Research Excellence Initiatives


  • Michelle Habets (PhD)

    Michelle Habets works as a postdoctoral research associate on the project “Doctors and lawyers dealing with death and dying” at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam. Her background is in biology and philosophy; she finished her MA in biology (cum laude), for which she received the Unilever Research Prize. She completed her PhD (very good) in evolutionary biology in the Lab of Genetics at Wageningen University in 2008. From 2007 until 2011 she worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Liverpool in ecology and evolution, and subsequently studied “Healthcare Ethics and Law” at the University of Manchester in the UK. In 2016 she finished her PhD in medical ethics at the University Medical Center in Utrecht on the ethics of translational pluripotent stem cell research.  

  • Inssaf El Hammoud (M.A.)

    Inssaf holds a Master in health sciences from the Free University of Amsterdam (VU). Currently, she works as a Scientific Researcher at the Department of Public Health of the Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam.

    She participates in the third nationwide study on end-of-life decision-making practices in the Netherlands. In this study, she focuses on attitudes and experiences among the Dutch general public regarding medical decision making at the end of life. Furthermore, she investigates the experiences of physicians, who had reported euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, with the Euthanasia Review Committees. 

  • Programme Director prof. Agnes van der Heide

    Professor of medical care and decision making at the end of life, Department of Public Health of Erasmus MC

    Agnes van der Heide is professor of medical care and decision making at the end of life. She obtained her MD degree in 1990 at the Radboud University Medical Centre Nijmegen, and her PhD in 1994 at the University Medical Centre Utrecht examining different treatment strategies for early rheumatoid arthritis. She has published extensively on end-of-life decisions, the practice of continuous deep sedation, euthanasia, and palliative care, and the experiences of physicians as well as views of the public on decision making at the end of life. She has been the PI of much multidisciplinary empirical research project on a local, regional, national and international level. She is a member of several national and international research collaboratives and advisory committees in the field of palliative end-of-life care and decision making. She has been involved in the Dutch Advisory Committee on End-of-life decision making for people who are weary of life, which published its report at the beginning of 2016.

  • Programme Director Prof. Paul Mevis

    Department of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Erasmus School of Law

    Paul Mevis is a full professor of criminal law and criminal procedure law.  He has published widely on diverse issues such as sanctions, sanction systems and penitentiary law, ICT in the context of the criminal procedure, forensic mental health, euthanasia, and human rights. Paul Mevis combines his research and teaching at the Erasmus University Rotterdam with work in the field. From 1990 on, he has been an honorary judge in several Dutch courts of the first instance and in the appeal court in Amsterdam. He is a member of the Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Protection of Juveniles as well as the Advisory Committee for the Revision of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He is one of the Dutch Members of the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation (IPPF). Previously, he has been involved in the Dutch Advisory Committee on End-of-life decision making for people who are weary of life, which published its report at the beginning of 2016. He gave the 2015 Ver Heyden de Lancey Medical Law Lecture (University of Cambridge). 

  • Liselotte Postma (M.A., LL.M.)

    Liselotte has been a member of the Erasmus School of Law since 2012. She holds a Master in Criminal Law (cum laude) and a minor in Law and Public Health from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. In addition, she obtained a Master in Modern History and International Relations (cum laude) from the University of Groningen. Her master’s thesis examined the legal professional privileges of doctors.

    Liselotte’s PhD dissertation examines the legal status and practice of written advance directives requesting euthanasia in the Netherlands. With the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act, which came into force in 2002, euthanasia is justified if performed by a physician complying with specified due care requirements; although it remains a criminal act. These requirements are largely based on jurisprudence. However, new in the Act is article 2.2, which allows physicians to carry out euthanasia on patients lacking mental capacity based on i) a written advance directive requesting euthanasia, and ii) fulfilment of the due care requirements “to the extent allowed for by the actual situation”. In practice, this usually concerns patients with (an advanced stage of) dementia. The legal position of a written advance directive in such a situation is complex and in need of assessment.  

  • Veerle van de Wetering (LL.M.)

    In October 2015, Veerle van de Wetering graduated cum laude in criminal law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her MA thesis examined the legal and ethical difficulties of ending the life of severely disabled newborns. That same year, she started a PhD project at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. In this project, she focuses on the practice of decisions at the end-of-life in light of juridical standards, among them the criminal code and the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide Act. Veerle investigates, in particular, the possible existence of a grey area between palliative sedation and euthanasia, as well as the possibilities of euthanasia for terminally ill children between 1-12 years, since no legal regulation exists for them yet.