Having a background in artificial intelligence, I’m interested in the brain’s seemingly effortless capability to carry out complex tasks. I find it intriguing that the brain is able to make sense of external signals it receives and reacts accordingly with such incredible pace and accuracy. Currently, we are still miles away from a full understanding of these mechanisms, which are not only beneficial to us, but also necessary in everyday life. In my studies, I investigate how the visual system uses predictions to increase its efficacy. Nick Ramsey’s lab at the UMC Utrecht offers a valuable and inspiring workplace with researchers from many different disciplines in the field of neuroscience.

Wouter Schellekens

I am a postdoc researcher at the Brain Center Rudolf Magnus. Almost all of my research involves brain activation measurements using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). The 3 and 7-Tesla research scanners in our lab combined with an excellent team of physicists and neuroscientists provide excellent opportunities for this. My main interests are the brain activation patterns in patients with neurological disorders, the functioning of the human visual system, brain activation during resting state, and development of methods for processing fMRI data. While originally a psychologist, my research interests have been gradually shifting to computational neuroscience.

Mathijs Raemaekers

I have always been driven by a passion for problem solving and the power of computers as problem solving tools lead me to study computer science. However, the human brain remains the best tool for solving problems and during my study I became more and more interested in figuring out how the brain works. When I an opportunity to work in the field of BCI for my PhD research came along I saw it as the perfect way to combine my background of computer science with my interest in studying the human brain. I see BCIs as advanced tools for helping humans solve problems and I am excited to be involved with a group that seeks to provide the first daily use BCI tool for people suffering from LIS.

Zac Freudenburg

I am Mariska van Steensel. After my PhD in neurophysiology, I developed a growing interest in ‘doing something more’ with the knowledge that is gained in neuroscience, and to actually use this information for the development of treatments, procedures or devices that could be of direct help to patients. Since 2007, when I started in Nick’s group as a post-doc, I have been able to do just that. We have developed an implantable BCI system and are now going to test whether this system provides a reliable and practical way of communication in the home-environment of locked-in patients. Besides that, we investigate whether our knowledge and procedures on localizing brain function can be applied in a clinical setting, such as for presurgical decision making in the treatment of epilepsy.

Mariska van Steensel

When, as a student, I had to choose what topic to study in science, I learned that there were two topics where the largest achievements were to be expected in the next decades: astronomy and neuroscience. Since I also wanted to contribute to society, I chose neuroscience, which arguably is the basis of all human culture. I focused on understanding the code of the brain. I stumbled into the opportunity to use knowledge from fundamental research to help people directly: although our knowledge of a neural code is rudimental, it proves to be sufficient to feed commands to a computer, which can bypass faulty muscular control in people. It is very gratifying to apply fundamental knowledge for individual patients and while doing that increase our knowledge of the brain.

Erik Aarnoutse