Personal chair in ‘Stress-related psychopathology’ for Bernet Elzinga
Clinical psychologist Bernet Elzinga has been appointed as Professor of a personal chair at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. This professorship will contribute both nationally and internationally to the broader promotion of Leiden University in the field of stress and psychopathology.
Binding talented researchers
Interdisciplinary co-operation is a strong feature of Elzinga's research. Research into psychological disorders related to stress is highly complex, involving several different research fields. Elzinga believes that a personal chair is appropriate at the present time to stimulate talented researchers and to bind them to your institution: 'If you have to wait until a more senior professor retires, everyone has already gone elsewhere.'
Consequences of stress
Research has shown that the brain continues to develop throughout childhood, and that children's brains are very sensitive to exposure to stressful events such as abuse and emotional neglect. Chronic exposure to stress can have lasting effects not only on the brain, but also on the hormonal stress system. Bernet Elzinga studies individual variations in genes to determine whether a person is more or less susceptible to early stress, and to establish the effect of such stress on the development of the brain. She also looks at the question of how abuse is passed on from generation to generation.
Elzinga's academic profile
Bernet Elzinga obtained her PhD with distinction in the department of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam and in the department of Psychiatry at the Vrije Universiteit. Elzinga has worked at the department of Clinical Psychology at Leiden University since 2002. She has successfully charted the course of scientific subsidies, starting with a Veni subsidy from the NWO for young and talented researchers. She and fellow researchers were awarded this research subsidy in open competition. In 2008 she acquired a Vidi subsidy for her research into the long-term consequences of child abuse and the role of genetic susceptibility. She has also been elected as a member of the Young Academy, the KNAW's club of 50 young scholars who have proven themselves to be highly successful researchers.
(3 May 2011)
The opportunity for co-operation with researchers from different disciplines is is one of the main reasons why Elzinga opted for Leiden University. Her personal chair is a perfect match for the Leiden research profile areas of ‘Brain function and dysfunction over the life span’ and ‘Health, Prevention, and the Human Life Cycle’. There are also close ties between this research area and the Leiden Interdisciplinary Network for Childhood abuse and neglect (LINC). LINC bundles together expertise in the field of child abuse. Her ‘Stress-related psychopathology’ chair also supports the research into stress within the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC).