Dr Marie-José van Tol (37) received the Heineken Young Scientists Award in the Social Sciences 2018 for studying the many factors that contribute to depression and other psychiatric disorders.
The jury recognised Marie-José van Tol as a talented, creative and passionate researcher who not only combines many different disciplines but also makes connections in other respects. She is one of the founders of the Young Academy Groningen and its current chairperson.
Dr Marie-José van Tol is assistant professor and principal investigator in the Neuropsychology faculty, part of the Department of Neuroscience at University Medical Center Groningen.
Van Tol studied clinical and medical psychology at Utrecht University. She received her PhD from Leiden University in 2011 for her MRI study of patients suffering depression or anxiety disorders.
Marie-José van Tol is interested in unravelling the many factors that make people vulnerable to depression, anxiety, suicide, schizophrenia and other major psychiatric disorders. Her work is interdisciplinary in nature and combines knowledge and methods from clinical psychiatry, neuropsychology, cognitive psychology, neuroradiology, neuroscience and other fields.
In her quest to identify the underpinnings of psychological vulnerabilities, Van Tol explores a wide range of different influences. For example, her analyses allow for the presence of other psychiatric disorders, the course of the illness, the effects of treatments, genetic risk factors, personality factors and early trauma. She also makes use of innovative neuro-imaging techniques and analytical methods.