Published 17 May 2023 by Marianna Kapsetaki

Young Scientists at #LINO23: Marianna Kapsetaki – Bridging Science and Art

Marianna as keynote speaker at the Fifteen Seconds Festival, Graz, 2022. All photos/credits: in courtesy of Marianna Kapsetaki

Marianna Kapsetaki will attend the 72nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in June. And hopefully collect valuable memories at Lake Constance, a place she has not visited yet – though touring globally as a classic pianist and scientific speaker. In regard of her research, memorability is one of her main subjects. Learn more about the #LINO23 Young Scientist who connects sciences with arts.

There wasn’t a precise moment in my life when I decided to become a scientist. My passion developed gradually through my school years where I had a steady interest in science subjects particularly biology and mathematics. During my childhood and teenage years, I was also involved in other fields apart from science, such as music and sports. Gradually I narrowed down my focus to piano and neuroscience. From my first year at medical school I was fascinated by the function of the brain. I used to read many popular science books on neuroscience, e.g. books by Oliver Sacks which always ignited a passion in me to learn more and which inspired me to pursue this field.

Later, I have focused my research and clinical studies on the brain. I decided to be a scientist because I like discovering new things and my aim is to reach the top in my field and to contribute to improvements in society.


There is a gradient in which the more an image resembles a real human face the more memorable it is
There is a gradient in which the more an image resembles a real human face the more memorable it is

Currently, I am working on multiple projects related to memorability, diversity, neuroimaging, and cognition post COVID-19. My main project is related to memorability. I am happy and blessed to be supervising very bright students and collaborating with experts from around the world on these projects.

The main findings from my research projects on memorability so far have shown that human faces are more memorable than buildings and that the more an image looks like a real human face the more memorable it is.

This was discovered by analysing approximately 60,000 images. The study has now been published, and six more of my studies about memorability will probably follow soon.

Study on Eating Disorders in Musicians

I am always happy if I can connect my work as a scientist with my life as a classic pianist. I was fortunate to be able to do this, and conduct studies on eating disorders as part of my MSc in Performing Arts Medicine at University College London.

One study was a systematic literature review examining eating disorders in all performing artists apart from dancers. Through this review I noticed that although there have been many studies on eating disorders in dancers, very few studies have been conducted on eating disorders in other performing artists. Thus, I decided to conduct a study on eating disorders in musicians. 

Keynote Speaker at Fifteen Seconds Festival Istanbul
Marianna on stage during her keynote speech at Fifteen Seconds Festival Istanbul

I created an online survey which I distributed worldwide. About 300 musicians completed the survey. The important findings were that one third of the musicians stated that they had suffered from an eating disorder at sometime in their life.

The level of depression, anxiety, and stress in these musicians (the 300 musicians as a group) was severe.

The worse the scores were in social isolation, peer pressure, stress, anxiety, depression, and perfectionism, the worse the score was in the eating disorders examination questionnaire (EDE-Q). Although the correlation that was found does not necessarily mean causation, it is possible that the presence of these risk factors in musicians may increase their chance of developing an eating disorder.

Foster New Collaborations in Lindau

Marianna Kapsetaki, winner of the Peoples Choice Award for Best Poster.
Marianna Kapsetaki won the Peoples Choice Award for Best Poster at the Meeting of the Minds Neuroscience Conference 2019. Photo/Credit: Umanah Tarvala Photography

I’m very honoured to have been chosen to attend the Lindau Meeting 2023 and for being awarded the Klaus Mangold Fellowship. I’m very excited about it!

And I look forward to meeting many Young Scientists from all around the world, talking to many Nobel Laureates and attending all the sessions. I have not visited Lindau before so I’m also hoping to explore the area of Lindau as well as visit interesting places in the nearby region. I expect to learn a great deal from the discussions and talks, and I hope that the whole experience will inspire and foster new collaborations for me in the future.

Marianna Kapsetaki

Besides her career as classical pianist, Marianna Kapsetaki pursued a career as a medical doctor and scientist with positions at the University of Crete, University College London and Imperial College London. Apart from clinical training, she aims to continue conducting research projects in order to become an academic neurosurgeon specialised in functional neurosurgery.