Aging is a complex process of change and a good demonstration of the brain’s resilience. Even though cells in all regions of the nervous system are affected by aging, older adults are typically able to function very well in daily life. The key to understanding this resilience is in the study of brain function. My research is focused on using and developing innovative measures to increase our understanding of brain function and of how it gives rise to our experiences and behavior over the lifespan. This approach moves beyond simply focusing on brain areas that are active in a particular task condition, by looking at how different brain regions are communicating to achieve a particular goal and how this communication is modulated by changes in the internal or external environment. Here you can find some publications that represent my first efforts in this direction.
Currently, most of my work is focused on understanding how structural and functional changes in the aging brain are related to each other and how we combine these sources of information to better understand individual differences in cognitive functioning. I am also working on using more ecologically valid, naturalistic stimuli, such as movies, to investigate different aspects of brain function and linking them to behavioral and cognitive changes in healthy aging. Combined with innovative methods, movie data offer great potential for studying the healthy aging brain.
In parallel to my work on aging, I am also working on improving the methods that we use the study functional connectivity and its dynamics. One example is the introduction of a multivariate connectivity measure. You can find some scripts here to to try these measures on your own data.
Currently, I am working as an assistant professor at the Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour, supported by a Veni grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO). Before this I was working as a postdoctoral research associatie at the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience, with Prof. Richard Henson, supported by an NWO Rubicon grant. I completed my PhD at the department of Experimental Psychology of the University of Groningen, under supervision of Prof. Monicque Lorist and Prof. Natasha Maurits. You can find my CV here.