Tim J. van Hartevelt

Short biography

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford. I am also currently an associate researcher at the Center for Music in the Brain at Aarhus University. Before becoming a postdoc at the University of Oxford, I studied neuropsychology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. After getting my BSc I continued to study for an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience at Utrecht University during which I spent one year in Cambridge at the Department of Psychiatry and the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute (BCNI) under the supervision of Prof Barbara J Sahakian. During this internship I worked on studies on adult ADHD using neuroimaging and spent some time in the ADHD outpatient clinic. During my PhD at Aarhus University I spend most of the three years at the University of Oxford studying the underlying mechanisms of DBS under the supervision of Prof Morten L Kringelbach and Prof Tipu Z Aziz. In 2014 I finished my PhD in Neuroscience for my thesis on Olfactory Functioning in Parkinson’s disease and the effects of Deep Brain Stimulation.

Research interests

Parkinson’s disease, deep brain stimulation, neural plasticity, smell, taste, and flavour. Deep brain stimulation has been increasingly used for neuropsychiatric disorders ranging from Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor to chronic pain and depression. Although deep brain stimulation shows remarkable results, the exact underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. During my PhD I was able to show that DBS can actually lead to long-term structural changes in the whole-brain network in remote regions not directly structurally connected to the site of the electrode implantation. As such my interest in DBS related brain changes in both structural and functional terms was sparked and I am still pursuing this line of research. Together with some of my close collaborators we use computational modelling alongside empirical data to uncover the exact underlying mechanisms of DBS. Additionally, I am very interested in the sense of smell. Loss of the sense of smell is one of the most common and earliest symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (as well as in Alzheimer’s disease). Some behavioural research has shown that DBS in Parkinson’s disease can actually increase the sense of smell in patients. Interestingly, the structural changes resulting from DBS are found to include some key regions of the olfactory system. My interest in the sense of smell is larger than its role in Parkinson’s disease. The sense of smell is one of the oldest senses and is crucial to species survival and general well-being.

Academic background

PhD in Neuroscience, Aarhus University, Denmark (2014)
MSc in Neuroscience, Utrecht University, the Netherlands (2010)
BSc in Psychology, Utrecht University, the Netherlands (2008)

Professional experience

Postdoctoral researcher, University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry (2014 – present).
Postdoctoral researcher, Aarhus University, Center for Music in the Brain (2015 – present).
Postdoctoral researcher, Aarhus University, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (2014 – 2015).

Tim van Hartevelt