How does our brain react in stressful situations? How do memories of such events form? And why do some people develop negative symptoms of stress while others do not? Erno Hermans (Oss, 1974) conducts research at the intersection of psychiatry and brain sciences. ‘I focus on the effect of stress on the brain, from immediate changes in brain function to long-term consequences of chronic stress,' says Hermans. 'My goal is to better understand, treat and prevent disorders related to stress.'
After studying Psychology, Hermans received his PhD in cognitive neuroscience from Utrecht University in 2006 for his thesis, titled: Defy or ally: neuroendocrine regulation of human socio-emotional behavior. After that he worked as a postdoc at the Donders Institute in Nijmegen. In 2010/2011 Hermans worked for a year at New York University. After his return, he started his own research group at the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience of the Radboudumc and the Donders Institute.
Staying mentally healthy
With his group, Hermans conducts research within the field of cognitive affective neuroscience. Hermans: 'We study how brain networks function during cognitive and affective processes. Cognitive refers to memory, thinking and control. Affective has to do with emotion and mood. This research is important because the interaction between these processes determines whether people remain mentally healthy when faced with stressful life experiences.'