Berna is professor in Neuroscience of Social Relations and she investigates social, emotional, and cognitive development from a neuroscience perspective. Her research focuses on the role of social contexts and relationships on behavior, brain function and structure, and their development, with a particular focus on peer relationships across adolescence. Current projects focus on the underlying neural basis of learning in the peer context (Study Buddy), and the effects of bullying on brain development and effectivity of anti-bullying programs (SCARS).
Since 2018 Berna is the chair of the Dutch Society for Developmental Psychology (VNOP). Currently she is also a general project leader of NeuroLabNL financed by the Start Impulse grant based on the Dutch National Research Agenda.
Since September 2020, Berna is the department chair of the Developmental and Educational Psychology department at Leiden