Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Ruth de Diego-Balaguer

Universitat de Barcelona

Social & Behavioural Sciences

After a Degree in Psychology I specialised at the University of Barcelona (UB) in Psycholinguistics and Cognitive Neuroscience during my PhD. I spent three years as a post-doc at the INSERM in Paris (Université Paris Est, Créteil, UPEC) where I studied the involvement of the striatum in the learning of new rules in language. I was a Research-Lecturer at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris before I created my lab at the UB back in Barcelona as an ICREA Junior Researcher. After that I became an ICREA Research Professor and consolidated my group at the UB. My research is mainly focused on the cognitive functions and neural circuits engaged in the extraction of grammatical rules while learning a new language.

Research interests

My research combines information from brain-damaged patients, developmental populations and brain-imaging in healthy individuals to understand whether words and rules of language require different neural and cognitive mechanisms to be acquired since the earliest stages of contact with a new language. I am particularly interested in i) the role of the attentional systems in the acquisition of different aspects of language; ii) the role of the striatum as a brain structure that could make the interface between language and other cognitive functions necessary in the learning process; and iii) how is the acquired information consolidated and modified when we learn new additional information.

Selected publications

– Assaneo F*, Ripollés P*, Orpella J*, Ming Lin W, de Diego-Balaguer R+, Poeppel D+ 2019, ‘Spontaneous synchronization to speech reveals neural mechanisms facilitating language learning‘, Nat Neurosci 22, 4, 627. *equally contributed/+shared seniorship.

– Assaneo FM, Rimmele JM, Orpella J, Ripolles P, de Diego-Balaguer R & Poeppel D 2019, ‘The lateralization of speech-brain coupling is differentially modulated by intrinsic auditory and top-down mechanisms’, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 13:28.

– Garcia-Gorro C, Llera A, Martinez-Horta S, Perez-Perez J, Kulisevsky J, Rodriguez-Dechicha N, Vaquer I, Subira S, Calopa M, Munoz E, Santacruz P, Ruiz-Idiago J, Mareca C, Beckmann CF, de Diego-Balaguer R & Camara E 2019, ‘Specific patterns of brain alterations underlie distinct clinical profiles in Huntington’s disease’, Neuroimage-clini 23, UNSP 101900.

– De Paepe AE, Sierpowska J, Garcia-Gorro C, Martinez-Horta S, Pérez J,  Kulisevsky J, Rodriguez-Dechicha N, Vaquer N, Subira S, Calopa M, Muñoz E, Santacruz P, Ruiz-Idiago J, Mareca C, de Diego-Balaguer R & Camara E 2019, ‘White matter cortico-striatal tracts predict apathy subtypes in Huntington’s disease’, Neuroimage-Clin 24:101965.

– García-Gorro C, Garau-Rolandi M, Escrichs A, Rodriguez-Dechichá N, Vaquer I, Subirà S, Calopa M, Martinez-Horta S, Pérez-Pérez J, Kulisevsky J, Muñoz E, Ruiz-Idalgo J, Mareca C, de Diego-Balaguer R & Camara E 2019, ‘An active cognitive lifestyle as a potential neuroprotective factor in Huntington’s Disease‘. Neuropsychologia 122, 116-124

Selected research activities

  • Adhoc reviewer for ERC Advanced Grants SH4
  • Invited to Elife and PLoS One Editorial Boards


  • 2 PhD Thesis: J. Orpella, C. García-Gorro
  • 2 PhD Thesis committees: I. Torres (UPF), C. Sanches (Sorbonne Université, Paris)

Invited Talk

  • Prediction Brain Workshop, Aix-Marseille Université, France

Outreach activities

  • International Day of Women and Girls in Science: Round Table (Institute of Neuroscience UB)
  • sLHam talks (IDIBELL and CMRB)