Research interests

My research work is focused on ‘A healthy brain throughout lifespan’, with the subtopics brain development, cognition, mental health and brain aging.

A first and major theme of my work focuses on Early life origins of brain aging and dementia. In 2019 I received an Aspasia fellowship dedicated to this theme. Two PhD students are currently working on this topic, one focusing on early life origins of dementia and the other focusing on early determinants of brain aging. For this project we perform systematic literature searches, collect new data in the Dutch famine birth cohort and use data from CBS and NIVEL. We  collaborate with many national and international investigators, amongst others as part of the EU project Longitools (funded in 2019) and with the group of dr. Aniko Korosi (funded by an Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Centre grant), with whom we aim to synthesize evidence from animal and human work on the early life origins of metabolic and mental health / dementia.

A second theme of my research is Antenatal mental health disorders and brain development of the offspring. I am working with the group of prof. Jeannette Milgrom from Australia where RCTs for treating depression in pregnancy are performed. Previous and future work of my group aims at stuyding neurobiological outcomes in offspring of mothers with antenatal depression (funded by a Brain&Behaviour Research grant).

A third theme centers on Early life stress, cognition and mental health. This work is mostly based on studies within the ABCD and HELIUS cohorts. A number of small projects in collaboration with AMC investigators Tanja Vrijkotte, Anja Lok, Mirjam van Zuiden and Jos Bosch are currently running under this theme. Also under this theme is the project Complexity of affective and addictive disorders among urban youth that is part of the UvA Urban Mental Health program.


Epidemiology; Early life stress; Mental health

Research output

  1. Prenatal famine exposure has sex-specific effects on brain size

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  2. Prenatal undernutrition and cognitive function in late adulthood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  3. Prenatal stress and models explaining risk for psychopathology revisited: Generic vulnerability and divergent pathways

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

  4. Determinants of cortisol during pregnancy - The ABCD cohort

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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