Sara De Witte

As a neuroscientist with a background in clinical psychology, I focus on understanding neuropsychological mechanisms underlying mental health disorders. Combining neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation, I aim to improve the prediction and treatment of psychopathologies.

Currently, I am finishing my Ph.D., unraveling stress adaptation mechanisms using personalized non-invasive brain stimulation techniques applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Furthermore, I’m involved in developing a stepped care treatment in severe melancholic depressed patients, combining neurostimulation, medication, and cognitive training. Apart from administering different kinds of non-invasive brain stimulation (such as tDCS, TMS, and TBS) as a treatment, I assist in neuroimaging assessments such as structural and functional MRI, and positron emission tomography (PET). In collaboration with the center for neuroscience at the VUB, I am working on a project to identify elderly patients with depression who are at risk of developing dementia. Here we want to evaluate the predictive and clinical effects of deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) in elderly depressed patients with and without prodromal Alzheimer disease. Lastly, as a passionate dog owner (the awesome black dog on the left of the photograph, called Luka, is mine), I like to go to the veterinary department in Merelbeke to assist in developing a treatment for anxious (aggressive) dogs with non-invasive brain stimulation.

Keywords: non-invasive brain stimulation, neuroimaging, stress-related mental health problems.