Professor at Leiden University

Netherlands Society for Behavioural Biology Meeting- Register now!

The 24th NVG meeting will be held from Wednesday November 30st to Friday December 2nd in conference hotel ‘Kontakt der Kontinenten‘ in Soesterberg, TheNetherlands.

The meeting starts on Wednesday evening, after the PhD workshop (see below). Highlights of this meeting are the keynote lectures, including the Brill Baerends Lecture*, for which internationally renowned behavioural biologists are invited.

This year, the Brill Baerends Lecture will be presented by Prof. dr. Marla Sokolwski. She is a University Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto. Her innovative work is esteemed worldwide as a clear, integrative mechanistic paragon of the manner in which genes can interact with the environment, thus impacting behaviour. She has trail-blazed the development of a branch of Behaviour Genetics that addresses the genetic and molecular bases of natural individual differences in behaviour and is best known for her discovery of the foraging gene. She has published well over 135 publications and given close to 200 invited lectures. Professor Sokolowski is an award winning teacher and highly accomplished lecturer. She has supervised over 20 postdoctoral fellows and 35 graduate students with many of her trainees ascending to prestigious national and international academic positions. She has received Distinguished Visiting Professorships in the US and Europe where she contributes regularly to graduate education. She became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1998 for her pioneering work in the field of Behavioural Genetics and holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Genetics and Behavioural Neurology since 2001. In 2004 she became a Fellow of Massey College and in 2007 she received the Genetics Society of Canada’s Award of Excellence. She co-directs the Child and Brain Development Programme of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research where she is the Weston Fellow. She was the Director of the Life Sciences Division of the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada from 2009-2012. She was named a University Professor at University of Toronto in 2010 and was the Academic Director of the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development at University of Toronto from 2012 to 2014. In 2013 she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Other invited speakers include Martien Kas, Maaike Kempes, Oliver Krueger and Carolyn Declerck.

Prof. dr. Martien Kas has very recently been appointed as full professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES). His research focuses on determinants of behavior, especially of behavioral strategies and of biological processes that are relevant across species and that are affected in various psychiatric disorders (e.g., social interaction and sensory information processing). By means of interspecies genetic analysis of neurobehavioral traits (of mice and men) he aims to identify genotype-phenotype relationships relevant to the development and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, eating disorders, and schizophrenia.

Dr. Maaike Kempes received her graduate and postgraduate education at Utrecht University where she studied aggressive behaviour and conflict managment strategies in both rhesus monkeys and children. She is now a senior researcher at The Netherlands Institute of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology (NIFP), a centre of expertise for forensic psychiatry and psychology. Her research focuses on the neurobiological correlates in forensic assessment and on the placing of youth in forensic youth institutions.

Dr. Oliver Krueger is a full professor in animal behavior at the university of Bielefeld at the Behavioural Ecology Department. In his research, he studies life history strategy evolution, or, the way natural selection optimises the entire life of an organism. Differences between individuals and their life histories are evaluated by natural selection on the basis of fitness. Individual behaviour is bound to have consequences at the population level and, conversely, populations set the stage for the evolution of life history strategies and animal behaviour. As a consequence, by studying life history strategies, his research encompasses a triangle of evolution, ecology and ethology.

Dr. Carolyn Declerck holds a PhD in Ecology (‘Doctor in de Wetenschappen’) of the University of California Davis (1991) and is currently Professor at the University of Antwerp, Faculty of Economic Sciences. Before joining the teaching staff in 1999, she started her academic career as Adjunct Associate Professor at Portland State University (Oregon, USA) in the Department of Biology (1993-1999). In the Faculty of Economic Sciences, Carolyn teaches courses in Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, and Organizational Behavior, both at the bachelor and master level. As associated senior researcher of the ACED team (Antwerp Centre of Evolutionary Demography), an international Centre of Excellence of the Department of Management, she conducts interdisciplinary studies in Behavioral Economics and Neuroeconomics. Her research topics include the neural correlates of cooperation in social dilemma’s; the biological and social roots of personality and behavior; the role of the neurohormone oxytocin in human social behavior; brain systems involved in self-regulation.

For questions about the annual meeting, please contact me at

* The Brill Baerends Lecture is sponsored by Brill Publishers, publisher of Behaviour,one of the major journals in behavioural biology. The lecture is named after Prof. Dr. Gerard Baerends, who was editor of Behaviour for many years.

PhD workshop

As usual, the annual meeting will be preceded by a workshop for starting PhD-students on Wednesday 30th of November. This workshop is organised by Jean-Christophe Billeter ( and will feature a guest speaker and several PhD students who will present work from their research projects.

The theme of this year is ‘serendipity in scientific research and how to exploit unexpected observations’.

Ample time for discussion is planned in together with the invited speaker about how bio-ethics is playing a role in your studies. All PhD students in fields related to behavioural biology are invited to attend!

Register here.


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