Zsuzsika Sjoerds is cognitive neuroscientist, and is specialized in neuroimaging in a multidisciplinary field of human decision-making, cognitive control, and computational psychiatry. She makes use of behavioral paradigms and neuroimaging techniques including MRI and EEG, and combines these with computational models of brain and behavior.
Currently she is Assistant Professor at the department of Cognitive Psychology, Leiden University, where she studies how people make decisions and control their behavior, and how flexible humans are in adapting their behavior to changing environmental demands. She also teaches and coordinates BSc / MSc education on the brain, cognition, and decision-making at the Institute of Psychology Leiden University, and she coordinates the multidisciplinary minor Brain and Cognition. She is a strong (open) science advocate and in this role she organized the Dutch March For Science in 2017, and currently chairs the Stand Up For Science movement in The Netherlands. She is a founding member of the Open Science Community Leiden. She is passionate about improving the role of science in society by critically reflecting on science and the academic system within, as well as moving forward in communicating to the world outside the science bubble.
Zsuzsika studied Clinical Neuropsychology at the VU University in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and obtained her PhD at the Department of Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center in 2013, on the neural correlates of cognitive control and habit formation in alcohol dependent patients.
In the summer of 2013 she was a visiting scientist at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston, MA, USA, a collaboration between Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital. There she performed Resting State fMRI data analyses looking at complex brain networks according to the graph theory in alcohol dependence. From 2013 until 2016 she worked as a Postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig. There she focused on flexible behavioral adaptation by using computational modeling on decision making processes. She applied her research in healthy samples as well as psychiatric disorders such as addiction, binge-eating, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. She was awarded a Rubicon grant by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to study the influence of acute stress on behavioral adaptation and cognitive control in alcohol dependent patients.
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