PhD Students



Nienke de Wit is a PhD-student in the group of Professor H.E. de Vries at the Department of Molecular cell biology and immunology of the VU University Medical Center. Her main goal is to identify physiological and disease‐relevant molecular sources of sphingolipid metabolites and sphingolipid-associated molecules. To that end, she performs postmortem studies in order to assess the contribution of these lipids in different types of dementia. Furthermore, she combines ex vivo and in vitro techniques to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of sphingolipid alterations on the neurovascular unit in relation to Alzheimer’s disease. Her fundamental research will shed more light on the working mechanisms of sphingolipids in the demented brain and thereby on possible treatment venues.


Andreas Paulus, MSc, is a synthetic chemist and radiochemist who is specialized in the development of new imaging agents. I received my MSc. degree from the Fachhochschule Aachen, Germany, in the field of nuclear applications with a specialization in radiochemistry.
During an internship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City, I designed a new clickable bimodal fluorescent/PET probe suitable for various targets.


Simone M. Crivelli is a PhD-student at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. He is working on drugs currently used in the clinic and newly generated drugs to modulate sphingolipid bioactivity and metabolism in in transgenic mice models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Before starting his PhD, he studied at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Turin, Italy. He learned pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics and toxicology of drugs currently used in the clinic and he studied how the chemical structure relates to the biological activity. After that he obtained a MSc degree in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University. During his master internship he worked with rodents and learned to perform behavioral paradigms.


Sandra den Hoedt is a PhD-student at the Internal Medicine department of the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam working on sphingolipids as a new target for Alzheimer’s Disease under the supervision of dr. Monique Mulder and prof. dr. Eric Sijbrands. Before starting her PhD, Sandra studied Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences in Leiden. During her studies she performed several research internships, two at the division of Pharmacology of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research and a final internship at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Melbourne, Australia. All three internships led to publications: CPT Pharmaco Syst Pharmacol, 2012, Krekels et al; DMD, 2016, Shimizu et al.; and Mol Pharmacol, 2016, Berizzi et al.


Ing. Branislav Ferko obtained the Engineer diploma in organic chemistry from the Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (SUT), in 2015. Currently, he is a second-year PhD student in the department of organic chemistry the Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology SUT in Bratislava, under the supervision of Dušan Berkeš.  His research is focused on the stereoselective synthesis of active sphingolipid metabolism inhibitors.