The following is excerpted from the letter Dr. Rebecca Todd wrote in support of Dr. Palombo’s nomination for the Vincent Di Lollo Early Career Award.

Dr. Palombo received her PhD from University of Toronto in 2013, where she worked with Brian Levine at the Rotman Research Institute. After completing postdoctoral research with Dr. Mieke Verfaellie at the Boston University Memory Disorders Centre, she took up a position as a tenure-stream Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia in 2018. Dr. Palombo is an exceptional researcher whose contributions have made an enormous contribution to her field of memory research.

Dr. Palombo has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to research excellence throughout her career, which has resulted an exceptional number of well-cited papers published in top-tier journals, yielding an impressive H-index of 27. She published 12 peer reviewed papers in 2022 alone, and has now published a total of over 57 peer reviewed papers, 24 as first author, and 11 as senior author with trainees as lead authors. These have appeared in an array of journals that includes Psychological Science, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, Cognition, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuropsychologia, Hippocampus, Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psych Science and many more. Since starting her own lab she has been the recipient of seven major grants as principal investigator, and five more as coinvestigator. As a result of her exceptional contributions she was named an APA rising star in 2018.

Dr. Palombo is internationally respected for her pioneering research program that spans autobiographical memory, imagination, and decision-making, using a variety of sophisticated research methodologies. She is an expert on memory in general but her research focuses on autobiographical memory – the form of memory that constitutes our sense of who we are. Her empirical and theoretical work has contributed hugely to our understanding of emotion in autobiographical memory, both in healthy adults as well as in various clinical and neurodiverse populations. Spurred by the challenges posed by her subject matter, Dr. Palombo has developed novel approaches using an impressive combination of cognitive, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging methods. She has developed paradigms using virtual reality and other naturalistic stimuli to optimize ecological validity. She has evolved rigorous, state-of-the-field brain imaging approaches in a rapidly evolving field. She also maintains the highest standards of open, replicable science, using preregistration, data transparency, large samples, and in-house replications. Beyond her impressive empirical contributions, Dr. Palombo has also made substantial theoretical contributions to the field. One of these has focused on role of the hippocampus-centred episodic memory system in decision-making. She has proposed that this system is especially critical whenever choices involve novel experiences for which there is no direct prior experience in memory to lean on.

In addition to her scholarly achievements, Dr. Palombo has shown a superlative commitment to mentoring and teaching the next generation of researchers. She has supervised several graduate students and numerous undergraduates, providing them with invaluable guidance and support as they pursue their own research projects. Her leadership activities are numerous, but notably she has created, organized, and helped teach a week-long fMRI boot camp at UBC, which is now going into its second year. This boot camp has served to bring together a dispersed neuroimaging community and provide strong methodological grounding for graduate students across departments and faculties at UBC.

Dr. Palombo's outstanding contributions to research, her generosity and dedication to excellence, and her commitment to mentoring make her an outstanding recipient of the Vincent Di Lollo Early Career Award.