My first area of interest is the physiological underpinnings of emotion regulation in youth with and without anxiety disorders. Together with my promoter Prof. Dr. Sven Mueller and copromoter Prof. Dr. Caroline Braet, I am studying whether youth with and without anxiety disorders can successfully apply emotion regulation as shown by modulations in heart rate variability (HRV), skin conductance, pupil dilation and gaze patterns. Furthermore, we study biological parameters at rest that could be associated with habitual emotion regulation.
Secondly, I’m also very interested in the neural underpinnings of anxiety. Continuous improvements of brain imaging techniques allow us to further increase our knowledge on the brain networks involved in anxiety. Currently, I’m studying in which way anxiety can influence white matter integrity in the brain as measured by Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI).
After getting a degree in clinical psychology at the Catholic University of Leuven I started working at the university of Antwerp on the neural basis of addiction and the treatment of comorbid addiction and psychotic disorder. I combined this position with a post-graduate course in Clinical Neuropsychology. Furthermore, I have always been active in ‘Scouts and Gidsen Vlaanderen’ both as a leader for the children, as on an organizational level (in which I’m involved in the guidance of groups and their leaders). I’m also still active in giving workshops to youngsters and young-adults. Therefore, my current position allows me to bring together my two passions: neuropsychology and the commitment to the guidance of adolescents and young adults.