News items Ten new members for Academia Europaea

15 September 2017

Ten Radboud professors have been appointed to the Academia Europaea, the European association of scientists who are among the best in the world. Academia Europaea boasts roughly two thousand top, European scientists from across the entire range of sciences. Each year, the most engaging international candidates are selected.

New members Radboudumc

Christian Beckmann develops methods for converting brain scans directly into useful information. This information is not just useful for other neuroscientists, but also for professionals in clinical practice. Beckmann is Professor of Statistical Imaging Neurosciences at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour. Together with his colleagues, he developed the FMRIB Software Library (FSL), a collection of image analysis and statistics instruments for MRI data that has since been used by more than five hundred research institutes worldwide. In 2011, Beckmann won the Wiley Young Investigator Award from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping (OHBM) and, in 2014, he was among the most influential thinkers in the world (Thomson Reuters research agency). In addition to his appointed positions in the Netherlands, Beckmann is also a senior research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB) and an honorary lecturer at Imperial College London.
Joost Drenth is Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and head of the department of the same name at Radboud university medical center. He studies the relationship between genetic deviations and liver disease and intestinal inflammation. With the knowledge he acquires, he hopes to be able to better assess the course of diseases and the effect of certain treatments. Joost Drenth also initiates and coordinates patient-related research into stomach, intestinal, and liver disease, with a particular interest in hereditary liver cysts, infectious liver disease (hepatitis B and C), and pancreatitis. Drenth participates in the board of the Association des Societes Nationales Europeennes et Mediterraneennes de Gastroenterology (ASNEMGE) and the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Hepatologie (Dutch association for hepatology).
Anneke den Hollander is professor of Molecular Ophthalmology at Radboud university medical center. She is conducting research into the molecular causes of common eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the main cause of severe visual impairment in the elderly. She was involved in the discovery of a large number of disease genes, and ascertained higher activity of the complement system (part of the congenital immune system) in some patients suffering macular degeneration. The aim of her research is to use the molecular profile of individual patients to shape and develop personalised healthcare in ophthalmology.

Maroeska Rovers is Professor of Evidence-based Surgery at Radboud university medical center. It is her ambition to make a contribution to the development of effective, affordable, and valuable surgical innovations. Her international projects and multi-centre studies have demonstrated that she is equipped to further develop and implement innovations in collaboration with leading, international experts. She has received various awards for her work and plays an active role in various national and international organisations, including the Cochrane collaboration, the IDEAL collaboration for innovative surgical research, and ZonMw. She lectures on evidence-based medicine in the degree programmes of Biomedical Sciences and Medicine and is chair of the project board that directs the innovation projects of first-year students. Maroeska Rovers actively shares her interests on Twitter (@MaroeskaRovers).
Nico Verdonschot is the Director of the Biomechanics section of the Orthopaedic Research Laboratory at Radboud university medical center. In addition to his chair position, he is also Professor of Implant Biomechanics at the University of Twente. Verdonschot specialises in orthopaedic-biomechanical research for the lower extremities. Using imaging technology, he develops computer simulations to get a better understanding of the function and dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system. The types of questions he answers in doing so are: How substantial is stress on cartilage? Can a patient still walk if muscle mass must be removed because a tumour has been detected? Will a bone break due to osteoporosis? Will a new type of prosthesis last longer than the previous one? What is the best way to reconstruct an anterior cruciate ligament?

New members Radboud Universiteit

Harold Bekkering is Professor of Cognitive Psychology and is associated with the Donders Institute of Radboud University. He conducts research into how our brains learn and wrote a book about it. With his group, Action and Neurocognition, he researches the complex processes behind learning and how they work together. Together, they investigate how we respond to each other, how we are able to learn from each other, and, above all, how exactly that all works in the brain. In the process, they are also focusing more and more on the underlying biology and genetics of processes in the brain. The link with clinical practice is growing, too: new research studies are being set up with professionals in the field of autism and Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, there is a significant impetus focused on computing science: Bekkering and his colleagues want to start modelling processes in the brain with theoreticians and computing scientists. 

Wilhelm Huck is professor of physical-organic chemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen. His work focuses on research into the physical-organic, chemical and biological processes that take place in human cells. He applies his knowledge of this complex entity in his search for one of the holy grails in his field: to construct a synthetic cell.

Corjo Jansen is Professor of Rechtsgeschiedenis (history of law) and Burgerlijk Recht (civil law). He is an expert in the field of Roman law, private law history in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, the history of employment law, and law during the Second World War.
He is the chair of the Business & Law Research Centre, where legal science and practice have joined forces. The research pertains to the rules that govern enterprises in modern societies, such as the corporate governance of businesses, company reorganisations during times of financial difficulty, and the supervision of banks. He is also the chair of the Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPO) and the Titus Brandsma Institute in Nijmegen.
John van Opstal is professor of Biophysics. He researches the relations between information received by our brain via the senses and the resulting behaviour. An example is the planning and execution of rapid eye and head movements in response to environmental stimuli, such as sound.
This is an enormous challenge for the brain as many stimuli, e.g. audiovisual, tactile, and motor information, simultaneously compete for its attention. The various systems that process this information are all involved in the planning and performance of movements for orientation of the eyes and head. He researches how exactly this eye-head coordination works with the aid of an ERC Advanced Grant (2016). In the future, this could have a number of applications, such as during the development of prostheses or optimising warning systems.
Karin Roelofs is Professor of Experimental Psychopathology. She researches how fear and fear-driven behaviour operate in the brain. In doing so, she has discovered that people with social anxiety create less of the hormone testosterone. She was one of the first people to examine the brains of psychopaths and she established that these patients exhibit decreased control over emotional actions.
In 2013, she received a Vici grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for research into stress in police officers. Their stress responses determine shooting behaviour, but they also act as indicators of post-traumatic stress complaints. Roelofs investigated which neurocognitive processes were driving these responses. In a new project, she is developing a game that provides training for making decisions under stress in a virtual reality environment along with serious game expert Isabela Granic and Floris Klumpers.

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