I am Professor of Experimental Health Psychology and vice-dean of Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. I obtained my PhD in 1992, also at Maastricht University, and afterwards worked as a post-doc researcher in psychoneuroimmunology at the University of Utrecht. Since returning to Maastricht in 1997, I set up my current research line on vulnerability and resilience to chronic pain.
I began studying the psychological factors affecting pain during my training as a psychophysiologist at the University of Amsterdam. My work at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience is on how a patient's mindset - specifically their level of optimism - affects the ability to deal with chronic pain and encourages faster healing. In 2008 I received a Vici innovative research grant which enabled me to build my own research group around this theme. We hope to translate knowledge gained in this process into treatment and prevention strategies.
Interdisciplinary collaborations are the key to success in my field and also in many other fields. Fortunately, such interdisciplinary collaborations are already flourishing within the UM, with many scientists crossing the borders of their discipline. With the prospect of a Randwyck Life and Science campus on the horizon, it can only get better. I feel privileged to work in a dynamic environment and to be able to benefit from the good facilities UM has to offer. I trust that our work will ultimately benefit patients with chronic pain and add to the overall pool of scientific advances in patient care.
Professor of Experimental Health Psychology
Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience