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.

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).