Bio and CV


Sven C. Mueller


2003   BA Hons. Psychology/Philosophy, University of Stirling, (bonnie) Scotland
2006   Ph.D., Experimental Psychology, University of Nottingham, England
2006 – 2010 Post-doc, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda, Maryland, USA
2011 – Jan 2016 Assistant Professor, Dept. of Experimental Clinical & Health Psychology, Ghent University, Belgium
Feb 2016 – present Associate Professor, Ghent University

The personal road:
– My scientific interest in experimental psychopathology started during my Ph.D. in which I wanted to apply an experimental psychological approach (i.e., well designed and controlled tasks to test a specific cognitive function) to psychiatric and medical conditions to 1) find a good way to characterise how these conditions affect the way we process emotions and cognitive function and 2) how we can apply this knowledge to improve or develop new treatment ideas by identifying specific problems with our tasks. This research line lead to the discovery of ‘paradoxically’ improved cognitive control in children/adolescents with Tourette’s Syndrome (#3).

– During my post-doc I continued with, and deepened my knowledge of, experimental psychopathology by examining how changes in mood and affect (anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder) during adolescence alter abilities associated with self-regulation and self-control. At the same time, given the amazing opportunities that the NIH offers, I also started working with adolescents suffering from (rare) endocrinological conditions and how extreme increases in testosterone (the male sex hormone) during early life changed cognitive and emotional processing during adolescence. One rationale behind this that sex hormones might play an important role in mood disorders such as depression or anxiety (#32). Finally, I was also allowed to work on a project that examined the long-term effects of early life stress and adoption (before or around 2 years of age) on self-regulation and self-control (#13, 22).

– Since starting up a lab in Ghent, I have built further on these foundations and have continued (with the aid of wonderful PhD students) to examine how an emotional context can influence and change self-regulatory control (or ‘cognitive control’) during adolescent development, anxiety disorder, or dysphoria. Continuing with research in hormones and collaborations with the Depts. of Endocrinology and Pediatric Endocrinology at Ghent University Hospital we examine the effect of cross-sex hormone therapy on social and emotional processing in transgender individuals who not only continue to be a marginalised group in society but who are at high-risk for depression (~50%) and suicide attempts (~30%). Finally, I have also continued with my interest in early life stress and trauma and we have been examining how early trauma and maltreatment changes the perception of emotions and hinders self-regulatory control but also how experience of trauma in individuals changes social interaction.

Current research projects


Google scholar profile

Peer-review activities
Acta Psychologica; American Journal of Psychiatry; Anxiety, Stress, and Coping; Behavioural Brain Research; Biological Psychiatry; Biological Psychology; Brain Research; Cerebral Cortex; Cognition & Emotion; Cognitive, Behavioral and Affective Neuroscience; Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience; Developmental Neuropsychology; Emotion; European Journal of Endocrinology; Frontiers in (Cognition; Systems Neuroscience; Human Neuroscience); Human Brain Mapping; International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience; Integrative Zoology; Journal of Affective Disorders; Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Journal of Biological Regulators & Homeostatic Agents; Journal of Clinical Medicine and Research; Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition; Journal of Neuropsychology; Journal of Neuroscience; Journal of Physiology; Journal of Sexual Medicine; Neurobiology of Learning and Memory; NeuroImage; NeuroImage: Clinical; Neuropsychopharmacology; Neuroscience & Biobehavioural Reviews; Neuroscience Letters; Neuroscience Research; PLOS One; Psychology & Health; Psychological Medicine; Psychoneuroendocrinology; Psychophysiology; Social Neuroscience

Scientific accomplishments
2010 R. J. Wyatt Memorial Fellowship, NIMH

Current academic duties
2015- present Head of IRB (ethical committee) Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University