January, 1, 2020, Martijn van den Heuvel - neuroscientist at the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) and affiliated with Amsterdam Neuroscience - will be appointed as professor in the University Research Chair (URC) program.

With his scientific work at the Complex Trait Genetics program of Amsterdam Neuroscience Van den Heuvel bridges the field of neuroscience, imaging genetics and translational medicine. We congratulate him with this appointment.

URC program

With the URC program the VU Amsterdam recognizes outstanding scientists who are considered to be future leaders in their field of interest. Only with a nomination by the dean of the faculty and a great potential of rapid development a candidate has a chance of receiving the title. Since the start of the URC program in 2013 around twenty excellent young VU scientists have received the title of URC professor. Among others, professors Meike Bartels and Danielle Posthuma preceded Van den Heuvel with this URC appointment.

One of the pioneers in the field of ‘connectomics’

With his highly passionate and driven personality Van den Heuvel can be seen as one of the pioneers in the field of ‘connectomics’, the arena that studies the human brain from a network perspective. At the CNCR he is team leader of the connectomics research team and focusses on linking brain disconnectivity effects in diseases to changes in cell biology and genetics. With a track record of more than 150 publications and an h-index of at least 51 he can be taken seriously. In addition to this, Van den Heuvel is often described as an entertaining speaker and teacher with a big smile and good communication skills. He coordinated parts of the cognitive neuroscience track at his previous university (University of Utrecht) and he is currently also involved in neuroscience courses for bachelor students at the VU and the Master of Neuroscience program of Amsterdam Neuroscience.

Martijn van den Heuvel: It is a great honor to be appointed as URC professor! With our research we want to build the most detailed network of the human connectome possible. This ‘googlemaps of the human brain’ will greatly help us to investigate the relationship between how our brain is wired and the rich spectrum of cognitive behavior and function we display.

Network neuroscience

Network neuroscience of the human brain is a rapidly evolving field anticipated to yield many novel discoveries in brain functioning and its relationship to mental brain disorders. This URC appointment of Van den Heuvel will highly strengthen his position as a key player in the field of network neuroscience. With his background in artificial intelligence and interest in genetics and neurobiology Van den Heuvel becomes one of the multidisciplinary neuroscientists at the VU.

Brain in hand