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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

Project: Mixed Reality  

Teuni Ten Brink

Affiliation: Department of Experimental Psychology, Helmholtz Institute, Utrecht University & Copromotor Eileen Bousché (daily supervisor)

Currently involved in projects on the use of virtual reality for neglect rehabilitation and return to work, and the use of serious gaming for cognitive assessment.

Website: https://teunitenbrink.webs.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TeuniTenBrink

Hanne Huygelier (Affiliated Postdoc)

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

Project: 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.

Project: Mixed Reality  

Eileen Bousché

Affiliation: Utrecht University Experimental Psychology

Background: 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. Originally my background lies in cognition and more specifically with a focus on visual perception. My PhD project revolves around the measuring of the subjective experience of presence, which is defined as “the sense of being in a virtual environment”. I am interested in how the experience can be quantified and utilized in practical applications to improve the experience and 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.

Project: 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 InteraktContour

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.

Junior Researcher

Project: Mixed Reality  

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.

Research Assistants

Project: Mixed Reality

Jacqueline Wagner

Affiliation: Graduate School of Natural Sciences of Utrecht University (Artificial Intelligence Master)

Background: Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

Using current tools from data science to find interesting patterns and correlations in the Koji’s quest database. Searching for creative and intuitive ways to visualize these complex relationships.

Abel Koch

Background: Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

I’m a research assistant on the project. “Can you see it in the eyes? Relating eye tracking features to brain damage in children with perinatal asphyxia”. I aim to build a computational network based on eye tracking features (during VR simulations) and MRI markers to improve estimations of cognitive functions in children who suffered asphyxia during birth.

Project: Digitised NeuroPsychological Assessment (dNPA)  

Lotte Boerboom

Background: Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

I’m a research assistant in a multidisciplinary project on cognitive modeling 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.

Melissa Vrijhoeven

Project: Clinical interpretation and potential implementation of new machine learning model of visuospatial neglect

Affiliation: Honours project for my bachelor of medicine

Background: BSc Neuropsychology

I am currently in my second year of medical school and working on this multidisciplinary project on cognitive modeling of attention. My role in this project is to translate the AI findings to clinical interpretation and potential implementation in clinical assessment and treatment.

Interns

Project: Basic mechanisms  

Felix Schweigkofler

Affiliation: AttentionLab, the Department of Experimental Psychology of Utrecht University

Background: Msc Neuroscience & Cognition

Currently working on local and global perception bias is about whether you focus on the trees or on the forest, the small elements or the bigger picture. It is not clear though which of the proposed behavioural tasks capture this concept well and if it is a single, unified construct, therefore I run a study to compare three tasks to see if they actually measure the same thing.

Rachelle Sinnema

Affiliation: Master student at Utrecht University

Background: Neuropsychology

The aim of my project is to get a better understanding about representational neglect, by investigating the frequency and severity of this specific type of neglect, best ways to measure it and the impact of the disorder.

Project: 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

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.

Project: Mixed Reality  

Marissa Hardeman

Background: Studying Master’s Neuropsychology

Currently working on a project to provide insight into the effects of and associations between the cognitive functions by using a Serious Game (Koji’s Quest) and to gain insight into indicative normative data in a healthy control group in order to check the feasibility of a Serious Game for neuropsychological testing purposes.

Abel Koch

Background: Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science

I use computational modelling to unravel way finding features that can be used as biomarkers for cognitive functions.

Malouke Visser

Background: MSc Neuropsychology, MSc Neuroscience & Cognition

The overarching aim of my project (thesis): Scrutinising wayfinding in a Virtual Reality supermarket simulation to measure cognitive impairment in stroke patients.

Marlise Fikse

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.

Project: Non-invasive Brain Stimulation (NIBS)  

Rika de Vries

Affiliation: Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam

Background: Neuropsychology

The aim of the project is to determine whether a combination of visual scanning training and transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS), a form of non-invasive brain stimulation, improves neglect in chronic stroke patients who suffer from this syndrome.

Marte van den Heuvel

Background: Msc Neuroscience & Cognition

Currently working on a project to determine whether neglect training complemented with NIBS treatment in chronic stroke patients suffering from neglect, improves neglect-related symptoms to a larger extent compared to neglect training with sham stimulation.

Melissa Migdis

Affiliation: Master Student at Utrecht University

Background: Neuropsychology

Currently I am contributing to the NIBS project, which studies non-invasive brain stimulation as an innovative treatment for chronic neglect patients. I focus on the effects of a computerized version of the Visual Scanning Training.

Manon Veerkamp

Affiliation: Master Student at Utrecht University

Background: MSc Neuropsychology, MSc Neuroscience & Cognition

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.

Melissa Vrijhoeven

Project: Clinical interpretation and potential implementation of new machine learning model of visa-spatial neglect

Affiliation: Honours project for my bachelor of medicine

Background: BSc Neuropsychology

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

Alumni

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