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.
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.