NSMD consortium member Renée Visser, employed by the University of Amsterdam, has received a €30,000 research grant. The L'Oréal Unesco For Women in Science prize will allow her to work for several months at the prestigious Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW) in Amsterdam. Renée researches emotional memories, through fMRI research, behavioural experiments and psychophysiological measurements.
Renée Visser is a cognitive neuroscientist with a background in experimental psychopathology. Her work focuses on brain mechanisms and underlying plasticity of emotional memory, in particular the role of odour in the formation and (involuntary) arousal of painful memories. Pilot studies support the idea that odours can be selective triggers for memories of painful and impactful events. However, there are still many unanswered questions in this field, for instance regarding the underlying neurobiological mechanisms and the potential for memory modification.
With the grant, she aims to develop a theoretical framework and research agenda for studying the role of odour in emotional memory. These will form the basis for grant applications, a workshop, and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Her ultimate goal is to better understand processes underlying symptoms of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress, and use this knowledge to contribute to the improvement of mental health care.