Group leaders
Position Assistant Professor Group leader of Neurocognition of Mood Disorders
Research fields Functional Neuroimaging, Structural Neuroimaging, Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Major Depressive Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Preventive Cognitive Therapy, Longitudinal Imaging
  • Research Profile
  • Selected Publications
  • Marie-José van Tol received her MSc in Psychology from Utrecht University (2004) and her PhD cum laude from Leiden University (2011). During her PhD, she studied the common and unique neurocognitive underpinnings of major depressive disorders and common anxiety disorders. Following her graduation, she joined the group of Prof. André Aleman at the University Medical Centre (UMCG). Then she joined the Cognitive and Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory (CANLAB) of Dr Martin Walter at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN, Magdeburg, Germany) studying abnormal glutamate metabolism and functional connectivity underlying depression.

    In 2013, she returned to the group of Prof. André Aleman to join the Apathy Study, to investigate the mechanisms of neurostimulative treatment of apathy in schizophrenia. In 2014, she was awarded a VENI grant by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research and a Fellowship by the Dutch Brain Foundation (‘Hersenstichting’). In 2016 she won the Early Career Award from the Dutch Neuropsychological Society, and in 2018 she won the Early Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society and the KNAW – Heineken Young Scientist Award in the social sciences.

    Her research focuses on major depressive disorders, and especially factors that promote a prolonged course of these disorders. In collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry of the UMCG, she is involved in the Neuroimaging Study of the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA). Furthermore, she is the principal investigator on the NEW-PRIDE study ( investigating the effects of preventive cognitive therapy to understand the mechanisms of relapse in depression. Together with applied linguist Prof. dr. Merel Keijzer and PhD—student Saskia Nijmeijer she investigates the effect of complex cognitive skill training on cognitive functioning and mood in elderly ( and in collaboration with artificial intelligence expert dr. Marieke van Vugt and PhD-student Marlijn Besten she investigates how content of negative mind wandering in depression can be influenced in order to prevent depression.

    Since 2016 is Marie-José a (founding) member of the Young Academy Groningen and since 2019 a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (

    • All Publications: mepa page or  pdf Selected Publications:
      1. Schmaal L*, Marquand AF*, Rhebergen D, van Tol MJ, Ruhé HG, van der Wee NJ, Veltman DJ, Penninx BW (2015). Predicting the naturalistic course of major depressive disorder using clinical and multimodal neuroimaging information: a multivariate pattern recognition study. Biological Psychiatry
      2. Ai H, Opmeer EM, Veltman DJ, van der Wee NJ, van Buchem MA, Aleman A, van Tol MJ (2015). Brain Activation During Emotional Memory Processing Associated with Subsequent Course of Depression. Neuropsychopharmacology
      3. van Tol MJ*, Li W*, Li M, Miao M, Jiao Y, Heinze HJ, Bogerts B, He H, Walter M (2014). Regional Specificity of Sex Effects on Subcortical Volumes Across the Lifespan in Healthy Aging. Human Brain Mapping
      4. van Tol MJ, van der Meer L, Modinos G, Bruggeman R, Knegtering H, Aleman A (2014). Voxel-based gray and white matter morphometry correlates of hallucinations in schizophrenia: the superior temporal gyrus does not stand alone. NeuroImage: Clinical
      5. van Tol MJ, Veer IM, van der Wee NJ, Aleman A, van Buchem MA, Rombouts SA, Zitman FG, Veltman DJ, Johnstone T (2013). Whole-brain functional connectivity during emotional word classification in medication-free Major Depressive Disorder: Abnormal salience circuitry and relations to positive emotionality. NeuroImage: Clinical
      6. van Tol MJ, Li M, Metzger CD, Hailla N, Horn DI, Li W, Heinze HJ, Bogerts B, Steiner J, He H, M. Walter (2013). Local cortical thinning links to resting-state disconnectivity in major depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine
      7. van Tol MJ*, Demenescu LR*,van der Wee NJ, Kortekaas R, Nielen MM, Den Boer JA, Renken R, van Buchem MA, Zitman FG, Aleman A, Veltman DJ (2012). BOLD fMRI correlates of emotional word encoding and recognition in depression and anxiety disorders. Biological Psychiatry
      8. van Tol MJ, van der Wee NJ, Demenescu LR, Nielen MM, Aleman A, Renken RJ, van Buchem MA, Veltman DJ (2011). Functional MRI correlates of visuospatial planning in outpatient depression and anxiety. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
      9. van Tol MJ, van der Wee NJ, van den Heuvel OA, Aleman A, Demenescu LR, van Buchem MA, Veltman DJ, Zitman FG. (2010). Regional brain volume in depression and anxiety disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry
      10. van Harmelen AL*, van Tol MJ*, van der Wee NJ, Veltman DJ, Aleman A, Spinhoven P, Zitman FG, Penninx BA, Elzinga BM (2010). Reduced medial prefrontal cortex volume in adults reporting childhood emotional maltreatment. Biological Psychiatry
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