We would like to wholeheartedly thank the acting program leaders Peter Vandertop and Judy Luigjes for their significant contribution and engagement within Amsterdam Neuroscience. Vandertop co-founded the Neurovascular Disorder program in 2015-2016, with Yvo Roos and has been instrumental in further building the link between neurosurgery and neurology in stroke patients and beyond ever since. Judy Luigjes joined Amsterdam Neuroscience a few months later and has been very supportive of setting up the dialogue between psychiatry teams on both sides of the Amstel.
Two new faces
We proudly welcome Dagmar Verbaan as new program leader for Neurovascular Disorders research program. As an associate professor in evidence-based neurosurgery Verbaan focuses mainly on neurovascular disorders, being a perfect fit with the other program leader and medical specialist Jonathan Coutinho. In addition, Dirk Smit joins the Compulsivity, Impulsivity & Attention research program together with experienced program leader Odile van den Heuvel. Smit’s research focuses on the in intersection of two major scientific fields, neuroscience and genetics.
Originally trained as a physical therapist and human movement scientist with a PhD based on a longitudinal cohort study evaluating non-motor symptoms in patients with Parkinson’s disease at the Neurology Department of the LUMC. After being trained in clinical epidemiology Verbaan moved to the Department of Neurosurgery of location AMC in 2011. Her current position is principal investigator and associate professor in evidence-based neurosurgery, with the main focus on neurovascular disorders such as subarachnoid hemorrhage. Since subarachnoid hemorrhage is rare, research in this field is almost impossible without good collaboration both with other departments as well as with other hospitals. Investigator initiated trials are important within this research line, and the results of a large national multicenter trial (ULTRA, www.ultrastudie.nl) in 24 hospitals including 955 patients has recently been published in The Lancet of January 2021.
Dirk Smit received training as a cognitive psychologist at the UvA. There he investigated brain activity during the visual processing of ambiguous figures, after which he did his PhD in the genetics of electrophysiological brain activity at the Netherlands Twin Register of the VU Amsterdam. As a post doc, Smit did extensive teaching in the Master of Neuroscience and the psychology programs of the VU Amsterdam. In that period, he also established the ENIGMA-EEG working group of the ENIGMA consortium, which combines data from across the world to elucidate the genetic variants influencing brain activity. In 2015, he moved to the Psychiatry department of the Amsterdam UMC, location AMC, continuing the work on the genetics of brain activity. And expanding to the genetics of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) via the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium, leading the obsessive-compulsive symptom and hoarding symptom working groups. His second major focus at the Amsterdam UMC is the effect that Deep Brain Stimulation has on the brain network in OCD and anorexia patients.