Suzanne van de Groep is a postdoctoral researcher in the SYNC lab. She studies the behavioral and neural development of prosocial behaviors in adolescence. Prosocial behaviors such as giving, cooperating, and helping are essential for forming and maintaining social relationships, which is an important developmental goal in adolescence. Suzanne’s work specifically focuses on the influence of social contexts and individual differences on the development of different types of prosociality, such as trust, reciprocity, and giving.

Suzanne works on an ERC consolidator project called ‘Brainlinks’, a longitudinal three-wave study in which 142 adolescents and their parents are followed over the course of several years. In this project, Suzanne uses a variety of techniques (e.g., fMRI, daily diaries, experiments, questionnaires, and brainstorm sessions) to behaviorally and neurally investigate adolescents’ prosocial behaviors, as well as how these are modulated by different social contexts (e.g., pertaining to beneficiaries and audiences) and individual differences in personality (e.g., in perspective taking).

Suzanne has a background in developmental psychology and completed her research masters in Leiden in 2016 (cum laude). In February 2022, she defended her PhD dissertation called ‘Growing in Generosity? Unraveling the effects of benefactor-, beneficiary-, and situational characteristics on the development of giving and its neural correlates in adolescence’, which was supervised by Prof. Eveline Crone and Dr. Kiki Zanolie. Apart from gaining a better understanding of prosocial development, Suzanne has a passion for connecting science and society, for example through science communication and citizen science projects, as well as mentoring, talent development, and recognition and rewards in academia.

Suzanne was awarded several grants and prizes, included a grant to visit UCLA during her PhD, two EGSH PhD Excellence Awards (best societal impact and best poster), a DPECS Dragon’s Den seed fund, and a NWA Science Communication Grant (together with her YoungXperts colleagues).

Karlijn Hermans is a postdoctoral researcher with an interest in social development in adolescence. She works on the valorization of research findings within a large longitudinal twin study on brain development in childhood and emerging adolescence, as part of the Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID)). Within this study, Karlijn specifically focusses on social development and how to optimally valorize research findings, for example by co-interpreting and co-implementing findings with youth. Additionally, using innovative methods developed in the SYNC lab, she works on different outreach projects (e.g. with youth workers and in education) to bring her research into practice.

Karlijn has a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and in Health Sciences (track Mental Health) and a Research Master’s degree in Cognitive Science and Clinical Neuroscience. During her masters, Karlijn worked as a research intern at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, were she used the Experience Sampling Methodology to investigate the daily lives of individuals with anomalous experiences and psychotic disorders. Following her interest in the Experience Sampling Methodology, Karlijn joined professor Inez Germeys’ Center for Contextual Psychiatry at the KU Leuven in 2016. During her PhD project in this lab, Karlijn supported the set-up of a large, longitudinal cohort study in Flanders, the SIGMA project. Within this project, she studied the role of social interactions in relation to the development of psychopathological symptoms in adolescents aged 12 to 18. Karlijn’s PhD project consisted of studies using the Experience Sampling Methodology in individuals at different stages of psychosis and of studies using a novel experimental set-up to measure social contingency detection in a general population of adolescents. In May 2021, Karlijn defended her PhD thesis titled “Capturing social interaction in adolescence – from social alterations to social impairments”.

In 2019, Karlijn participated in the Nationale DenkTank, during which she came up with practical solutions for pressing societal issues. This experience fostered Karlijn’s passion to bridge science and society and to join Eveline Crone’s lab in which she focuses on social development in youth from the perspective of citizen science. Part of the week, Karlijn also supports Healthy Start, an initiative in which complex challenges for a healthy start are addressed by interdisciplinary collaborations with societal stakeholders and youth.

Lysanne te Brinke is a postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus SYNC lab. She is interested in how adolescents navigate complex societal challenges (i.e., social inequality crisis, climate crisis, covid-19 crisis). Specifically, her work focuses on empowering adolescents to speak up (i.e., raising their voice) and to act act up (i.e., prosocial societal behavior). 

Lysanne is currently leading an intervention study, in which she aims to examine how changes in emotional reactivity during adolescence result in opportunities for prosocial behavior, such as increases in societal contributions. She is co-founder of our YoungXperts youth participation platform and an advocate of citizen science. In her work, she aims to include the voices and creative ideas of adolescents. Moreover, she examines how innovative approaches (i.e., living labs) foster the implementation of scientific findings, while at the same time enabling adolescents to feel connected to – and heard in – society. 

Aside from her passion for bridging science and practice, Lysanne actively contributes to the training and collaboration opportunities of early career researchers. She is appointed as president elect of the early career researchers union of the European Association for Developmental Psychology. 

Lysanne has a background in developmental psychology and completed both a research master (2015) and clinical master (2016, cum laude) at Utrecht University. During her studies, she did a clinical internship at Curium-LUMC Leiden and obtained a certificate of psychological assessment (BAPD). In her PhD project at Utrecht University (2016-2020), Lysanne developed an experimental emotion regulation training for adolescents with externalizing behavior problems, and examined the relative effects of different treatment approaches, through the use of micro-trial designs. She also gained international experience: several travel grants enabled her to work at the Harvard Lab for Youth Mental and the Sydney Child Behavior Clinic. She successfully defended her PhD thesis “Interventions under the microscope: Emotion regulation as a treatment element for externalizing problems in adolescence” in March 2021.

Stephan is a part-time postdoctoral research engineer at the Erasmus SYNC lab, where he focuses on building reproducible analysis pipelines and data management processes for neuroimaging data. 

Stephan has an M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering and Robotics from Stellenbosch University in South Africa. He worked as a commercial and software engineer for four years in two industries (Industrial Automation and Enterprise Mobility) before moving to the Netherlands with the goal of conducting research in neuroscience. His doctoral research at the Eindhoven University of Technology and in collaboration with Philips Research focused on developing new acquisition and signal processing methods for functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that allow improved tracking and visualisation of brain activity in real-time.

Stephan is passionate about brains, accessible education, and making scientific practice more transparent and inclusive. Throughout his doctoral research, he has been active in the Dutch network of Open Science Communities and he founded OpenMR Benelux, a community working on wider adoption of open science practices in MRI research through talks, discussions, workshops and hackathons. Stephan has since continued this passion as a Research Data and Software Engineer at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, where he works on software solutions for neuroinformatics and decentralised research data management.

Renske van der Cruijsen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus SYNC lab. Her research is focused on self-concept development during adolescence, encompassing behavioral and neural development in typically developing adolescents, as well as self-concept in relation to (sub)clinical conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), alexithymia, and internalizing problems. She applies a multidisciplinary approach including neuroimaging methods, experimental tasks, surveys, and behavioral observations. Furthermore, she is co-founder of our YoungXperts youth participation platform, and driven to connect science to society and policy. In these efforts she applies living lab methods such as citizen science making use of youth panels. By this means she aims to incorporate questions, needs, and ideas of adolescents into more fundamental developmental cognitive neuroscience research.

After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in child psychology, and a pre-master in neuropsychology, Renske completed a research master in cognitive neuroscience at the Radboud University Nijmegen and the Donders center for neuroscience. During her internship she worked on an EEG study on cognitive control in adolescents with and without ASD. In January 2016 Renske continued into her PhD trajectory supervised by Prof. Eveline Crone. During her PhD trajectory she conducted a three-wave longitudinal fMRI study in 189 adolescents, and a smaller cross-sectional neuroimaging study in adolescent boys with autism spectrum disorder. In her project she collaborated with several researchers, such as Prof. Jennifer Pfeifer at Oregon University, and Prof. Geoffrey Bird at King’s college London. Additionally, she obtained her University Teaching Qualification (BKO), and is involved in an array of citizen science initiatives and outreach projects. In 2021 she was awarded with the Best Societal Impact award for PhD Excellence by the Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities.

Yara Toenders is a postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus SYNC lab. She is interested in mental health during development from childhood to young adulthood.

Yara previously did her PhD at the Centre for Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne in Australia. During her PhD she focused on depression in young people, more specifically on the onset of depression and the heterogeneity of depression. She was also involved in the international ENIGMA MDD consortium, a worldwide effort to combine data to increase our understanding of depression.

Before her PhD, Yara obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience and finished a Neurobiology research master at the University in Amsterdam. During this Master she first gained experience with neuroimaging in young people. At the Amsterdam Medical Centre, she studied brain connectivity in children with a posttraumatic stress disorder.

Eduard Klapwijk is a part-time postdoctoral researcher at the Erasmus SYNC lab since 2020. A central question in his research is: Why do most teenagers grow up to be kind to others while a proportion engage in harmful, antisocial and risky behaviors? He is very much interested in how we can address these questions using neuroimaging methods in a robust, reproducible way. His current focus as a postdoc at Erasmus University is to determine the optimal sample size in developmental studies for a range of fMRI tasks.

Eduard was raised in Rotterdam and went to Leiden to be trained in developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience (Research Master at Leiden University, 2011, Cum Laude). During his PhD (2011-2016) he investigated the neural mechanisms underlying social-emotional dysfunction in conduct disorder and autism spectrum disorders at Leiden University Medical Center. He then worked one-and-a-half year as a data-driven management consultant, after which he returned to academia. From 2017-2020, he worked as a postdoc in the Brain and Development Research Center at Leiden University where he worked on large-scale collaborative projects focused on brain morphology. Since 2019, he is a co-chair of the ENIGMA Working Group on Antisocial Behavior, an international collaboration aimed at performing large-scale meta- and mega-analyses of neuroimaging data. Since May 2021, Eduard is also employed as a Research Data Steward at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences.