Logo psych.nl
Logo Erasmus MC
Research Projects
Research projects for students

Research projects for students

The master thesis phase provides an unique opportunity for both medical and non-medical (psychology, remedial education, and other related studies) students to come in touch with medical science. Master students are welcome to participate in current research at the department of Psychiatry of the Erasmus MC.

Specific information about requirements of the master thesis projects for medical students can be found on: masteronderzoek.

Both medical and non-medical students can apply for the projects described below. For medical students: all topics have the approval of the OSC of the Erasmus MC (see also projectendatabase). Other topics in the field of clinical, neurobiological, social, forensic, or epidemiological psychiatry can be formulated after consultation with the Master Thesis Coordinator of the department of Psychiatry Dr. J.H.M. Tulen ( j.h.m.tulen@erasmusmc.nl).

For specific topics in Medical Psychology: students interested in the field of psycho-oncology, stress and PTSD in patients in a medical setting may contact Dr. L.W. Kranenburg ( l.kranenburg@erasmusmc.nl) for information on research paper opportunities on these topics.


Research descriptions
Researchprojects   The UP’S Cohort study: a master thesis project on recovery from psychotic disorders.
Psychiatry, Erasmus MC



  • Prof. Dr. C. L. Mulder
  • drs. B. C. van Aken (ups.studie@erasmusmc.nl)
  • drs. A. Bakia (ups.studie@erasmusmc.nl)

Recovery from psychosis is a construct that has gained increased attention over the past thirty years. Since the early nineties, patients and scientists have underlined the notion that recovery from a psychotic disorder can occur, even with symptoms being present (1-3). Subsequently, there has been increased attention for the multidimensional aspect of recovery in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia (2). However, there is a large heterogeneity in definitions of recovery shown in the different long-term studies (4). This causes confusion amongst patients, clinicians and researchers, as it remains unclear how different factors may influence different forms of recovery (i.e. personal, functional, social and symptomatic). Therefore, the present study aims at finding determinants of personal recovery, and disentangling time-dependent relationships amongst four dimensions of recovery and its determinants over a ten-year period.

Content Thesis Project
This master thesis project will be part of the UP'S (ups and downs) cohort study, were we study recovery over time in people with psychotic disorders. We study the process of recovery, along with various determinants of which we know are of influence on the different forms of recovery and the disorder itself, such as sleep dysfunction, cardiovascular risk and drug-use. However, we do not know the exact effects of these determinants on symptomatology, executive functioning and other forms of recovery over time. It is hypothesized that physical health, drug-use and sleep dysfunction will worsen symptoms and have an incrementing effect on executive functioning over time. As a student, you will be part of this sub-study within the cohort.

Students will participate in every aspect of the study; informing participants, formulating hypotheses regarding above mentioned topics, collecting and analysing data, and subsequently writing a thesis using the acquired data. We expect students to examine their own research question within the UP’S cohort and present the results at the department of Psychiatry. Data collection consists of extensive interviews which are done every year for ten years. Recruitment of these patients, along with data collection, will be done in corporation of outreaching treatment teams. During the internship, students will therefore partly be working at the site of the teams.

  • Master studentMaster student
  • Fluent Dutch speaking
  • Proactive attitude
  • Organisational skills
  • Social skills
  • Responsible
  • Flexible
  • Able to work independently and in a team

More information about the study can be found at www.upsstudie.nl. If you have any questions regarding this master thesis project, please contact Ayuk Bakia and/or Bernice van Aken via ups.studie@erasmusmc.nl. If you want to apply for the position, please send your CV and motivation letter.

  • Remington G, Foussias G, Agid O. Progress in defining optimal treatment outcome in schizophrenia. CNS drugs. 2010;24(1):9-20.
  • Wunderink L, Nieboer RM, Wiersma D, Sytema S, Nienhuis FJ. Recovery in remitted first-episode psychosis at 7 years of follow-up of an early dose reduction/discontinuation or maintenance treatment strategy: long-term follow-up of a 2-year randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013;70(9):913-20.
  • Brazier J, Connell J, Papaioannou D, Mukuria C, Mulhern B, Peasgood T, et al. A systematic review, psychometric analysis and qualitative assessment of generic preference-based measures of health in mental health populations and the estimation of mapping functions from widely used specific measures. Health technology assessment (Winchester, England). 2014;18(34):vii.
  • Peasgood T, Brazier J, Papaioannou D. A systematic review of the validity and responsiveness of EQ-5D and SF-6D for depression and anxiety. HEDS Discussion paper 12/15. 2012.
  • Keetharuth AD, Brazier J, Connell J, Carlton J, Taylor Buck E, Ricketts T. Development and Validation of the Recovering Quality of Life (ReQoL) Outcome Measures. EEPRU Technical Research Report 050. Policy Research Unit in Economic Evaluation of Health and Care Interventions, Universities of Sheffield and York, 2017. (https://www. eepru. org. uk/EEPRU% 20report% 20MAIN% 20REPORT% 20v3. pdf), 2017.
  • Slade M, Leamy M, Bacon F, Janosik M, Le Boutillier C, Williams J, et al. International differences in understanding recovery: systematic review. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. 2012;21(4):353-64.
Researchprojects   Etiology and course of aggressive behavior in combination with a psychiatric disorder.
Psychiatry, Erasmus MC

+31 (0)10-7030146


  • Dr. S.J. Roza, department of Psychiatry


Retrospective studies in adult forensic psychiatry showed that aggressive and antisocial behavior during childhood or adolescence are important prognostic factors for recurrent violent offenses in adulthood. Also, early school leaving, psychopathic traits, relational problems, substance abuse, and traumatic experiences are major risk factors for criminal behavior and recidivism. However, whether biological factors, such as hormone levels, genetics and neuropsychological measures can serve as diagnostic or prognostic markers, is still largely unknown. This project focuses primarily on the value of these biological risk factors in predicting onset and course of aggressive or violent offenses. Data will be collected within Transfore, an adult forensic psychiatric institution in the eastern part of The Netherlands, and in Erasmus MC′s the iBerry Study (www.iberrystudy.nl). The project is a collaboration between Erasmus MC, Transfore GGZ, and University of Twente.

For internships at the iBerry Study, please do not hesitate to contact the project staff via iberrystudy@erasmusmc.nl or 010 - 703 01 46. In the course of 2017, we will also be offering multiple research internship positions at the various locations of Transfore. In these extensive internships you will gain knowledge and expertise in both clinical and research skills. Please visit our site regularly for updates, or contact Frank van den Boogert (f.vandenboogert@erasmusmc.nl) if you have any questions regarding research internships or the project in general.

Researchprojects   the iBerry Study - Interventions for Behavioral and Emotional Risk Reduction in Youth.
Psychiatry, Erasmus MC

+31 (0)10 7030146


Prinicipal investigator
  • Dr. N.H. Grootendorst- van Mil, department of Psychiatry

The vast majority of psychiatric morbidity which manifests during adult life has its onset before the age of 25 years, either evolving from childhood emotional and behavioral disorder, or appearing from early adolescence through the mid-twenties. There is growing recognition that the need for care in psychiatry substantially precedes the point that a diagnosis can be assigned according to classical concepts, with negative effects on the treatability of disorders when we wait for perfect diagnostic clarity.

the iBerry Study (acronym: Interventions for Behavioral and Emotional Risk Reduction in Youth) is a new high-risk cohort study (n=1000),designed to examine the long-term course of adolescent precursor symptoms of adult psychiatry and to study the effectiveness of a broad early intervention to prevent transition from sub-threshold symptomatology to full-blown psychiatric disorders. Adolescents were derived from the general population by screening on behavioral and emotional problems (SDQ-Y) in the first class of secondary school. Selected participants (aged 12-15) and their parents will be invited to the Erasmus MC where data will be collected with questionnaires (ASEBA, MSPSS, PQ-16, CTSPC, BSI, SAPAS-sr, FAD-12, OKIV), interviews (MINI-kid, mini SCAN), physical examination (blood draw for (epi)genetic measures, thyroid function, metabolism, cortisol from hair sample) and neuropsychological tests (SON-r 6-40, IOWA).

Students will participate in all aspects of the study: participant selection, data-collection from both the adolescents and the parents, data processing and data analysis. Students will write their own thesis (based on a self-proposed research question) and will present the results at the department of Psychiatry.

We offer an extensive internship where you will gain a lot of experience in both clinical and research skills. We are looking for enthusiastic students who can work both independently and in a team. Any relevant experience and venipuncture qualification is a plus.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this research internship! (iberrystudy@erasmusmc.nl / +31 (0) 10 7030146 or find us at www.iberrystudy.nl) If you want to apply for the position please send your CV and motivation letter to iberrystudy@erasmusmc.nl.

  • Hosman, C., Jane-Llopes, E., & Saxena, S. (2004). Prevention of mental disorders: effective interventions and policy options. Genève: WHO.
  • Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Moffit, T.E., Harrington, H., Milne, B.J., & Poulton, R. (2003). Prior juvenile diagnoses in adults with mental disorder developmental follow-back of a prospective-longitudinal cohort. Archives of General Psychiatry, 60, 709-717.
  • Lasalvia, A., & Tansella, M. (2012). Young people at high risk for psychosis: conceptual framework, research evidence and treatment opportunities. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences, 21, 317-322.
  • Paus, T., Keshavan, M., & Giedd, J.N. (2008). Why do many psychiatric disorders emerge during adolescence? Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9, 947-957.
  • Sellers, R., Collishaw, S., Rice, F., Thapar, A.K., Potter, R., Mars, B., Harold, G.T., Smith, D.J., Owen, M.J., Craddock, N., & Thapar, A. (2013). Risk of psychopathology in adolescent offspring of mothers with psychopathology and recurrent depression. British Journal of Psychiatry, 202, 108-114.
Researchprojects   Lithium maintenance treatment in elderly with bipolar disorder.
Psychiatry, Erasmus MC

dr. RM Kok, psychiatrist Parnassia Groep, research coordinator.


  • W. Soebhag, psychiatrist, Department of Old Age Psychiatry, Bavo-Europoort, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Primary investigator.
  • F. Oostervink , psychiatrist, Department of Old Age Psychiatry, GGZ Haagstreek (Rivierduinen), Leidschendam, The Netherlands.
  • I. Groeneweg, psychiatrist, Department of Old Age Psychiatry, Bavo- Europoort, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic and severe condition characterized by manic/hypomanic, mixed, and depressive episodes. It is not only an illness of younger adults, but also of the elderly. (Oosterfink, Nolen & Kok, 2014) . Because of the severity of the symptoms, treatment is very important. Lithium is a well-known mood stabilizer for maintenance and acute treatment of bipolar disorder. In younger adults the lithium level for maintenance treatment is between 0.6 -0.8 mmol/l. These limits are controversial in the elderly. For example Sajatovic and Blow (2007) state in their influential book: “To reduce potential side effects and toxicities, clinicians should target moderate plasma concentration ranges 0.4-0.8 mmol/l; however higher concentrations may be necessary.” The authors did not mention if these levels are for maintenance or acute treatment. A literature search revealed a lack of studies comparing these lower with more conventional serum levels. Therefore, in this study our aim is to compare the effectivity of lithium in the range < 0.6 mmol/l with ≥ 0.6 mmol/l.

Our hospital has medical records of 400 elderly patients with a bipolar disorder, using lithium in the past 4 years. The student is expected to collect data about lithium efficacy from the EPD (electronic patient record) and specify his/her question based on a literature study. The student is also expected to write a research report and provide a verbal presentation of the findings at the department of Psychiatry. To get a good understanding of the pathology that is found in the clinic, it is possible to participate in an outpatient or inpatient clinic with a focus on bipolar patients.

  • Oostervink, F., Nolen, W. A., & Kok, R. M. (2014). Two years′ outcome of acute mania in bipolar disorder: different effects of age and age of onset. International journal of geriatric psychiatry.
  • Sajatovic, M., & Blow, F. C. (Eds.). (2007). Bipolar disorder in later life. JHU Press.
Researchprojects   Quality of care in hospital psychiatry.
Psychiatry, Erasmus MC

M. A. (Maarten) van Schijndel MD, psychiatrist / project leader
+31 (0)10 7040139 (secretariat)


  • Prof. J.J. van Busschbach PhD, Department of Psychiatry (section Medical Psychology and Psychotherapy), Principle Investigator / Professor of Health Related Quality of Life
  • A. Boenink, MD PhD, psychiatrist, VU medical center
  • RJ Osse MD PhD, psychiatrist, Erasmus MC
  • J.L. Lijmer, MD PhD, psychiatrist and epidemiologist, OLVG
  • J. van Waarde, MD PhD, psychiatrist, Rijnstate
  • P.J. Caarls, MSc, PhD student

The MPU study group is recruiting two master students who are interested in doing their research internship about a feasibility study on a new quality standard on hospital psychiatry.
An estimated 25-40% of the medically ill patients admitted to a hospital have a co-morbid psychiatric disorder. Numerous studies now demonstrate that patients who have both general medical and psychiatric disorders, have greater morbidity associated with their medical illness, increased health care service use, and worse functional outcomes.
In order to improve care for patients with concurrent medical and psychiatric disorders, we are currently developing a quality standard on hospital psychiatry. The quality standard covers both outpatient care, care delivered by psychiatric consultation-liaison services and care in Medical Psychiatric Units.

From April – June 2016 we will test the feasibility of the new quality standard including the indicators in four hospitals: OLVG and VUMC (both in Amsterdam), Rijnstate (Arnhem) and the Erasmus MC. Your master research preferably starts with preparation and planning in January 2016, from April –June data will be collected at the four locations and in July-August you will analyze the data and write your thesis.
Your research can answer questions on acceptability, implementation or effects of the quality standard and the indicators. We will discuss the specific appropriate research question with each student.
You will get insight in hospital psychiatry in different teaching hospitals and will work together with a variety of care professionals. If you are an enthusiast future colleague interested in clinical research and healthcare organization, please sent your motivation letter and CV to mpu.studygroup@erasmusmc.nl.
Requirements: master student in medicine, health sciences, health policy or healthcare management, fluent Dutch speaking and weekdays OV card.

References for more background reading:
  • Generieke module ziekenhuispatienten met somatische psychiatrische comorbiditeit.

  • Borckardt JJ et al. Excess health care service utilization and costs associated with underrecognition of psychiatric comorbidity in a medical/surgical inpatient setting. Qual Manag Health Care 2011 Apr-Jun;20(2):98-102.
  • Kishi Y, Kathol RG. Integrating medical and psychiatric treatment in an inpatient medical setting. The type IV program. Psychosomatics. 1999 Jul-Aug;40(4):345-55.
  • Richtlijn Consultatieve Psychiatrie, NVvP 2008
  • Veldnormen MPU, NVvP 2014
Researchprojects   Violence in patients with severe mental illness.
Psychiatry, Erasmus MC

Dr. A.M. Kamperman, post-doc researcher
+31 (0)10 7034763


  • Prof. Dr. C. Mulder, psychiatrist
  • Dr. S.R. Roza, psychiatrist

Study objective: The ViPP-study assessed rates of violent victimization and risk factors in patients with severe mental illness (SMI). In six psychiatric hospitals (InGeest, Parnassia, BavoEuropoort, GGZ Dijk en Duin, Mondriaan, Altrecht) we collected data of almost 1000 patients with severe mental illness (depression, bipolar disorder and psychotic disorder). Data are available about experiences and consequences of victimisation, discrimination and self-stigmatization, perpetration of violence, childhood trauma, symptom severity and co-morbid psychopathology (e.g. anger, PTSD).

Student tasks:
  • Formulating a relevant research question
  • Writing a research proposal
  • Analysing data
  • Reporting of the findings
  • Oral presentation of the findings at the department of Psychiatry
We offer:
  • An interesting research topic
  • Student’s preferences can influence the research topic
  • Structured and good support of a post-doc researcher
  • Possibility to participate in research meetings of the department
  • Clinical experience on the psychiatric department

Lunch meeting Psychiatry
by zoom
Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12 h

SeminarsQuote EMDR treatment in women with postpartum PTSD.

Presenter: Leonieke Kranenburg (MPP)


Kushner lab Biology of mental illness
Kushner Lab


Vacancies We do ground-breaking research, every single day
Find the job that suits you