PhD Students


Marina Mané is a PhD-student at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neurosci.ence at Maastricht University. Marina started her career in research during the bachelor internship in Neuromuscular diseases group in Sant Pau Biomedical research Institute. In 2012 she received her Bachelor degree in Biotechnology at Rovira I Virgili University (Spain) and subsequently performed her Master degree education in Neuroscience at University of Barcelona (Spain) where she graduated in 2013. She worked as a research assistant in Immune receptors of the innate and adaptive system in Institut d-Invertigacions Biomedediques Agust Pi I Sunyer (IDIBAPS). In December 2014 she started her PhD fellowship from the Nederlandse organisatie voor gezondheidsonderzoek en zorginnovatie (ZonMw) to study the prevalence and mechanisms of action of autoantibodies of patients with early onset psychotic disorders. She is also involved in the study of pathogenicity and drug mechanisms in other antibody mediated neuromuscular disorders.



Shenghua Zong 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 studied clinical medicine for seven years including 3 years training at the first affiliated hospital of Zhengzhou University, China and got his master degree in 2013. After that, he worked one year as a neurosurgery resident in Benq hospital, an Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, China. He came to the Netherlands in November of 2014 and in 2015 he got a 3-year fellowship from China Scholarship Council which would support his PhD research here in Maastricht University under the supervision of Dr. Pilar Martinez. Currently, his project focuses on the relationship between auto-antibodies and psychiatric disorders, mainly depression and anxiety.



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.


Florit Marcuse is a PhD-student at the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the School for Cardiovascular Diseases (CARIM) at Maastricht University. Since the early days of her study Medicine, she is involved in thymus research with the main focus on patients with myasthenia gravis and thymomas (robotic thymectomies,  anti-AChR-antibodies, oncological/surgical follow up).  She started with Medicine in 2012 and received her Bachelor degree in Medicine in 2015 at Maastricht University. Since April 2016,  Florit combines her master medical internships with the PhD and works with the Division Neuroscience of Maastricht Univeristy for an optimal collaboration with the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Together they are able to optimize patient care for patients with myasthenia gravis.



Caterina Giovagnoni is a PhD-student at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University.
During her bachelor she received a fellowship to perform an internship in France, at the University of Poitiers, during which she investigated the role of drugs addiction in animal behavior and brain’s proteins expression. After her bachelor in biological science she started the international master degree in neuroscience at the University of Trieste ( Italy) in which she graduated in December 2017. During her master she obtained the ERASMUS fellowship to carry out the internship for her master thesis at the neuroimmunology group at Maastricht University where she investigated the role of ceramide transporter in neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. In January 2018 she started the PhD to study the role of lipids and lipids transporter in physiological and pathological conditions mainly focused on neurodegeneration and neuroinflammatory processes.
Qian Luo is a PhD -student at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. Her project focuses on the role of lipid metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease.  She studied at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Shandong University, China and got her MSc degree in 2017. Subsequently, she came to the Netherlands and started her research in Maastricht University with Dr. Pilar Martinez.

Daan van Kruining is a PhD student of the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. His research focuses on the role of lipid metabolism in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Daan has a background in psychology and obtained his MSc degree in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University. During this time he also worked in Fukuoka, Japan at Kyushu University Hospital where he studied the neuroimmunological and behavioral effects of allergen exposure in autism. Currently, he is investigating lipids to aid his mission in finding new therapeutic methods for Alzheimer’s disease.