Photo by Altofilms Ltd.
As I strive to give people some food for thought, I like to share my knowledge and experiences with others. In academic research, we do this by writing papers and publishing these in peer reviewed journals. But for me, sharing my work does not stop there. I believe that creating value from knowledge by making this knowledge available to society in a way that it can be understood and used to its advantage should be part of anyone working in fields where valuable knowledge is gained. I like to see myself as a translator; translating the scientific language of my field into common, understandable words. I study people, so why wouldn't I talk to them about how to do that, which questions are important, and what we're learning?!
Needless to say that I am very passionate about my work, and like sharing thoughts about it. I like to talk, and sometimes can't stop doing so. Whether that is about the content of my papers, my experiences as a (PhD) student, postdoc, or early career researcher, the developments of cognitive psychology and neuroscience, the moral standards or ethical conduct of research, or anything else I can give an educated thought on. In scientific research, we may be speaking a different language sometimes, but we're humans after all. And as much as we try to be objective, even scientists have emotions, beliefs, preferences, habits, honour, friends and enemies, motivation (or lack thereof sometimes), and hopes and dreams; we are subjects, too.
I was born on August 4th, 1991 in Gouda, the Netherlands. In 2009, I obtained my pre-university level high school diploma from the St.-Antoniuscollege in Gouda. From 2009 to 2012, I studied Psychology at Leiden University. During my bachelor, I worked as a voluntary research assistant for several projects, including research on the effect of tryptophan on interpersonal trust and the imaging of dopaminergic nuclei. I received my bachelor’s degree in 2012 and continued to pursue a master's degree.
After an internship on the effect of cocaine on creativity and emotional processing at Maastricht University under the supervision of Prof. dr. Jan Ramaekers, I received my master of science in Cognitive Neuroscience (research) in June 2014 (cum laude/with honors). During these 2 years, I also worked as a research assistant investigating the effect of bilingual education on cognitive flexibility.
From July 2014 to June 2016, I worked as a PhD student at Leiden University under the supervision of Prof. dr. Lorenza Colzato and Dr. Roberta Sellaro on the topic of Cognitive Enhancement. As part of my doctoral research, I spent one month in the Actionlab led Prof. dr. Christian Beste at the Technical University of Dresden. On the 16th of June 2016, I succesfully defended my PhD thesis (for which I received the runner-up dissertation prize of the Dutch Psychonomics Society in 2017) and received my doctorate.
From June 2016 to June 2017, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Cognitive Psychology Unit of Leiden University. From June 2017 to June 2018, supported by an Amsterdam Brain and Cognition talent grant, I set up research at the University of Amsterdam and the Academic Medical Centre to further investigate gut-brain interactions and how these affect cognition and well-being. From May to August 2018, I visited the Emotions and Quantitative Psychophysiology lab led by Prof. dr. Julian Thayer at the Ohio State University (USA). After that, supported by an NWO Veni grant, I moved back to Leiden University to investigate how gut bacteria and the vagal nerve relate to affective processes, cognitive control, and mental health. In January and February 2019, I visited the Oxford Centre for Emotion and Affective Neuroscience (OCEAN) lab led by Prof. dr. Elaine Fox.
Since then, I was mostly engaged with a battle for scientific integrity; a process that forced me to pull back from (active) research for a while as I could not unify the authentic scientist within me with the scientist I had come to believe I needed to be given my surroundings. But here I am, slowly coming back again.