Meet the AYA members

Amsterdam Young Academy Members

The two universities in Amsterdam, the UvA and VU Amsterdam have a new platform for talented young scientists: the Amsterdam Young Academy (AYA). AYA is intended to become a new, independent platform where talented young scientists from the UvA and VU Amsterdam can meet each other and develop perceptions around science and society. To learn more about all thirty AYA members, please watch the introduction movie and see their individual profiles on this page below.

Members of the Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA):

Bianca Buurman 

Professor Acute Geriatric Care

Faculty of Medicine (AMC)

Bianca Buurman studies how acute care needs arise in older persons, and how we can structure care in such a way that it will contribute to the quality of life and remaining independent among older persons. Besides her work at the Amsterdam UMC and University of Applied Sciences, Buurman is involved in many programmes, such as the Amsterdam Public Health programme council and the Dutch Health Council Committee on independence of Older Persons.

Sebastian Altmeyer

Assistant Professor Computer Science

Faculty of Science

After finishing his PhD in Germany Sebastian Altmeyer spent several years in Luxembourg and Amsterdam, before he was appointed Assistant Professor for Computer Science at the UvA. His research is on the computing systems that surround us everyday, such as the computers in cars and airplanes but also mobile-phones and fridges.

Thomas Mensink

Assistant Professor 3D Deep Learning

Faculty of Science

Thomas Mensink is assistant professor in 3D Deep Learning at the University of Amsterdam, since 2017. He researches how a computer can learn to perceive and understand the 3D visual world from just a single image, by combining deep learning techniques with 3D computer vision theory.

Helmer Helmers

Assistant Professor Dutch Literature & NWO Veni Postdoc

Faculty of Humanities

Helmer Helmers is lecturer in Early Modern Dutch Literature at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of The Royalist Republic (CUP, 2015), and co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to the Dutch Golden Age (CUP, 2018). In 2018-2019 he is a fellow at the NIAS, working on a research project on premodern public diplomacy.

Bram Mellink

Assistant Professor Dutch History & Postdoctoral researcher

Faculty of Humanities

Bram Mellink is assistant professor at the University of Amsterdam. He investigates the role of ideas in politics and their translation into policy. His current research focuses on the influence of the early neoliberal movement in Western Europe on Dutch policy debates on welfare politics between 1945 and 1975.

Carla Ribeiro

Assistant Professor Experimental Immunology

Faculty of Medicine (AMC)

Carla Ribeiro is an Assistant Professor at the department of Experimental Immunology in Amsterdam UMC - location AMC. Her lab focuses on elucidating the molecular mechanisms regulating autophagy pathways, ultimately aiming to maximize the therapeutic potential of targeting autophagy to intervene in chronic viral infections and inflammatory diseases.

Marit van Gils

PostDoctoral Fellow Medical Microbiology

Faculty of Medicine (AMC) 

After her PhD in computational linguistics at Saarland University, Marit van Gils came to the Vrije Universiteit. Since this move, her research focuses on how computational models of language can be used in interdisciplinary settings and what methodological aspects come into play. Her VENI project addresses stereotyping and concept drift.

Matthijs Brouwer


Faculty of Medicine (AMC) 

Matthijs Brouwer (1977) is a clinical neurologist at the Amsterdam UMC department of neurology who performs translational research on infections and inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system, including cohort studies, randomized controlled trials, genetic association studies and in vitro and in vivo validation experiments.

Maria Weimer

Assistant Professor Public International and European Law

Faculty of Science 

Maria Weimer is assistant professor of EU law and governance at the Law Faculty of the University of Amsterdam. She researches the role of law in securing public interests, such as environmental protection and public health, under conditions of economic globalization, rapid technological innovation, multi-level governance and transnationalization. She is deputy editor-in-chief of the European Journal of Risk Regulation.

Marci Cottingham

Assistant Professor Sociology

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Marci Cottingham is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Amsterdam. She examines how social inequalities, organizations, and media structure emotions across the domains of healthcare and biomedical science. The American Sociological Association, the National Science Foundation, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems have recognized and supported her research.

Sanne Kruikemeier

Assistant Professor Political Communication

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences 

Sanne Kruikemeier (PhD, 2014) is an Assistant Professor Political Communication and Journalism at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) and the Communication Science Department of the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on the how the Internet influences citizens’ involvement in politics. She also investigates the implications of personalized information and communication for individuals and society.

mberto Olcese

Assistant Professor Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience

Faculty of Science 

Umberto Olcese was trained as a Biomedical Engineer, but soon became fascinated with the brain. During his PhD and PostDoc he developed his skills in computational and experimental methods to study neuronal activity. As an Assistant Professor at UvA, he investigates the neuron-level mechanisms of multisensory processing and consciousness.

Leonie Schmidt

Assistant Professor Television Studies & Postdoctoral Researcher

Faculty of Humanities 

Dr. Leonie Schmidt is Assistant Professor in the Media Studies Department of the University of Amsterdam and Associate Researcher at SOAS, University of London. Currently, she is working on a Veni project, which explores how in Indonesia Islamic ‘counter-terror pop culture’ helps to limit Islamic radicalisation and terrorism.

Eddie Brummelman 

Assistant Professor Development Psychopathology & Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences 

Eddie Brummelman is an Assistant Professor of Child Development and Education. His research examines how children construct views of themselves—such as narcissism and self-esteem—and how these views can be altered to help children flourish.

Shaul Shalvi

Associate Professor Economics

Faculty of Economics and Business 

Shaul Shalvi (1978) conducts research bridging experimental economics and social psychology. His recent research focuses on understanding the behavioral roots of corruption. Specifically, how the human tendency to cooperate, may turn otherwise honest people corrupt. He is an international expert on understanding ethical question from a behavioral approa

Members of the Vrije Universiteit (VU):

Katinka van der Kooij

Post-doctoral research fellow Human Movement Sciences

Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences

Katinka van der Kooij (1981) started her career writing fiction but soon discovered the human brain was mysterious enough. She obtained her PhD in 3D perception at Utrecht University and afterwards performed post-docs in Industrial Design and Human Movement Sciences. Now she investigates human motor learning at the VU Amsterdam.

Marieke de Hoon

Assistant Professor International Law, International Criminal Justice and Human Rights

Faculty of Law

Dr. Marieke de Hoon is Assistant Professor at the Law Faculty of VU Amsterdam. Her research focuses on international law and international criminal law. She is moreover Director Netherlands Office and Senior Counsel at the Public International Law & Policy Group, where she provides pro bono legal assistance in (post-)conflict situations.

Yarin Eski

Postdoctoral Researcher Knowledge Hub Security and Social Resilience 

Faculty of Social Sciences 

Yarin Eski is a postdoctoral researcher at the Knowledge Hub Security and Social Resilience of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research includes (maritime) security, ethnography, occupational identities, socio-cultural aspects of policing, the use of force, biography, the arms trade, illegal drug trafficking, corruption, undermining of democracy, genocide and existentialism.

Anastasia Sergeeva

Assistant Professor Knowledge, Information & Networks

School of Business and Economics 

Dr. Anastasia Sergeeva is an Assistant Professor at School of Business and Economics. She holds a PhD in Management from the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg State University. Her research focuses on the impact of new technologies on work and organizing, with a particular interest in healthcare settings.

Pieter Coppens

Assistant Professor Islamic Theology and Spiritual Care

Faculty of Religion and Theology 

Pieter Coppens is Assistant Professor in Islamic Studies at Vrije Universiteit. His research focuses on the history of Qur’an interpretation and the history of Sufism. He is a 2018 recipient of the VENI-grant for a project on the origins, growth and dissemination of Salafi Qur’an interpretation since the 19th century.

Josine de Winter

Postdoctoral Researcher Pathophysiology

VUMC School of Medical Sciences 

Josine de Winter received her PhD in muscle physiology. Her studies focus on striated muscle performance in health and disease and on how to restore muscle function in patients with muscle disorders. Josine is also highly interested in science communication: her goal is to make science visible to the public.

Linda Douw

Assistant Professor Anatomy & Neurosciences

VUMC School of Medical Sciences 

Linda Douw is a network neuroscientist: her research revolves around patterns of connections between brain regions and their demise in neurological disease. She also ventures into information transfer between teachers and students and translation of science to the general public. Linda currently holds an assistant professor position at VUmc.

Rik Peels 

Assistant Professor Ethics and Epistemology

Faculty of Humanities

Dr. Rik Peels is Assistant Professor in Epistemology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He investigates ignorance, responsibility for belief, the limits of science, and the responsibilities of the university. Recent books include Responsible Belief (2017, OUP), and Scientism, ed. with Jeroen de Ridder and René van Woudenberg (2018, OUP).

Miriam Wijkman 

Assistant Professor Criminal Law

Faculty of Law 

Miriam Wijkman has graduated in Law, and in Child- and Adolescent Psychology. She received her PhD in Criminology with a research on female sexual offenders of whom she studied offender typologies, criminal careers and co-offending patterns. Her research interests focuses on sexual offending, organized crime and legal psychology.

Antske Fokkens

Assistant Professor Computational Linguistics

Faculty of Humanities

After her PhD in computational linguistics at Saarland University, Antske Fokkens came to the Vrije Universiteit. Since this move, her research focuses on how computational models of language can be used in interdisciplinary settings and what methodological aspects come into play. Her VENI project addresses stereotyping and concept drift.

Ronald Kroeze

Assistant Professor History

Faculty of Humanities

Ronald Kroeze is an assistant professor of History at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His research areas are the history of governance, transparency, management, democracy and (anti)corruption. Kroeze was a visiting scholar at Humboldt University, Warwick University and University of Avignon. He is a member of the board of the Amsterdam Centre for Political Thought and the European Research Network ‘Politics and Corruption’. A recent publication is Ronald Kroeze, Guy Geltner and André Vitoria (eds.), A History of Anticorruption. From Antiquity until the Modern Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Ivano Malavolta

Assistant Professor Data-Driven Software Engineering

Faculty of Science

Ivano Malavolta is an assistant professor in Computer Science at the VU. He designs and conducts empirical experiments to gather data to steer informed decisions about the quality of software (e.g., its energy efficiency) and the way software should be designed and developed. Application areas: mobile and web applications, large-scale software systems, robotics.

Silke Muylaert

Postdoctoral Researcher Texts and Traditions

Faculty of Relgion and Theology 

Silke Muylaert currently engages in post-doctoral research at the Faculty of Religion and Theology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her research concentrates on sixteenth-century Reformed refugees who fled the Low Countries. She completed her doctoral studies in England at the University of Kent and received the Huguenot Scholarship in 2015.

Members of the Academisch Centrum Tandheelkunde Amsterdam (ACTA):

Denise Duijster

Post-Doctoral Researcher Dental Public Health

Faculty of Dentistry 

Denise Duijster (1986) studies oral diseases in the population. She has developed and evaluated several interventions focused on dental caries prevention in low socioeconomic families, school-based health promotion in Southeast Asia and quality improvement of oral healthcare in Europe. For this, she concentrates on establishing intersectoral research collaborations.

Ghizlane Aarab

Associate Professor in Oral Movement Disorders

Faculty of Dentistry 

Dr. Ghizlane Aarab is an associate professor and chair at the department of Oral Kinesiology at the Academic Centre for Dentistry in Amsterdam. She teaches at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels on orofacial pain and on dental sleep medicine. Further, Ghizlane is working part-time as a dentist specialized in sleep medicine, orofacial pain/TMD, and restorative dentistry at her private dental clinic in The Hague. In 2011, Dr. Aarab defended her thesis entitled “Mandibular Advancement Device Therapy in Obstructive Sleep Apnea” at the University of Amsterdam.