Focus of research
My overall research objective is to investigate the neurobiological background of stress resilience and vulnerability including (epi)genetic, neuroendocrine, and brain circuitry factors. I have obtained degrees in Pharmacy, Medicine and Law. My preclinical research during my PhD training concerned the genetic and molecular basis of stress reactivity using pharmacological, genetic and molecular techniques. With over 15 peer-reviewed publications and several international collaborations, this led to a cum laude PhD thesis in 2009. During my study of Pharmacy, subsequent PhD training, and my study of Medicine, I saw a great unmet need for effective treatment options in psychiatric patients which convinced me to start my psychiatry residencies. In daily practice, I diagnose and treat patients with psychiatric disorders (including depression, psychosis, and bipolar disorder) which directly links my fundamental research activities to a clinical setting.
It is my drive is to look for solutions in both fundamental preclinical and applied clinical research and promote the exchange of ideas between those two research approaches. My research has contributed how (traumatic) stress increases the risk for psychiatric disorders and helped to identify who is (not) at risk. I am currently leading epidemiological and experimental studies examining both genetic and neuroimaging parameters, to furtherdisentangle and integrate the biological and psychological determinants of stress resilience.