Gianna joined GCU in 2003 to complete a PhD, having gained an MA Honours in Psychology and Music at The University of Glasgow. Her PhD, supervised by Professor Raymond MacDonald and examined by Professor David Hargreaves, focused on the impact of music on videogame performance and experience. In 2007 Gianna became a lecturer in the School of Engineering and Computing, and her teaching focuses on User Psychology, Usability and Research Methods in contexts of digital design and evaluation.
Gianna’s research interests centre around Applied Digital Technologies i.e., the application the tools and techniques of Computer Games, apps and related Emerging Technologies (e.g.,virtual and augmented reality) to engage users with serious contexts such as humanitarian challenges, supporting health and wellbeing, raising awareness of contemporary social issues, and training people in applied contexts. Gianna's research focus includes musical identities and the impact of musical engagement on social, emotional and cognitive parameters of wellbeing in digital interventions and activities for wellbeing.
Funded areas of work to date include dementia, rehabilitation, healthy-aging, under-activity, learning and teaching. Gianna's awarded grants and prizes include, the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music; Young Researcher Award, Young UK and Ireland Thinker of the Year: The Dunblane Medal, GameChanger, Universities of Scotland; Nesta and the Department of Health, Edinburgh and Lothian Health Foundation, the EPSRC First Grant, and network grants from The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland and AHRC.