Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Research Associate



+44 (0)20 3313 8033v.burmester




7N11cCommonwealth BuildingHammersmith Campus





I am researching social behaviour in eating disorders.  Recently, I led a study demonstrating that women with bulimia nervosa have a negative interpretation bias towards ambiguous social stimuli and a greater sensitivity to perceived social rejection than women without bulimia nervosa. I am also writing a narrative review on the role of negative social interactions in eating disorders in conjunction with Dr Dasha Nicholls.

As part of Dr Martina di Simplicio's Imagine study, I am researching the reward mechanisms underlying binging and purging in young people. We are investigating attentional biases to food and shape stimuli using the dot-probe paradigm, together with the rewarding effects of food images in relation to social and financial stimuli using the incentive delay task. 

Together with Psychiatry's Child and Adolescent Resarch Group lead, Dr Dasha Nicholls, I am researching the effects of the lockdown quarantine on eating behaviours of children and adolescents in the UK and Spain. In addition, we are compiling a systematic review of eating behaviour in young people globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am also part of the MeCare research project led by Dr Dasha Nicholls set up to assess the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHS workers.  I am also part of Dr Nicholls and Professor Aldo Faisal's team set up to pilot a pioneering mobile appfor mental health in adolescents and young people.

I am researching the effects of oxytocin on eating, eating behaviours and anxiety.  I have demonstrated the anxiolytic effects of oxytocin on food intake in both sexes, and the dampening attentional influence of oxytocin on vigilance to food stimuli.  I have reviewed the role of oxytocin gene polymorphisms and eating disorders and am leading a project to investigate the effects of intranasal oxytocin on social anxiety in young people.




Burmester V, Graham E, Nicholls D, 2021, Physiological, emotional and neural responses to visual stimuli in eating disorders: a review, Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol:9, ISSN:2050-2974

Burmester V, Gibson EL, Butler G, et al., 2019, Oxytocin reduces post-stress sweet snack intake in women without attenuating salivary cortisol, Physiology & Behavior, Vol:212, ISSN:0031-9384

Burmester V, Higgs S, Terry P, 2018, Rapid-onset anorectic effects of intranasal oxytocin in young men, Appetite, Vol:130, ISSN:0195-6663, Pages:104-109

Burmester V, Terry P, 2018, Intranasal oxytocin reduces hedonic eating in satiated males, Appetite, Vol:123, ISSN:0195-6663, Pages:456-456

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