FGB researchers Eirini Karyotaki and Els van der Ven have been awarded NWO Veni of 250,000 euros

NWO has awarded 162 promising young scientists a Veni grant of up to 250,000 euros. This allows the laureates to further develop their own research ideas for three years.

11/05/2020 | 11:57 AM

201105 Eirini Karyotaki VENI TEKSTPersonalized E-Health
Eirini Karyotaki receives the Veni for her study Personalized e-health for common mental disorders. E-health can profoundly change the care of common mental disorders. Karyotaki: “However, little is known about who benefits from e-health. Therefore, I will deploy powerful advanced analytical techniques to develop personalized prediction models that show who can benefit most from which treatment. ”

Eirini Karyotaki is currently working as a Research Fellow in Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School from an NWO Rubicon. Her research focuses on investigating the effectiveness of psychotherapy in treating depression in adults, with a particular interest in internet-based interventions. She will carry out the research with the Veni funding at VU University Amsterdam (VU).

201105 Els van der Ven VENI TEKSTPsychosis without limits
Els van der Ven received the Veni for her research Psychose without limits. In this project, Van der Ven will study people with psychosis and healthy adolescents whether the increased risk of psychosis among ethnic minorities can be explained by stress sensitization at the level of behavior, cognition or the brain. The increasing diversity in society emphasizes the urgency of this research. The findings may provide starting points for prevention with the aim of closing the mental health gap between ethnic groups.

Stress Alert
For 100 years, psychiatric epidemiology has been captivated by a robust finding that different ethnic minority groups have a high risk of developing psychosis. Van der Ven: “However, the underlying mechanism is unknown. Stress sensitization is a possible explanatory mechanism, whereby repeated exposure to negative experiences leads to an increasing response to a new stressor. The stress alarm becomes hypersensitive, as it were. You can observe stress sensitization on a behavioral, cognitive or brain level."

Els van der Ven is a University Lecturer and GZ psychologist at the VU. Her research is about the social determinants of mental health, with a strong focus on the risk of psychosis among migrants and ethnic minorities. At Columbia University, Van der Ven researched the impact of systemic racism on the development of psychosis in the black and Latino population. As a psychologist and researcher she worked in psychosis care in the Netherlands, Canada and the US, where she gained experience in researching and treating people from all different cultural backgrounds. As a clinician she is associated with Dokters van de Wereld, a Dutch organization that provides psychosocial support to undocumented migrants.