Marion I. van den Heuvel, PhD

Developmental Neuroscientist

About Marion

Dr. Marion van den Heuvel is a tenured Assistant Professor at the Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. She obtained her Bachelor in Health Sciences in 2009 at Maastricht University, The Netherlands, with a major in Mental Health Sciences. In 2012 she graduated cum laude from the Research Master in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Tilburg University, The Netherlands. During her graduate work, Marion examined the effects of maternal anxiety and mindfulness during pregnancy on the neurocognitive functioning in infants and young children. Marion was then awarded a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from Wayne State University to work with Dr. Moriah Thomason at the Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD/NIH. During her postdoc she continued her research in the field of developmental programming and expanded her knowledge to fetal fMRI and sleep research. In her current work she combines expertise gained throughout her career to understand how early life influences can guide brain development from the early beginning.

In 2019, Marion received a Veni grant from NWO (Dutch Research Foundation) to investigate brain-to-brain connectivity in mother-infant dyads. In 2020, she received the Sara van Dam Project Grant from the Dutch Royal Acadamy of Sciences to extend her research on mother-infant neural synchrony to an Israeli cohort of war-exposed mothers. In 2021, Marion was nominated for New Scientist Research Talent. 

Research Focus

Marion’s research is centered on neurobiological investigation of early life influences and trauma on children’s risk for socio-emotional problems. The overarching goal of Marion’s career path is to combine new advances in psychobiology with neuropsychological investigation to understand underlying mechanisms of socio-emotional brain development, beginning in utero, and to, ultimately, develop successful interventions targeting children at-risk for developing emotional problems in later life.

Areas of Expertise

Infant & Child EEG/ERP

Mother-Infant Neural Synchrony

EEG Hyperscanning

Fetal resting-state fMRI

Fetal Programming

Brain Connectivity & Graph-theory

Childhood trauma exposure

YouTube Channel: Developmental Neuroscience Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn How EEG Works!

What is EEG?

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a baby-friendly method of measuring the brainwaves of a baby’s brain. By putting on a cap with sensors in it, we are able to detect the very tiny electrical signals in your baby’s brain!

Will my baby feel the EEG on his/her head?

Your baby will feel the cap placed on his/her head but will not feel anything from the EEG sensors. The sensors are passive and only pick-up activity in your baby’s brain that is already there. To help the sensors measuring the tiny signals, we put special gel in the cap. This gel can feel a little cold on your baby’s head. After the measurement, you very easily rinse of the gel with water. 

how can i best prepare for an EEG study as parent?

The EEG measurement works best on happy baby’s! It is therefore very helpful if your baby is not sleepy or hungry. You can talk to the researchers about the best time of the day (e.g., right after a nap) for the study to take place. You know your baby best!

For older baby’s, it is also important to not put any hair gel in or any beats or breads. 

How do I put on an eeg cap on an infant as a researcher?

Putting on an EEG cap on an infant can be quite tricky. Baby’s do not sit still! Check this video to learn tips and tricks!

How do I know my infant eeg data is good (enough)?

This is a tricky question for developmental scientists working with infant EEG. Baby’s move, laugh and cry. Learn about knowing when your data is good (enough) in this video!

How do I check my electrodes?

You can check your electrodes with a bucket test. Check this video to learn how to perform a bucket test!