During the official award ceremony presented by Liesbeth Staats at the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen in Haarlem, life scientists Hanneke Wigman (UMCG) and Sonja Swanson (Erasmus MC) received the fellowship grants, offering the opportunity to work on their research at NIAS.
Hanneke Wigman (1983) focuses on psychological disorders, especially psychosis. Wigman studies the development of psychosis, how early symptoms of psychosis relate to other symptoms such as depression and how they relate to protecting factors or risk factors. During her fellowship, she will aim at a deeper understanding of applying network theory to the investigation of the phenomenological manifestation of psychopathological symptoms. “An exciting new avenue is the use of time-intensive diary data, which allows us to map individual pathways of symptom development over time. This is a truly new area that may provide personalized, in-depth information that, in turn, may help us to better match interventions to individuals’ experienced clinical needs.”
Sonja Swanson (1984) focuses on improving the use and transparency of methods for estimating causal effects in epidemiology. Ons such method is “Mendelian randomization”, which she will examine during the fellowship. “While the attraction of Mendelian randomization is unquestionable, there remains confusion in both the applied and methodological literature on valid implementation and appropriate interpretation of these studies’ results. The goal of much of my recent research is to improve the transparent use and reporting of these methods, as well as improve the methods themselves. While these contributions to the academic literature are of course valuable, there is another gap to address: training. My proposal is to develop an accessible, transdisciplinary, and rigorous textbook for Mendelian randomization and related methods.”
About the programme
The prestigious international ‘For Women in Science’ programme is a collaboration between UNESCO and L’Oréal with the tagline: ‘The world needs science, science needs women’. The programme awards fellowships and prizes to exceptional female scientists in the field of life sciences. In the Netherlands, the fellowship programme is organised in cooperation with the Dutch Network for Women Professors and NIAS. It stimulates the scientific careers of talented young women Life Scientists with the aim of increasing the number of women professors in Netherlands in the long run.
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