Young NeurolabNL Core Team

Meet the Young NeurolabNL core team

Dr. Julia Henrich

Julia Henrich is a postdoctoral researcher at the Unit of Health, Medical and Neuropsychology Leiden University. Her background is in Health Psychology, with a particular interest for psychological therapies and biopsychological therapeutic mechanisms for patients with a chronic illness. Currently, she is coordinator for the NWA route NeurolabNL. Julia is also postdoctoral researcher for the Digital Society Health & Well-being team, which promotes the sustainable development and implementation of digital health interventions. Julia’s motivation to set-up Young NeurolabNL is to promote interdisciplinary research, visibility and career perspectives of young researchers in the field of Brain, Cognition and Behavior.

Dr. Michelle Moerel

Michelle Moerel is an assistant professor at the Maastricht Centre for Systems Biology (MaCSBio; Faculty of Science and Engineering) and Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University. Her background is in cognitive neuroscience, and she currently combines computational neuroscience with ultra-high field MRI to study changes in sound processing with attention and learning. Michelle is driven to bring neuroscientific research to a broader public, and co-founded outreach platform Brainmatters. Along with a hope to strengthen trans-disciplinary research among young Brain, Cognition, and Behavior researchers, this motivates her to set-up Young NeurolabNL.

Dr. Desiderio Cano Porras

Desiderio Cano Porras is a biomedical engineer and intersectorial researcher in the Department of Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence from Tilburg University. He has international experience on translational research, particularly in the use of emergent technologies such as virtual reality for rehabilitation of persons with neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson’s disease) and for promoting self-management and behavioral change (e.g. VR in treatments of obesity). Desiderio is highly motivated to engage in a national strategy for connecting young researchers in the Netherlands, to strengthen their networking and professional development in Brain, Cognition and Behavior. Hence, his motivation in establishing the Young NeurolabNL.

Dr. Chris Vriend

Chris Vriend is an assistant professor at the departments of Anatomy & Neurosciences and Psychiatry,  Amsterdam UMC (location VUmc). He has a background in neuroscience and uses neuroimaging to study the pathophysiology of brain disorders (e.g. parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder) and the effects of (novel) treatments on the brain and clinical symptoms. Chris also has extensive experience in teaching and translating research to the general public; age 8-80. Young NeurolabNL will allow him to follow his ambition to connect, motivate and represent young researchers in the field of Brain, Cognition and Behavior and advocate the critical role they play in advancing the science to the research community and general public.

Dr. Mariët van Buuren

Mariët van Buuren is an assistant professor at the department of Clinical, Neuro-, and Developmental Psychology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research focuses on brain mechanisms underlying inter-individual differences in the development of social cognition in adolescents. To this aim, she combines functional MRI with behavioral paradigms, hormone assessment and social network measures. By joining Young NeurolabNL, Mariët wants to contribute to the professional development of young researchers within the field of Brain, Cognition and Behavior. Also, she is motivated to stimulate networking and collaborations among young researchers to enhance the exchange of knowledge, research tools as well as experiences.

Dr. Eliana Vassena

Eliana Vassena is an Assistant Professor of Experimental Psychopathology at Radboud University and senior researcher at the Donders Institute and Radboudumc. Her work combines neuroscience with computational psychiatry, studying the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie psychiatric disorders such as depression. Eliana is highly committed to promote diversity and sustainability in academia. She is a member of the initiative, to improve gender balance at conferences, and a member of the Donders Diversity and Sustainable science initiative. She also engages in outreach through several online platforms and is editor in chief of Her core motivation to join Young NeurolabNL is to promote diversity, sustainability and outreach in the Netherlands at the national level, within and outside the neuroscience community.