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Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. M.J. (Marie-José) van Tol
University Medical Center Groningen

prof. dr. M.J. (Marie-José) van Tol

Associate (adjunct) Professor Mood & Cognition

My projects are organized in the following lines of research:

Associations & Course | Neurocognitive predictors and consequences of psychiatric disorders and their course

Treatment |  Effects and predictors of success of treatments aimed at alleviating/preventing psychiatric disorders and specific symptoms

Basal | Basal underpinnings of (the development of) psychiatric symptoms


NEW-PRIDE: Neurocognitive working mechanisms of preventing relapse in depression

PI | Treatment and Associations & Course | PhD-student: Rozemarijn van Kleef

In this randomized clinical trial, my team investigates the neurocognitive working mechanisms of preventive cognitive therapy for preventing relapse in new depressive episodes. For this project, I received a VENI-grant from NWO and a Hersenstichting (Dutch Brain Foundation) fellowship. For more information, see the NEWPRIDE study website.

Collaborations | Prof. Claudi Bockting (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, NL), dr. Evelien van Valen (University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, NL), dr. Jan-Bernard Marsman (Cognitive Neuroscience Center, UMCG, NL), Prof. Tom Johnstone (University of Reading, UK), many indispensable BSc-, MSc-students and our research assistant Shamira Kuiper, MSc.


Learning to preserve: complex skill training as a cognitive vaccine to prevent old-age disorders?

Treatment and Basal | PhD-student: Saskia Nijmeijer

In this innovative interdisciplinary PhD project of Saskia Nijmeijer, funded by the University of Groningen and obtained in a competition together with dr. Merel Keijzer (applied linguistics, faculty of arts), we study the relation between acquiring new complex skills (learning a second language, musical training, art training), cognitive flexibility, and risk for disorders of old age (including dementia and major depressive disorder) using cross-sectional and experimental approaches including functional MRI.


HOPES - Neural correlates of suicidal behavior: a longitudinal study

PI | Basal and Associations & Course | PhD-student: Justine Dickhoff

In this clinical neuroimaging project, financed by the Dutch Scientific Organization (NWO), we aim to 1) understand the underlying neural mechanisms of suicidality and 2) develop neurocognitive markers predictive of risk for relapse of suicidal behavior. This project is a collaboration between the Department of Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry, and Specialized Mental Health Care institutions in the Northern Netherlands. For more information, see the HOPES study website.


The role of spontaneous thought processes in the vulnerability for depression: An experimental psychological and (neuro)cognitive approach in clinical and at risk populations.

Basal and Associations & Course | PhD-student: Marlijn Besten

In this PhD-project of Marlijn Besten we will study the content of persevarative cognition in Major Depressive Disorder and the mechanisms by which it affects vulnerability for depression.  is associated with abnormalities in spontaneous thought processes such as worrying, rumination and negative mind-wandering. We will combine cognitive neuroscience with clinical psychology to study how different potent clinical techniques (i.e. preventive cognitive therapy, mindfulness and fantasizing) affect spontaneous thought processes and their neural correlates in individuals vulnerable for depression. This study will advance our understanding of what is needed to alter depressive vulnerability. Starting date: October 2018

Collaborations | dr. Marieke van Vugt (Artificial Intelligence, RUG, NL), dr. Brian Ostafin (Experimental Psychopathology, RUG, NL), Prof. Claudi Bockting, AMC, NL, Prof. André Aleman (Cognitive Neuroscience Center, UMCG, NL)


Brain activity associated with emotion processing and regulation in fibromyalgia

Basal | PhD-student: Thania Balducci (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico)

In this 'sandwich' PhD-project of Thania Balducci from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in collaboration with the UMCG, we will study emotion processing and regulation in the chronic pain disorder fibromyalgia. Aim of this project is to find commonalities in the neural circuitry underlying emotion regulation between patients with fibromyalgia and major depressive disorder, that could explain the higher vulnerability for affective disorders in patients with fibromyalgia.

Collaborators | dr. Eduardo A. Garza-Villarreal (Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría “Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz”, Mexico City, Mexico), Prof. André Aleman (Cognitive Neuroscience Center, UMCG, NL)


NESDA Neuroimaging

co-PI | Associations & Course

I fulfil a primary role in the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA)-neuroimaging study since the start of this largest longitudinal, multi-center functional neuroimaging project since 2005 and now coordinate the project as Principal Investigator for the Groningen part. The primary objective of the NESDA neuroimaging study is to understand why one person is depressed or suffers from an anxiety disorder only once, while the other person develops a chronic depression/anxiety disorder.

Collaborators | a.o. Prof. Dick J. Veltman (VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, NL), Prof. Nic J.A. van der Wee (Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, NL),


Apathy study

Research lines | Treatment and Basal 

In this large clinical neuroimaging-study of Prof. dr. André Aleman, non-pharmacological neuro-stimulative and behavioral treatment of apathy in schizophrenia is investigated. Before I received my own grants, I worked as a post-doc on this project and continued to be involved as a PhD supervisor and collaborator. For more information see the Apathy study website.


Last modified:25 June 2022 08.22 a.m.