Universiteit Leiden

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Major European subsidy for Health psychologist Andrea Evers

Andrea Evers is the new Professor of the brand-new unit of Health, Medical and Neuropsychology. She's getting off to a flying start in Leiden with a consolidator grant of the European Research Council (ERC). Her ambition? 'To work together with other disciplines; that way we can arrive at new insights.'

Why did you choose to come to Leiden?

‘An advantage of Psychology in Leiden is its strong interdisciplinary orientation and its excellent collaboration with the LUMC and the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC ). I see some very strong research going on here in Health Psychology, both fundamental and applied.  And that research is being done in close cooperation with other fields of psychology, such as Clinical and Cognitive Psychology, and with other faculties, like Medicine. I was also attracted by Leiden's tradition in Health Psychology. All these factors will make it possible to put the new Health, Medical and Neuropsychology department on the national and international map.'

What is your ambition for this new field?

‘I would say that translational research and teaching are my key aims; that means from the lab to the patient. I prefer a strongly interdisciplinary approach, particularly the combination of Psychology with Medicine, although other disciplines like Neurosciences and Biology are, of course, also important. It's crucial to work together with colleagues and specialists from different disciplines. It's only by doing that that knowledge can generate new insights. But, far more interesting than that is what you don't yet know and what there is still to discover.'  

What will you do with the European subsidy?

‘Just after I arrived in Leiden I received a European Consolidator Grant of 2 million euros to develop an innovative line of research. The aim is that these European subsidies should in time lead to important breakthroughs. We will be doing more fundamental research on the influence that our expectations have on health and sickness. The research falls under the theme of placebo effects. One research question is, for example, whether we can directly affect our physiological responses through conditioning. What are the underlying mechanisms? Can we use them to develop ways of training patients with chronic infections, for example? Might it in time be possible to replace medication by learning to train our immune system?'

How do you combine these two major new tasks?

‘I have always taken a broad approach. I enjoy the combination of fundamental and applied research, which is both challenging and interesting. The same applies to teaching, beside my previous work as a coordinator of patient healthcare and clinical psychologist. Setting up a new department for research and teaching is an inspiring opportunity. It will give us the chance to integrate the expertise of a large group of people. Our ultimate aim is to focus on concrete applications for health and medicine, for example in the area of  E-health and self-management of physical disorders.’

Web editor Psychology
Laatst Gewijzigd: 19-02-2014

ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to support researchers at the stage at which they are consolidating their own independent research team or programme.
Consolidator Grants | ERC: European Research Council

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