María Rodríguez García (M. Rodriguez-Ayllon for Citations/databases) studied Sports Sciences at the University of Granada. In 2020, she obtained her Ph.D. in Biomedicine at the same University. During her Ph.D., María explored the role of physical activity in the brain health of children with overweight or obesity. Specifically, she observed more active children have better white matter development. Additionally, she carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis and concluded that higher levels of physical activity were associated with better mental health in young people. In this study, she also observed that there is a lack of research focused on understanding the mechanisms linking physical activity with mental health at those ages. This new knowledge could guide future research to intervene more effectively and design more specific physical activity interventions targeting mental health in youths. With this purpose and thanks to the grant for short-stays of the Alicia Koplowitz Foundation, María will explore the neurobiological, psychosocial, and behavioral mechanisms linking physical activity with mental health during childhood and adolescence. In particular, she will carry out her research in the Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam (the Netherlands).
María Rodríguez García