Dr. Karin van der Hiele

  • Assistant Professor Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Dementia; Multiple Sclerosis

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 6642
E-Mail: hiele@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen, Instituut Psychologie, Gezondheids, Medische- Neuropsychologie
Office Address: Pieter de la Court gebouw
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2A13A

  • Research coordinator in a longitudinal project entitled ‘Predictors of employment status and work absenteeism in relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis’ in collaboration with the National MS Foundation, the Netherlands
  • Course coordinator and teacher in Bachelor’s and Master’s courses in Biopsychology and Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Member of the Steering Committee in an international research project by Merck Serono, Confidence study (Assessment of COgnitioN, FatIque, Depression, anxiety, adherENCEin Relapsing Remitting patients treated with Rebif in real life settings)
  • Member of an expert workgroup initiated by Genzyme (MS screening tool)

Academic career

  • Assistant Professor (UD). Department of Health, Medical and Neuropsychology, Leiden University (2008-present)
  • PhD. Social Sciences, Leiden University/ Leiden University Medical Centre. Title of thesis: ‘EEG markers of cognitive decline and dementia’ (2007)
  • PDEng. User-System Interaction, Technical University Eindhoven. Title of thesis: ‘The development of a user-friendly speech interface for marviQ Voice’ (2001)
  • MSc. (Cum Laude). Cognitive Psychology, Leiden University. Subject: ‘Psychophysiological assessment of vigilance: A comparison between a Sustained Attention to Response Task and a conventional vigilance task in healthy subjects and patients with excessive daytime sleepiness’ (1999)

Summary of main research interests

My interest in human behaviour, and specifically cognitive processes such as memory, language and attention, was awakened when I began my studies in Psychology. I am particularly interested in studying cognitive and psychological processes, and their relations with brain structure and function, in patients with neurological damage. My research career began with the study of event-related potentials (P300) during a sustained attention task in patients with excessive daytime sleepiness, at the department of Neurology at the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC). This sustained attention task proved more sensitive than a conventional vigilance task and showed potential diagnostic value. I further explored my interest in human behaviour by studying human-system interaction. The many technological advances increased the focus on efficient interaction with products such as mobile phones, software applications, household appliances, medical devices, and others. A well-designed user interface, adapted to human behaviour, is very important in this respect. Although a career in usability engineering was very appealing, my interest in patient-based research brought me back to Leiden University. Prof. H.A.M. Middelkoop had just started a new Master programme ‘Clinical Neuropsychology’ at Leiden University in collaboration with the LUMC, and I was given the opportunity to start my PhD project there. My PhD study was directed at discovering predictors of dementia in an early stage. The use of EEG registration in combination with memory activation provided promising results in this respect. It was very exciting to combine insights from neuropsychological testing, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and electroencephalography in different patient groups (i.e. Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease). During my PhD project I worked as a neuropsychologist at the LUMC memory clinic. This was very important for developing my clinical neuropsychological skills and further increased my interest in neuropsychological research. In 2008 we started a fruitful collaboration with the Dutch National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, St. Elisabeth Hospital Tilburg and Medical Psychiatric Centre PsyToBe. We conducted a large-scale study of cognitive and psychological problems in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) (2008-present). We examined the relation between subjective and objective cognitive performance, providing important information for clinicians. We further investigated factors associated with high levels of chronic everyday stress. A longitudinal study on factors related to (un)employment in patients with relapsing-remitting MS has now started (2012-present).

Review activities

Reviewer for: Tijdschrift voor Gerontologie en Geriatrie, Medical Science Monitor, Journal of Neural Transmission, International Journal of Psychophysiology, European Journal of Neuroscience, Brain, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology.

Last Modified: 14-01-2016