Lina is working as a PhD candidate on ‘Individual differences in environmental and genetic effects on structural brain development’ at the SYNC lab in Rotterdam and the Brain and Development lab in Leiden. Since there are changes in brain development around early puberty, she wants to find out how these variations are sensitive to puberty and sex. Furthermore, Lina aims to unravel individual differences in sensitive periods of brain development. Sensitive periods reflect ages in which the developing individual is more susceptible to environmental effects, such as musical training. To do so she will work on a twin sample aged between 7-13 years old, including three longitudinal measures. This project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Eveline Crone and Dr. Lara Wierenga and part of the Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID).
During her bachelor Psychobiology, Lina developed an interest in research while contributing to a project on social exclusion at the la Sapienza University in Rome. For the first time she felt the rush of science and an urge to develop herself as a researcher. The research master Cognitive Neurobiology and Clinical Neurophysiology in Amsterdam helped her gain confidence in finding solutions to complicated research problems.
Simone Dobbelaar is a PhD candidate at the SYNC lab at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Brain and Development Research Center at Leiden University. During her PhD, Simone focuses on the role of the social environment in the neurocognitive development of social competence. Specifically, she is interested in the development of prosocial behavior and aggression regulation, and the co-occurence of these behaviors. Moreover, she tries to discover whether changes in the social environment, such as parenting behavior, can influence the development of prosocial behavior and emotion regulation on both a behavioral and neural level. Simone studies these questions in twins that are followed from middle childhood to early adolescence, as part of the longitudinal twin study of the Leiden Consortium on Individual Development. Her PhD project is supervised by Prof. dr. Eveline Crone, Dr. Anna van Duijvenvoorde and Dr. Michelle Achterberg.
During her bachelors Psychobiology and Psychology, Simone developed an interest in research that bridges the gap between brain and behavior. She obtained her Reseach Master Psychology at the University of Amsterdam with a specialization in Brain and Cognition and Clinical Psychology (2018, cum laude). Her master thesis in the Emotional Memory Lab of the University of Amsterdam focused on the role of context in declarative memory interference and was awarded as research master thesis of the year.
Sophie Sweijen is a PhD candidate in the SYNC lab. She focuses on the behavioral and neural developmental trajectories of prosocial behavioral and societal contributions during adolescence.
Her work is part of the longitudinal ERC consolidator ‘Brainlinks’ project, in which 142 adolescents are followed over the course of three years. The project focuses on the development of prosocial behavior in young individuals, using a variety of techniques (e.g. fMRI, laboratory tasks and questionnaires). She also works on the Urban Rotterdam Project examining how the social environment interacts with individual characteristics on developmental outcomes. Here, she specifically investigates adolescents’ opportunities for prosocial actions during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sophie completed her research master ‘Developmental Psychology’ at Leiden University in 2019. Her main interests lie in the social world of young individuals. During her studies, she assisted in multiple behavioral and fMRI studies investigating social learning, peer relations and risk taking in adolescence. For her master thesis, she focused on the developmental changes and individual differences in learning through social interactions.
Kayla Green is a PhD candidate in the Erasmus SYNC Lab. Her work focuses on the behavioural and neural predictors of wellbeing during adolescence and young adulthood. She investigates the short- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents’ mental health: which vulnerabilities put some adolescents at risk to be disproportionably hit by the pandemic, and are there protective factors that might buffer against the negative impact of the pandemic on mental health? In addition, she leads the longitudinal Braintime project on brain development during adolescence. She aims to shed light on how structural brain development and neural activation in subcortical brain regions during adolescence may lead to greater wellbeing later in life depending on one’s social environment.
She is co-founder and social media officer of the YoungXperts youth participation platform. She is passionate about connecting science to society and policy. Green uses living lab methods, like citizen science, to stimulate the combination of impact-driven research and more (fundamental) curiosity-driven research in the field of developmental cognitive neuroscience.
Green is also a member of the Diversity & Inclusion office, where she works on projects that are aimed at increasing the proportion of underrepresented groups in higher education and improving the success and wellbeing of underrepresented EUR-students.
Green has a background in psychology (Utrecht University, 2015). After obtaining her bachelor degree, she continued with the research master Neuroscience & Cognition (2018) and the clinical master Neuropsychology (2017) at Utrecht University. She did her clinical internship at the Neurology and Geriatrics Department of the Spijkenisse Medisch Centrum, where is also obtained her BAPD (certificate in psychodiagnostics).