Hanna den Bakker

PhD Student

Email: hanna.den.bakker@nerf.be

  • Started at NERF: 01/11/2017

My project involves researching the interplay between the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) that is necessary for ensuring cognitive flexibility. Cognitive flexibility is the process of adapting to a new set of rules and changing your decision accordingly. Within cognitive flexibility, a distinction can be made between reversal learning, which is a mental shift in location associated with reward, and set-shifting, which is a more complex process of shifting to a new strategy, rule or attentional set. Each cognitive process is likely mediated by distinct neural circuits.

Generally, previous research has pointed to the hippocampus and mPFC as important neural regions in these cognitive processes. My research focuses on investigating the anatomical and functional interactions between the hippocampus and mPFC that underlie reversal learning and set-shifting.

To answer these scientific questions, I work with freely moving rats on a maze with an implanted custom designed microdrive array that targets the hippocampus and prelimbic, infralimbic and anterior cingulate cortices.

since 2017 PhD candidate at NERF
2017 Visiting researcher at UNC Chapel Hill, NC, USA
2015 Research intern at Stanford Medical Center, CA, USA
2015 MSc Neuroscience and Cognition, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands
2012–2013 Primary school teacher of math and English, Vigina, Kenya
2012 BSc, University Utrecht, The Netherlands