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.
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).
Ethell-Marjorie Dubois is a PhD candidate at the Erasmus SYNC lab, working on the GUTS project. Her research focuses on the developmental trajectories of trust in adolescents and the influence of their socio-economic status and ethnic backgrounds. Ethell is particularly interested in fMRI research and is intrigued by the development of youth from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
Ethell’s work is part of the Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS) project, a longitudinal study exploring how adolescents grow up in an increasingly complex society. The project encourages interdisciplinary research, and Ethell’s work combines developmental psychology with sociological perspectives.
As part of the first work package (WP1) in the GUTS project, Ethell’s research focuses on the influence of adolescents’ socio-economic status. Her research will address how adolescents’ trust in society develops and whether adolescent’s trust differs depending on their SES and ethnic background. To this end, she will employ a variety of methods including fMRI, questionnaires, behavioral assessments, and youth participation.
Ethell is part of the YoungXperts platform, which involves youth in science and amplifies their opinions. She is committed to making science accessible for young people and plans to implement YoungXperts’ methods of youth participation in her research.
Prior to her PhD, Ethell completed her master’s in Biomedical Sciences – Neurosciences at the University of Antwerp in 2023. Her master’s thesis focused on developing and assessing visual fMRI paradigms to engage brain regions involved in the perception of equilibrium and balance.