Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Laura de Nooij

Date of news: 8 January 2021

Laura NooijWhat’s your name, nationality, current function, and department?

My name is Laura de Nooij and I am a Dutch PhD candidate in the Cognitive Affective Neuroscience lab of Erno Hermans, which is part of the Cognitive Neuroscience department of the Radboudumc. With my research project I am investigating hydrocortisone medication for PTSD patients.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Actually, I cannot remember this. I don’t think I clearly had one occupation in mind. This must be because I used to be the worst in making up my mind about anything! I am very happy that this is not so much the case for me anymore.

What has your career path been so far and how did you come to your current position?

I started a BSc in Psychobiology at the university in Amsterdam back in 2012. In order to gain a more clinical perspective, I combined it with Psychology (specialisation Neuropsychology) and graduated from a double BSc degree. Then for my MSc I completed the research master in Psychology. Here I was able to combine my neuroscience passion with some clinical experience via an internship in neuropsychology at the hospital. In my second year I went abroad to to join the Department of Psychiatry at University of Edinburgh and did my thesis project with Heather Whalley and Andrew McIntosh. After finishing my degree I had the opportunity to stay in Edinburgh for another year for some interesting data projects, and there I gained a lot of experience! The positive experiences with academia made me realise that I wanted to do a PhD, but also I wanted to return to the Netherlands for this. Then a super-interesting vacancy for a PhD position at Radboudumc caught my eye… and now here I am!

What excites you about working in science?

It is so exciting that you are trying to answer an important question that no-one else knows the answer to yet! I also love that you get to learn every day, and that it is very flexible.

What aspect of your job is or has been a challenge for you?

Currently I find working from home a challenge. I am missing the real-life interaction with colleagues (they are the best) and the frequent opportunities to learn from them!

What do you wish you would have known when you started your PhD project?

Probably that there was a pandemic looming around the corner. I started working on the PhD project from Edinburgh, and then when I finally moved back to the Netherlands to start working in Nijmegen, everything locked down within two weeks! That definitely required some adaptation. But then it would also have been nice to know in advance that I would be resilient, and that my loved ones are still healthy. Fortunately there is light at the end of the tunnel: hello COVID-19 vaccines!

What are you looking forward to in life?

I am definitely looking forward to a time when we can get Corona at the pub… or any type of beer, actually.

What does your perfect weekend look like?
If I were in Scotland, it would be to go away to the highlands in a sunny weekend and take a wonderful hike in the mountains. But I also enjoy meeting up with people. When the pandemic is over, I would like to finally throw a party at my new flat!​