larger Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders Across the Lifespan research group. My group aims to study health outcomes, life expectancy, and causes of mortality – including suicide – in OCD and related conditions, such as tic disorders and anxiety disorders. We also study societal outcomes (e.g., educational attainment, labour market participation) in these disorders. We mainly use epidemiological methods in order to respond to our research questions.
Building upon the results from our epidemiological research on the association between OCD and health-related disorders, we are currently developing and testing a lifestyle intervention to reduce cardiometabolic risk in individuals with OCD.
I am also interested in the development of evidence-based treatments for the OCD-related conditions (including body dysmorphic disorder and hoarding disorder) and tic disorders.
I am a frequent lecturer on OCD and related disorders, as well as methodological aspects of clinical research, for undergraduate (psychology and medical programs), MSc, and PhD students at Karolinska Institutet and for psychologists and psychiatrists within the Stockholm healthcare services.
Previous students that have already completed their doctoral studies under my supervision include Alba Vilaplana Pérez (2021), Laura Sevilla Cermeño (2021), and Tianyang Zhang (2022), for whom I was the main supervisor, and Per Andrén (2022), for whom I was a co-supervisor.
PhD in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology, European Doctorate (cum laude), 2013
Facultat de Medicina, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Specialist in Clinical Psychology (3-year training programme), 2010
Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa
MSc in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology in Children and Adolescents, 2006
Hospital Clínic de Barcelona / Universitat de Barcelona
BSc in Psychology (graduated with honours), 2004
Facultat de Psicologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Academic honours, awards and prizes
My research has received funding from the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), Region Stockholm (ALF project grants), Svenska Läkaresällskapets, Åke Wibergs stiftelse, Hjärt-Lungfonden, Tourettes Action, the International OCD Foundation, and Karolinska Institutet.
Associate Editor for the Journal of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders (Elsevier)
Editorial Advisory Board for JCPP Advances (Wiley)
Advanced Training Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology awarded by the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation, 2010-2012
Short-Term Visiting Fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology awarded by the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation, 2013
Josep Toro Award to the best paper of the year awarded by the Catalan Society of Research and Behavior Therapy (SCRITC), 2014
PhD Special Prize, awarded by the School for Doctoral Studies, Autonomous University of Barcelona, 2015
Postdoctoral Stipendium awarded by the David and Astrid Hagelén Foundation, 2015-2016
Professor Mary Robertson Award for Research Contribution endowed by Professor Robertson, Life President of the European Society for the Study of Tourette Syndrome (ESTSS), 2017
Comissions of trust
Member of the Steering Group of the Junior Faculty at Karolinska Institutet (2018 – present); coordinator of the Career Focus Group (2020 – 2021)
Equal Treatment Representative at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet (2018 – present)
Member of the Collaborative Department Council, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet (2018 – present)
Member of the Work Environment Work Group at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet (2018 – present)