Dr H. J. (Henk-Jan) Boele
Erasmus MC, Department of Neuroscience
New brain connections
Our brain, and in a broader sense our nervous system, has a very strong adaptive capacity – known as neuroplasticity. Dr Henk-Jan Boele wants to research the biological processes that underlie neuroplasticity, by employing the latest techniques used to visualise neuronal growth. Knowledge gained about these processes is sorely needed for the treatment of diseases involving the degeneration of, or damage to, the nervous system.
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Lovely sex or sexy love?
Do adolescents do well sexually because they do well in their relationships? Or is it the other way around? Dr Daphne van de Bongardt investigates how adolescents’ positive and negative experiences with their peers, love and sex are interrelated. In addition, she investigates which factors are associated with positive or, conversely, risky developments in these fields, and how such developments relate to adolescents’ general well-being. She does so by interviewing young couples and asking them to keep diaries and perform interactive tasks with each other and with their best friends.
Dr M. P. (Miao-Ping) Chien
Erasmus MC, Department of Molecular Genetics
‘Optochemistry’ for single cell biology
The lab of Dr Miao-Ping Chien applies the power of single cell sequencing and analysis to cancer research. She focuses on the robust identification and accurate isolation of rare, heterogeneous and dynamically changing tumour-driving cancer cells. The tools she uses are developed by her own research group. They combine microscopy, image processing, genetic engineering, next-generation sequencing and photochemistry. With these novel methods and technologies, Dr Chien works on deciphering the underlying mechanisms of the formation of neoplastic cancer stem cells, tumorigenesis and DNA damage response.
Dr P. A. (Patrick) Forbes
Erasmus MC, Department of Neuroscience
Unravelling the brain’s internal sensory and motor models of standing
Standing is generally maintained automatically, without much thought. How are we able to do this? Theory suggests this automatic control of balance relies on internal models within the brain of both sensory and motor systems, used to predict and compensate for postural disturbances. Using novel robotics and sensory stimulation, Dr Patrick Forbes will uncouple these models by modifying properties of our sensors, body and environment. This research will reveal causal relationships between the neural computations and compensatory responses required to stand.
Dr J (Jolien) Rijlaarsdam
Erasmus MC, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry/Psychology
General psychopathology: greater than the sum of its parts? Environmental and epigenetic risk from prenatal life to adolescence
Dr Jolien Rijlaarsdam is examining dynamic epigenetic changes at sensitive developmental periods (birth-age 14). She aims to relate these changes to both environmental risk exposure (pre/postnatal) and general psychopathology (ages 6-14). Rijlaarsdam will make innovative use of a combination of interdisciplinary methods – including epigenome-wide analyses and longitudinal modelling – to capture stability and change from prenatal life to adolescence. The use of comparable epidemiological cohorts allows her to test the replicability of results, thereby increasing the reliability of the findings.
Erasmus School of Economics
Looking for signs of direction through semicovariances
Dr Rogier Quaedvlieg’s research is intended to increase our understanding of asymmetric linkages in financial markets. It has been well established that individual stock prices react more strongly to negative news than to positive news. It is less clear how multiple stocks jointly react to normal or conflicting news reports. Quaedvlieg’s research uses high-frequency stock returns to investigate the effect of joint positive, joint negative or contradictory news reports on future volatility. Early results demonstrate strong asymmetries, which have major implications for managing risk.
Dr D. R. (Dan) Schley
Rotterdam School of Management
Self-control without the self: the numerical aggregation system and overconsumption
Every day, people are confronted with challenges in the area of self-control. Self-control requires a high level of motivation from individuals. Dr Dan Schley is researching an important element of self-control that is not dependent on people’s personal motivation. Increased insight into the cognitive mechanisms that form the foundation of self-control allows us to develop tools that help people take more responsible decisions in the areas of personal finance, health and the environment.
Dr K. M. (Karen) Stegers-Jager
Erasmus MC, Institute of Medical Education Research
First impressions – fatal or first prize?
Lecturers performing assessments of students will form a first impression of these students within a split second. How does this first impression affect the final mark they give the students? Is this the reason why students from a non-Western background tend to receive lower marks? Dr Karen Stegers-Jager is investigating how quickly these first impressions are formed and how solid they are. She also seeks to determine whether it is helpful to structure assessments. In our multi-cultural society, a good understanding of the assessment process is crucial to fair assessments of all students.
Dr T. (Tianshi) Wang
Erasmus MC, Department of Biomedical Engineering
New imaging technique identifies the heart attack before it occurs
Most heart attacks and strokes are caused by unstable inflammations (atheromatous plaques) in the arterial wall. The detection and treatment of these plaques at an early stage can save a lot of lives. Dr Tianshi Wang is currently developing a new – laser-based – technique called ‘thermo-elastic deformation imaging’. This technique enables the early detection of atheromatous plaques.