Food For Thought: Student Edition #4

The researchers at the neuroscience of addiction lab are also highly involved in teaching at the University of Amsterdam. In our ‘Food for thought: Student Edition’ series we will share some of the excellent student output from the ongoing courses.

This time you will have the opportunity to take a look at the highly informative Prezi presentation about ‘Cannabis & Chronic pain’ that was made by master students Eline Sterk & Myrna Westerveld. Interested?! Take a look at the Prezi by clicking the link below:

https://prezi.com/view/NxErUu92ZxWm96CQ7iD7/

Meet the team #8 Lisanne

What is your name?

Lisanne Schaveling


Can you tell something about yourself?

Originally I am from ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a beautiful place that lies more in the south of the country. Since 2017 I am living in Amsterdam because of my study. Currently, I am in my fourth and last year of my Bachelor Psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam. After doing a minor in Economics and taking extra subjects last year, I am now doing a pre-master trajectory for the master Development and Health Psychology together with an internship at Neuroscience of Addiction Lab. Besides studying, I joined Okeanos, a rowing association where I do a lot of voluntary work. As a student job, I work at Sedgwick, a medical consultant for insurances.

What is your role at the NOFA lab?

As a bachelor intern at Joint Study, my role is to assist the PhD students who are doing a cannabis use disorder study. It is a cross-cultural neuroimaging study. My job is to recruit people, to screen potential participants and to execute a full test session with subjects. Within Joint Study, I am also doing my research for my bachelor’s thesis.  

What is your main research interest/topic?

During my bachelor, I have developed an interest in the (neuro)development of behavioural and mental health problems. My main interest is in the impact of the social environment on the development of these problems. For my thesis I will focus on cultural differences regarding social influence on cannabis use.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

You can wake me up in the middle of the night for chocolate and cheese.

Meet the team #7 Thomas

What is your name?

Thomas van Genderen

Can you tell something about yourself?

I was born and raised in Rotterdam before moving to Amsterdam to study Psychobiology at the UvA. I have always been interested in the effect our brains have on our behaviour and perception. During my study I studied a wide variety of topics ranging from biology and anatomy to developmental psychology. I joined the study-association for biologists, Congo and rowing association, Nereus. I enjoy exploring new hobbies and reading in my free time.

What is your role at the NOFA lab?

I’m a third year bachelor student and intern with the Joint Study. Together with the other interns, I assist the researchers where I can with their cross-cultural study into Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD). We mainly occupy ourselves with recruiting, contacting and interviewing participants. When we’re busy with data collection and processing, we work on our theses.

What is your main research interest/topic?

For me, this study is an opportunity to gain more insight into the relation between ADHD symptoms and CUD. Many of the individuals seeking treatment for CUD are diagnosed with ADHD. I believe this is a valuable correlation to explore and potentially relevant for early intervention.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

My favourite movie is the Blues Brothers. I can talk for hours about anything that catches my interest and will probably do so given the chance.

Meet the team #6 Stefanie

What is your name?

Stefanie van den Brink

Can you tell something about yourself?

I am currently in my fourth year of the bachelor psychobiology. I am mostly interested in the psychology side of the study and that is why I am doing an extra year as a trajectory towards the master clinical psychology.

What is your role at the NOFA lab?

I am a bachelor intern on the Joint Study at the NOFA which is cross-cultural and uses neuroimaging. As an intern, my help is required with testing, recruitment, and calling of the participants for the research.

What is your main research interest/topic?

I am mostly interested in the relationship between cannabis use disorder and anxiety. Since anxiety and cannabis disorder have a bidirectional relation in which cannabis is used to relieve anxiety but it can also cause anxiety, I am interested to learn more about this.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I like to play piano

Meet the team #5 Lana

What is your name?

Lana Hagedoorn


Can you tell something about yourself?

I have recently graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology. To gain practical experience I have joined the Neuroscience of Addiction Lab. In addition, I am working as a student-assistant: teaching and supporting Psychobiology students.

What is your role at the NOFA lab?

I work as an auxiliary researcher in the Neuroscience of Addiction Lab. My job is to screen potential participants and get in contact with them. If they are eligible I can schedule an appointment. During this appointment, we take some tests and scan the participant in the MRI scanner, this in cooperation with the other researchers.

What is your main research interest/topic?

My interest lies in pathophysiology and medicine: I want to know what exactly defaults in the brain and body when looking into a disorder. Interestingly, we don’t always know what goes wrong: this makes the path to interventions an exciting but challenging one.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

Next school year I will be resuming my studies and apply for a Master.

Meet the team #4 Anne

What is your name?

Anne Tjepkema

Can you tell something about yourself?

I am finishing my last year of the bachelor Psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam. I am in my 4th year right now, as I took extra subjects in my previous year instead of starting an internship.

What is your role at the NOFA lab?

I’m a bachelor intern at the lab, which means I take several tests with subjects in the Cannabis Use Disorder study and also work on recruiting new subjects. Apart from my work in the lab, I work on my bachelor’s thesis.

What is your main research interest/topic?

I am mostly interested in the connection between self-medicating cannabis use behavior and depression and/or anxiety, so I will be writing my thesis on this subject within the study. Psychiatric disorders, addiction and self-medicating behavior or medication in general are within my field of interest.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I have a 7-year old daughter and 3 cats. I love drawing portraits in my spare time.

Publications: Cannabis & Cognition

Are you interested in the short and long-term effects of cannabis use on cognition? Learn about the evidence for short-term effects of cannabis on learning, memory, attention, and inhibition and the challenges facing research on long-term effects from Emese Kroon (a PhD student in the lab) in her review of recent advances in the field. Click the link to see the open access article. https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/pii/S2352250X20301135

NOFA News: ERC starting grant for Janna Cousijn

Great news! Janna Cousijn (the head of the NofA lab) has received an €1.5 million Starting Grant from the European Research Council, which will fund the next 5 years of research on addiction and development in the lab. You can read more about the newly funded project below!

During adolescence, we see a sharp increase in alcohol and cannabis problems, but also remarkable recovery rates, as most adolescents at some point cut down or stop without treatment. Brain development probably plays an important role in this, and in particular the unique social sensitivity and learning flexibility of adolescents. However, we still know too little about this and comparisons between adolescents and adults are largely missing. Janna Cousijn will follow adolescent and adult alcohol and cannabis users for three years. She will focus on both social and cognitive processes and gradually develop new methods to map brain processes and behaviour. By studying similarities and differences between adolescents and adults, she hopes to uncover both common and unique mechanisms of addiction risk and resilience, that can ultimately improve treatment.

Want to ready more? Follow the link to the UvA website: https://www.uva.nl/…/eight-uva-researchers-receive-erc…

Publications: Cannabis & Cigarette use

It is very common for cannabis users to smoker cigarettes and vice versa. Despite this, we don’t have a clear understanding of how the effects of cannabis and cigarette might interact in the brain. In our recently published paper, we aimed to study the interactive effect of cannabis and cigarette use on motivational processes towards cannabis in the brain.

The results might surprise you! Click the link to get the article for free and find out more. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/adb.12941

Meet the team #3 Lauren

Let’s introduce the team!

In our ‘Meet the team’ posts you will learn more about the NOFA lab members. Always wanted to know more about our projects, research interests, background, or hobbies? Keep reading!

What is your name? Lauren Kuhns

Can you tell something about yourself? I am originally from the UnitedStates, and I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology at YaleUniversity in 2014. I moved to the Netherlands 5 years ago to do myMasters in psychology at the University of Amsterdam, and havecontinued on because it is a great environment for doing research.

What is your role at the NOFA lab? I am a second year PhD Candidate inthe lab. I spend about half of my time working on the Joint Study which isan ongoing cross-cultural neuroimaging study of Cannabis Use Disorder. Inaddition, I supervise bachelor and master’s student internships and thesisprojects and help teach a psychobiology course on addiction.

What is your main research interest/topic? I am mostly interested in therole of individual differences on the underlying neuromechanisms ofaddiction. In other words, does an addicted brain always look the same?And if not, what does that mean for our theoretical models of addiction?Most of my research centers around how factors such as age(adolescents vs. adults), culture (NL vs US) and co-use of other drugs(e.g. cigarettes/tobacco products) may influence motivational circuits inthe brain in the context of problematic cannabis and alcohol use.

Is there anything else we should know about you? I have a miniaturepoodle named Ralph Ravioli Cucumber.