I am an Associate Research Scientist at Disney Research, Pittsburgh. Before that, I was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University at the Social Robotics Lab working with Brian Scassellati in the NSF Expedition on Socially Assistive Robotics.
I received my PhD in 2013 from IST, University of Lisbon, advised by Carlos Martinho and Ana Paiva. During my PhD, I was a Research Associate at GAIPS in the EU-funded projects LIREC (Living with Robots and Interactive Companions) and EMOTE (EMbOdied-perceptive Tutors for Empathy-based learning).
I build personalized adaptive systems that enable robots to interact naturally and efficiently with users over weeks and months. I take inspiration from human theories of emotion and social relations to develop computational models that support the complex dynamics of social interactions between users and robots. These models rely on novel computational algorithms and machine learning techniques that allow robots to adapt their behavior to the particular context, user needs and preferences over time.
The long-term goal of my research is to develop autonomous characters that can capture, learn from and respond appropriately to the subtle dynamics that characterize real-world situations, allowing for truly efficient and engaging long-term interactions.