In the spotlight

LIBC researchers in the spotlight.

Meijer Onno 1 100x125Prof.dr. Onno Meijer has been appointed professor of internal medicine in the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). His mission is to research how our stress hormone system works and therefore examines the peaks and troughs of the hormone cortisol which supports us during adaptation to stress. Excessive fluctuations in cortisol level constitute a risk factor for metabolic and psychiatric diseases. Important is to gain insight in how (the effects of) these fluctuations can be reduced and whether drugs based on cortisol may be used clinically in these disease areas.


hommel 4 100x125Prof.dr. Bernhard Hommel has been awarded an Advanced Grant by the European Research Council (ERC). With this grant of 2.5 million euros the cognitive psychologist will conduct a five year research on metacontrol; a study on how we determine the impact of our goals on our actual behaviour. 
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dreu 100x125Professor of social psychology Carsten de Dreu has delivered his inaugural lecture at Leiden University. De Dreu will be heading LIBC social research in brain behaviour development processes.'I want to examine what our brain looks like when we are working together. I'm interested in that because cooperating with one another relies on very basic systems that we also use for other tasks, such as child rearing'; he declares. Read more
And professor Carsten was appointed Distinguished Research Fellow from Oxford in January 2016.


Thijs van Osch nieuwPhysicist Dr. Thijs van Osch has been awarded an NWO Vici Grant to develop a new MRI technique that measures the various regulatory systems of blood supply to the brain in one single go. The brain is dependent on a continuous supply of blood to obtain sufficient oxygen and nutrients. This blood supply is guaranteed by the interaction between different regulatory systems but old age and illness can deregulate the system. ‘We have been working for years to learn how to properly measure blood flow in the brain,’ Van Osch said to the LUMC news editor when he heard the news about his Vici grant. ‘We managed to do this and our techniques now form part and parcel of today’s generation of MRI software. The next step will be to map the entire physiology of the brain.’ Thijs van Osch is affiliated with the Radiology Department of LUMC and works in the C.J. Gorter center for high field MRI. Read more in Dutch


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Prof. dr. Eveline Crone has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for her research into the social brain development of adolescents. Crone surmises that adolescence also has a positive effect on social development. For example, it is in adolescence that young people learn the skills of cooperation, sharing and helpfulness. This new research project Grant, is a follow-up to a recently completed study funded with an ERC Starting Grant. In that study Crone followed young people for five years and charted their brain development. This individual approach has emerged as a more accurate way to predict which young people are particularly vulnerable. On 29 January 2016 at the Braintime Festival the documentary film BRAINTIME was released. The experienced documentary filmmaker Erik Heuvelink has made a film of young participants through the research period of five years. Link to watch this documentary


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Clinical psychologist Prof. dr. Bernet Elzinga has been awarded an NWO Vici Grant to investigate how daily maladaptive interactions between adolescents and their parents contribute to depressive symptoms in adolescents. Emotional maltreatment by primary caregivers, which is the most reported form of abuse, is a key risk factor for depression. However, little is known about how exactly maladaptive parent-child interactions shape the developing neural pathways of children and enhance their susceptibility to depression. Ultimately, this project aims to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment of adolescent depression, as currently only half of the depressed adolescents recover during the course of treatment. Developing family interventions will be part of the project. About one-half of first episodes of depression occur during adolescence, and 70-80% of depressed adolescents go on to experience one or more episodes of depression later in life. Read more 


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Prof. Jos Brosschot has been appointed professor of ‘psycho-physiological mechanisms of stress in daily life’. In his inaugural lecture, prof.dr. Jos Brosschot discussed how we can suffer stress without even being aware of it, while sleeping as well as during the day.