Universiteit Leiden

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Laura Nawijn

Assistant professor

Name
Dr. L. Nawijn
Telephone
+31 71 527 2727
E-mail
l.nawijn@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
ORCID iD
0000-0001-7183-8933

Laura Nawijn is an assistant professor at the unit of Clinical Psychology, where she teaches various courses related to psychopathology and experimental psychology. Her research focusses on psychosocial and neurobiological correlates of depression and PTSD, with a particular interest in stress and trauma, and in symptoms related to reward functioning, such as anhedonia and appetite.

More information about Laura Nawijn

Laura Nawijn is an assistant professor at the unit of Clinical Psychology, where she teaches various courses related to psychopathology and experimental psychology. Her research focusses on psychosocial and neurobiological correlates of depression and PTSD, with a particular interest in stress and trauma, and in symptoms related to reward functioning, such as anhedonia and appetite.

Research on depression and PTSD

Nawijn is interested in understanding stress-related disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). ‘As each person is unique, I believe we can improve treatment by disentangling the heterogeneity in the (patient) population. Can we find out why people differ in their symptoms and their vulnerability to developing psychopathology?’

Her research focuses on the aetiology of specific symptom dimensions, their (neuro)biological correlates and how they are affected by psychosocial stress. She is particularly interested in transdiagnostic symptoms related to stress, reward and motivation - such as anhedonia and eating behaviour - as these are such crucial drivers of our daily behaviour.

To investigate this, Nawijn mainly works with large existing cohort studies, such as the Netherlands Study of Anxiety and Depression (NESDA), using neuroimaging data and other biological markers, such as genetic, endocrine and immuno-metabolic factors.

Teaching

At the unit of Clinical Psychology, she teaches various courses related to psychopathology and experimental psychology. ‘By sharing my research experience with students, I hope to increase understanding of mental health problems, reduce stigma, and encourage enthusiasm for scientific research. Conversely, interactions with students are an inspiration for my scientific work, as they always provoke new questions and insights.’

Short CV

Laura Nawijn obtained her bachelor in Biological Psychology and a research master in Neuroscience, both at VU university in Amsterdam. After working as a researcher at TNO Healthcare for several years, she started her PhD research at the Amsterdam Medical Center.

At the AMC, she investigated the effects of intranasal oxytocin administration on neural processing of reward in police officers with PTSD, under supervision of Mirjam van Zuiden, Dick Veltman and Miranda Olff.

During her PhD, she spent some time at Columbia University in New York as a visiting scholar, investigating genetic determinants of PTSD. After obtaining her PhD, she worked as a postdoc at the AMC and VU Medical Center. In the group of Brenda Penninx at VUmc, Nawijn investigated the neurobiology of depression symptoms (such as anxiety, anhedonia and appetite) & biological aging in depression in the NESDA cohort. With Mirjam van Zuiden at AMC, she used machine learning methods to investigate psychosocial and biological correlates of depression and PTSD and their comorbidity in the HELIUS cohort.

Since September 2023, she has been appointed assistant professor at the unit of Clinical Psychology at Leiden University, where she continues her work on psychosocial and neurobiological determinants of depression and PTSD.

Assistant professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Klinische Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden

Contact

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