As an assistant professor Health, Medical and Neuropsychology at Leiden University – I lead the Leiden Locked-in Lab. We investigate how to improve the care and lives of people who are in a locked-in state (LIS), i.e. people who are completely paralyzed and cannot speak, but who can see, hear, think and feel. LIS can be the result of, for example, brain stem stroke (then often called ‘locked-in syndrome’), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) or high spinal cord injury. We believe that by tackling urgent issues of the extreme case of LIS, we can also offer better care and therapy for other people with brain injury or communication problems.
As a freelancer and public speaker I specialize on the ethics and acceptance of novel neurotechnologies such as Brain-Computer Interfaces. Neurotechnology confronts us with our own humanity and raises many important questions: e.g. What does it mean to be human? If technology is build in your brain than who is the boss and who is responsible for your behavior? And how can neurotechnology be better explained to patients and the public?