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Anne-Laura van Harmelen appointed to new chair Brain, Security and Resilience

Leiden University will appoint Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen as Professor of Brain, Security and Resilience at the Institute of Education and Child Studies with effect from 1 September 2020. She will focus on the brain in relation to the development of transgressive behaviour and its prevention and treatment.

Relationship between brain and security

As Professor of Brain, Security and Resilience, Anne-Laura van Harmelen will make a well-founded contribution to the scientific and social debate on issues relating to and the relationship between brain and security. She contributes to knowledge and insights about the interactions of social determinants - such as family of origin, influence of peers - neurobiological processes and various aspects of forensic care, such as diagnostics, prevention and treatment of transgressive behaviour. Furthermore she will make an important contribution to the public debate by providing clear insights into academic findings and collaborating with social partners.

Interdisciplinary programme

This chair is one of the two chairs set up as part of the interdisciplinary programme Social Resilience and Security. There will be intensive cooperation with Dr Marieke Liem appointed Professor Security and Interventions at the Institute for Security and Global Affairs - Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs.

The Social Resilience and Security programme brings together interdisciplinary scientific insights in the field of the brain, security and interventions. Through joint research projects, five faculties of Leiden University - Social Sciences, Governance and Global Affairs, Law, Archaeology and Humanities - will try to better understand transgressive behaviour and subsequently provide a broad and deep picture of the background, working method and effects of interventions in the field of security. This could include determinants of, for example, violent behaviour and resulting prevention initiatives. But it also concerns the effects of social (individual) interventions, the aims and objectives of legal interventions and the effects of policy interventions.

About Dr Anne Laura van Harmelen

Dr. Anne-Laura van Harmelen obtained her PhD thesis on the effects of child abuse on the brain at Leiden University. For her research she received much recognition, such as a Rubicon scholarship, a Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship and several other awards.

Anne-Laura van Harmelen is currently affiliated with Cambridge University where she leads the Risk & Resilience Group of the Department of Psychiatry. Together with her team, she studies the neurobiological mechanisms of risk and resilience in adolescents who have had adverse experiences in their childhood. Such experiences often lead to psychological problems and transgressive behaviour in adolescence. She is particularly interested in which mechanisms reinforce resilience; how the brain deals with social aspects, such as friendships and warm family ties.

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