PhD Students

Britt Arets is a PhD student at the department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, division Translational Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (Maastricht University). She has obtained her bachelor’s degree in Biology with a focus on Molecular Life Science at Utrecht University and continued her research career with a master specialization in Inflammation and Pathophysiology in Biomedical Sciences at Maastricht University, obtaining her degree in 2020. During her MSc she became more interested in the interaction of the immune system with the brain and graduated with a thesis on the impact of sodium and glucose on the blood-brain barrier. The main focus of her PhD project lies with improving diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system, in particular Myasthenia Gravis. Additional research lines in her project are investigating the role of the thymus and complement system in autoimmunity.

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.
Daan van Kruining is a PhD student at the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. His research focuses on lipid metabolism in neuronal diseases. Daan has a background in psychology and obtained his MSc degree in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University. During this time, he worked in Fukuoka, Japan, at Kyushu University Hospital, where he studied immunology in behavioral disorders. Currently, he aims to establish a “lipid profile” in Alzheimer’s disease and is investigating the potential of lipids as biomarkers by the use of novel, state-of-the-art, lipid investigation methods.


Anja Schöttler is a PhD-student at the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, in the Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neurosciences at Maastricht University. Anja’s particular interests developed during her studies focus on neuro- and autoimmunology, as well as virology. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Cologne (Germany) in 2016 and subsequently followed the Master in Biomedical Sciences at Maastricht University, where she graduated in 2019. During her Master’s degree education she spent 8 months at the University of Cambridge for her Master thesis, focusing on HSV-1 interactions with DNA repair mechanism. In December 2019, Anja started working in the group of Prof. Pilar Martinez and Dr. Mario Losen after receiving the Student Talent Division 3 fellowship (from the Division Translational Neuroscience of MHeNS). During her PhD she investigates the role of autoantibodies and their pathogenicity in neurological and neuromuscular disorders.

Tanya Mohile is a PhD student at the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Division Neuroscience at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. From a background in Animal Science where she obtained her BSc at Aberystwyth University (Wales), Tanya subsequently pursued a Masters in Biomedical Science at Maastricht University. She received her MSc in Biomedical Science specialising in Inflammation and Pathophysiology in 2019 and continued as a PhD student focusing on Myasthenia Gravis, new and emerging therapies under the direction of Prof. Pilar Martinez-Martinez and Dr. Mario Losen. Currently, she is working on identifying the role of rare T-cell subsets in the thymus and establishing a more ethical model for experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) in mice.
Nikita van de Burgt is a PhD student of the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology at the School for Mental Health and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. Her current research mainly focuses on rare forms of psychosis, caused by autoimmunity, an altered balance of sphingolipids or inborn errors of metabolism. Nikita received her Bachelor’s degree in Health and Life Sciences in 2015 and both her Master’s degrees in Neuropsychology and Biomedical Sciences in 2018 at Maastricht University. Subsequently, she started her PhD at Maastricht University under the supervision of Prof. Pilar Martinez-Martinez and Prof. Thérèse van Amelsvoort.