Prof. E. Aarts (Esther)

Principal Investigator - Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
Professor - Food & Cognition

Prof. E. Aarts (Esther)
Visiting address

Kapittelweg 29

Postal address

Postbus 9101

Prof. Dr. Esther Aarts is a Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, heading the Food & Cognition research group at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. Her research focuses on neural mechanisms of eating behavior as well as how the foods we consume impact our brain functioning, using functional neuroimaging. Many effects of diet on neuro-cognition happen through the gut microbiome and immune system. She and her group are studying these peripheral-central links particularly in relation to dopamine-related brain functions such as motivational and cognitive control.
Esther Aarts has been awarded several personal grants, such as a Niels Stensen stipend (for her postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley, USA), an AXA Research Fund fellowship, an NWO-Veni grant, and an ERC starting grant.

Esther Aarts is also coordinator of the Food & Cognition research programme, a public-private innovation hub for a better understanding of Eating Behaviour and Targeted Nutrition for (prevention of) brain disorders. She is the main applicant and project leader of the public-private NWO-crossover project MOCIA, a personalised prevention approach for maintaining optimal cognitive function in aging.


Research grants and prizes


Additional positions

Our brain affects what we eat, but what we eat also affects our brain. Aarts studies eating behaviour in relation to the brain. She looks at specific brain functions, but also gut bacteria and the immune system.