She is the person who got the admission system for Medicine Studies changed from a lottery to a decentralised selection. By now Meike Vernooij is a radiologist and professor, and her goal is to unravel the mysteries of the brain. Dementia is one of the diseases she researches.
What draws you to the brain?
"What fascinates me is its complexity. A good example: I was working on my dissertation, we had one of those quote posters on the door: 'If the brain would be so simple we could understand it, we would be too simple to understand it.' The brain’s complexity is a huge challange. What I like is the incredibly functional set-up of the brain. If something goes wrong, you can predict pretty accurately where in the brain that’s coming from. There’s a few simple rules: if your right arm is playing up, that’s your left brain, and probably from a specific area. On top of that there’s another layer of far more complex functions – cognitive ones, memory, executive functions. Those are less tangible, not as easy to pin-point in the brain. Which makes it all the more interesting to try and understand. Why is the one person more likely to experience a loss of brain function than the other?"