Maaike van Swieten

Maaike van Swieten

Research Student

Maaike received her B.Sc. in Chemistry from Utrecht University, The Netherlands, where she worked as a research intern on the synthesis of a substrate for cholera toxin. In 2014, Maaike obtained her M.Sc. in Neuroscience and Cognition from the same university, having worked in Utrecht on the motivational properties of social play behaviour, and at the University of North Carolina, USA, on the role of the lateral hypothalamus in reward processing and feeding. After completing her M.Sc., Maaike worked at the University of Basel, Switzerland, on the functional properties of pallido-thalamic circuits. The University of Basel awarded Maaike a prestigious scholarship that promotes future female academic leaders. In 2016, Maaike joined the Unit as an MRC-funded D.Phil. student, and is working under the supervision of Associate Professor Rafal Bogacz and Professor Peter Magill.

Maaike’s D.Phil thesis research is focused on shedding new light on how midbrain dopaminergic neurons govern decision making. To achieve this, Maaike is using experimental and reinforcement-learning approaches to develop novel computational models that can better account for relevant physiological parameters.