Field(s) of expertise
“My research is driven by my aspiration to better understand children’s wellbeing, and to provide parents and professionals tools that benefit the development of children.” In my research, I focus on inequalities in children’s development. I am keen on unravelling questions such as: why do children of low socioeconomic or with a migration background experience emotional and behavioral problems, but do not receive the care they need? Or what problems do vulnerable families, e.g. with young mothers or low educated parents, experience that could be tackled with preventive interventions?
I also lead a research line on the etiology and development of problematic eating, such as food fussiness, emotional eating and binge eating, across childhood and adolescence. I am interested in its comorbidity with psychiatric disorders (e.g. eating disorders, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, depression and anxiety), for instance, whether certain eating problems are early predictors of an autism spectrum disorder and thus may be helpful in detecting autism at an early stage.
Education and career
I have a background in Psychology (Clinical Psychology, and Developmental Psychology, Leiden University) and in Epidemiology (Netherlands Institute of Health Sciences). I have extensive experience with population-based, longitudinal research on children’s wellbeing, using cohort data from all over the world. In my PhD-project I used data from the earliest phases of Generation R (pregnancy till age 2 years), and examined pathways underlying social and ethnic inequalities in birth and child outcomes. After having obtained my PhD, I was a postdoctoral fellow (NWO Rubicon grant) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia, where I worked with the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
After moving back to the Netherlands, I became a postdoctoral researcher. Since 2012, I successfully lead a research line on eating behaviur in Generation R, financed by early career fellowships of the Dutch Diabetes Fund and ZonMw. Since 2018, I am principal investigator in Generation R, chairing the Behaviour and Cognition Research Group. I supervise 8 PhD students, 2 postdocs and am ad hoc involved in multiple projects of colleagues from the Erasmus academic community and of external Dutch and international collaborators.
A complete overview of publications can be found here:
Scholarships, grants, and awards
- Comenius Early Career Psychologist Award 2015, awarded by European Federation of Psychologists Associations (EFPA).
Grants as main applicant:
- ZonMw, Program Unintended pregnancies and vulnerable parenthood: Project UP – An etiological study on the clustering of risk factors for Unintended Parenthood. 2020, €191.000.
- ZonM - Fellowship Onderzoeksprogramma GGz: What’s driving binge eating? An experience sampling study among adolescents with subclinical and clinical binge eating symptoms. 2017, €300.000.
- Diabetes Fund - Junior Fellowship: Intergenerational transmission of type 2 diabetes: Does family behaviour contribute to the child’s diabetes risk? 2014, €267.000.
- Netherlands Organisation for Scientific research - NWO Rubicon grant: Childhood mental health problems and overweight: cause, consequence and joint predictors.
- Fellowship at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia, 2011, €66.000 KNAW - Ter Meulen Fund, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences: Same project as above. 2011, €10.000.
- Catharina van Tussenbroek Fund: Psychological problems in pregnant women and its effects on pregnancy. Scholarship for research at The Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, Australia, 2011, €5.000 (returned because Rubicon grant was awarded).
- Sophia Foundation for Scientific Research: Harassment in kindergarten: who bullies, and why?, 2008, €143.000