SMARTneurolab

Our Team

Associate Professor (Principal Investigator)

Tanja Nijboer

Utrecht University
Department of Experimental Psychology
Helmholtz Institute

Website: https://www.uu.nl/medewerkers/tcwnijboer

Postdocs

Mixed Reality  

Hanne Huygelier

Affiliation: Postdoctoral Researcher at Brain and Cognition, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium & Copromotor of Eileen Bousché

Investigating the potential of computational modelling, Bayesian statistics in combination with innovative technology for clinical neuropsychological diagnosis during my postdoctoral research. In addition, during my PhD I developed an immersive virtual reality rehabilitation game (i.e., HEMIRehapp) for hemispatial neglect. We plan to evaluate the efficacy and feasibility of this new rehabilitation approach in the next years.

PhD Candidates

Basic mechanisms  

Sanne Böing

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University

Background: BSc Psychology, MSc Neuropsychology, MSc Neuroscience & Cognition

How do patients with acquired brain injury employ their visual working memory to efficiently perceive and use visual information? Do conventional neuropsychological tasks tell the whole story or should we move on to novel paradigms? During the course of my PhD I will try to find out whether eye movement behavior can give insights in underlying (working) memory deficits after acquired brain injury, and whether and how this relates to findings on tasks used in standard neuropsychological assessment.

Alex Hoogerbrugge

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University

Background: BSc. Psychology, MSc. Artificial Intelligence

Uncovering, at any given time, how many items are present in someone’s (visual) working memory is a complex task. I will investigate whether computational cognitive models can give insight into working memory usage based on gaze behaviour – and how experimental manipulations affect this usage of working memory. Additionally, I will investigate whether various patient populations use different working memory strategies as compared to healthy controls, by seeing whether machine learning models can dissociate between the two groups based on gaze behaviour and memory usage.

Alex Cruise

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University

Background: B.A. Behavioral Sciences, M.A. Experimental Psychology

Project: My research primarily concerned with understanding neuropsychological mechanisms underlying different forms of magnitude (e.g., length, time, size, numerals), and its possible link to action oriented system — goal-directed reaching. In the current project, I intend to use computer mouse-tracking to establish how individuals with spatial neglect selectively process numerical information in the visual field.

Martine Kant-Bosma

Affiliation: Department of public health and primary care, Leiden University Medical Center and Zorggroep Florence

Background: BSc Physical Therapy, MSc Neurorehabilitation and innovation, PhD candidate

A Dutch multicenter study to provide more insight into the process of VSN assessment in GR and to provide more insight into the stroke population with VSN during and after GR. The outcomes of the study will improve VSN assessments in GR neurorehabilitation and will ameliorate the insight of problems due to VSN in GR patients.


Mixed Reality  

Eileen Bousché

Affiliation: Utrecht University Experimental Psychology

Background: BSc. Neuropsychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, MSc. Neuropsychology

Using Mixed Reality and Serious Gaming techniques to develop new neuropsychological outcome measures. Starting with assessing cognitive performance in children who underwent open heart surgery in early life with a VR Serious Game.

Elissa Embrechts

Affiliation: University of Antwerp, Research Group MOVANT (Dept. Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy)

Background: Physical Therapy

Currently working on two projects. The first one is to evaluate the user-experience and feasibility of wearables (activity trackers) in stroke patients with spatial neglect. The second is to investigate whether patients with spatial neglect are generally more or less active compared to those without.

Jeffrey Harris

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University

Background: B.Sc. Psychology, M.Sc. Cognition and Psychophysiology

I am a PhD student supervised by Tanja Nijboer and Stefan van der Stigchel. My background lies in cognition and attention, specifically in visual perception. My PhD project revolves around finding an objective measurement for the experience of presence, which is defined as “the feeling of being inside of a virtual environment”. I am interested in how the experience can be quantified and utilized in practical applications and in understanding which factors influence the experience of presence.

Judy Bakker

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University and Geriatrische Revalidatie Zorg, afdeling Onderzoek, Omring, Hoorn, Nederland

Background: Ergotherapeut en Master Digitale Innovatie in Zorg en Welzijn (M.A.)

Applying Augmented Reality(AR) to align treatments better to the needs of neglect patients. SE(AR)CH = Scan your Environment with AR to Create less Hamper in moving.

Charlotte Southcombe

Affiliation: Utrecht University Experimental Psychology and Wilhelmina Children’s Hospital

Background: Neuropsychology

I am working on the ‘Playing for Cognition’ project (grant Stichting Hartekind), in which I will evaluate the effectiveness and feasibility of a Virtual Reality Serious Game for cognitive training in children with congenital heart disease.

Jiatong Meng

Affiliation: PhD candidate at Utrecht University

Background: MSc Media Communication

Project: Social Media Use across contexts.
We will study parental styles across contexts (e.g. countries, cultures, SES, chronic illness) and its influence on children’s social media use. We will focus on ‘normal’ use of social media mainly, but will also target problematic use and its relation to parental styles and contexts.


Non-invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS)  

Marij Middag-Van Spanje (Affiliated PhD Candidate)

Affiliation: PhD candidate at Maastricht University (Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Brain Stimulation and Cognition lab) and Interakt Contour

Background: Health Sciences

I believe that NIBS has the potential to become a powerful therapeutic tool to treat neglect symptoms following stroke. My research projects aim to answer the question whether NIBS, specifically tACS, can be used to correct for the visuospatial attention bias typically seen in neglect patients.

Olof van der Werf (Affiliated PhD Candidate)

Affiliation: Brain Stimulation and Cognition Group, Maastricht University

Background: Neuropsychology

In my current project we study whether high-definition transcranial electrical stimulation can help improve cognitive rehabilitation outcomes for neglect in subacute stroke patients. In this project we use an interactive digital test- and training programme that recruits the patient’s visuomotor system and provides in-depth insight into training progress.

Research Assistants

Mixed Reality

Damian van der Neut

Affiliation: researcher at Utrecht University

Background: BSc Psychology, MSc Youth Studies

Project: Social Media Use
I am working on the Dynamics of Youth Invigoration Grant PLUS project, in which we aim to identify social media use in families with a chronically ill child.”

Interns

Digitised Neuropsychological Assessment (dNPA)  

Veerle Brouwer

Affiliation: Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht

Background: MSc Neuropsychology, MSc Neuroscience & Cognition

Currently working on the innovation in digitized neuropsychological assessment, in which I will explore the feasibility of remote neuropsychological testing. The pilot project is a collaboration with prof. dr. Arjen Slooter and will include (remote) neuropsychological testing in ICU-patients (UMC Utrecht) after hospital discharge.

Lotte Boerboom

Affiliation: Utrecht University

Background: Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

I’m a research assistant in a multidisciplinary project on cognitive modelling of attention. My role in this project is to build a novel cognitive model based on data from 1500 stroke patients. We aim to scrutinize different subtypes of visuospatial neglect based on a large set of different digitised neuropsychological tests.

Merel de Groot

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc Neuropsychology

Project: During my traineeship I will investigate the user-friendliness of new modern tasks on an iPad for neglect patients, their occupational therapist and possibly their next of kin. Additionally, I will investigate any differences with a healthy control group.


Mixed Reality  

Yvette van der Horn

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: Bachelor Pedagogical Sciences, master Neuropsychology and master Youth 0-21, Society and Policy

I am involved in a project that aims to use Virtual Reality and Serious Games in assessing and training cognitive functions in children with congenital heart disease.

Eline Hoogers

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Project: I am currently involved in a project in which the use of a Virtual Reality Serious Game for measuring and training cognitive abilities in children with congenital heart disease is investigated.

Melissa Vrijhoeven

Affiliation: Honours project for my bachelor of medicine

Background: BSc Neuropsychology

Project: I am developing a new cognitive model for visuospatial neglect (machine learning).

Gina Flora

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc Neuropsychology

Project: I am currently working on my thesis, which aims to investigate the relation between stroke patients’ cognitive and social functions, and their capacities on return to work. It involves an exploratory data analysis which makes use of Neuropsychological test results and those of the Melba method.          

Safiera Nieuwenhuizen

Affiliation: Master’s student Utrecht University.

Background: Bachelor Pedagogical Sciences, master Neuropsychology and master Youth 0-21, Society and Policy

Project: I am currently contributing to a project in which the efficacy and feasibility of a VR-based Serious Game will be evaluated for assessing/training cognitive functions in children with
congenital heart disease.

Kanerva Kyrölä

Affiliation: Master’s student Utrecht University.

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc in Neuropsychology

Project: The aim of my internship project is to investigate eye tracking and searching behaviour in an Augmented Reality game.

Emilia Rissanen

Affiliation: Master’s student Utrecht University.

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc Neuropsychology

Project: As part of my research internship, I am currently involved in a project aimed to investigate eye tracking and search behavior in neglect patients as well as the healthy population using an Augmented Reality (AR) game.

Terrence te Loo

Affiliation: Master’s student Utrecht University.

Background: information science, innovation sciences, philosophy

Project: I’m interested in the practical use of technology and how to implement it. That’s why I’m excited to start my thesis in the field of neuroscience and hopefully help with the development of serious games.

Marlise Fikse

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: Neuropsychology

The aim of my study is to assess the performance of a healthy population in a Virtual Reality game called Koji’s Quest. This game is developed to assess and train cognitive skills. I am specifically looking into the influence of cybersickness on performance, as well as its prevalence in a healthy population.

Jules van den Berg

Affiliation: Department of Computer Science, Utrecht University and Department of Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University

Background: B.Sc. Artificial Intelligence

I am a master student of Artificial Intelligence working on my master thesis supervised by Jeffrey Harris and Stefan van der Stigchel. For my master thesis project I am working with Jeffrey on his research into objectively measuring the experience of presence in virtual reality, which is defined as “the feeling of being inside of a virtual environment”. My bachelor thesis also covered the subject of presence so I am glad to be able to continue my research in this endlessly fascinating topic.

Nine Pletting

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc Neuropsychology

I am currently involved in a project which aims to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of Virtual Reality Serious Games as cognitive training for children with congenital heart disease.


Non-invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS)

Estelle van Straten

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: Neuropsychology

I am working on a brain stimulation project in patients with neglect.

Manon Veerkamp

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: MSc Neuroscience & Cognition, MSc Neuropsychology

I am currently involved in a research to find out whether the addition of tACS to a visual scanning training is beneficial in the treatment of neglect patients in the chronic phase following stroke.

Dimitry Wiegman

Affiliation: Master’s student Neuropsychology at Utrecht University

Background: BSc psychology, currently MSc Neuropsychology

I am currently as an intern involved in the NIBS project, the aim of this project is to determine if the addition of tACS to standard treatment is beneficial in treating patients with neglect.

Elisabeth Deiman

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc Neuropsychology

I am currently working on my thesis. For this I am involved in a research aimed to investigate the effectiveness of tACS to treat neglect symptoms in patients in the chronic phase following stroke.


Epidemiology

Bibi Heurter

Affiliation: Master’s Student at Utrecht University 

Background: BSc Psychology, currently MSc Youth Studies 

Project: I am currently involved in a project in which we aim to identify social media use in families with a chronically ill child.

Alumni

There have been many others participating in this lab. Read more about them on our alumni page.