Nicolaas Puts, PhD

About me:

My name is Nick (Nicolaas) Puts. I am a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Forensic and Neurodevelopmental Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, United Kingdom

I run the “Sensory InPuts” lab (pardon the pun) where we study sensory processing in health and disease. We use a combinations of methods, including Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Psychophysics, and other physiological measures, to assess sensory processing in children with and without neurodevelopmental conditions (autism, ADHD, Tourettes syndrome). Ultimately, our aim is to better understand the nature of sensory difficulties, and to identify clear biomarkers of altered sensory function with impact on the core symptoms of ASD and ADHD with clear targets for potential diagnosis and intervention.

I have a strong interest in supporting junior scientists in their career development, developed a short but useful Individual Development Plan, and was the first appointed Postdoc Program Director in my Department at JHU.communicating science and teaching other scientists how to communicate. I also have a strong interest in science communication to the public, and developed workshops on science communication. One of my workshops focuses on ‘giving a 10 min conference talk’ mostly focused to junior scientists. Other workshops involve ‘removing jargon and finding a hook’ and ‘elevator pitches’.

In my spare time I love cycling (both off- and onroad) and photography, and I am a dad to two lovely children! I thoroughly enjoy cooking and baking!

Biography:

Originally hailing from the Netherlands, I received my BSc in Biology and MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and I spent time doing research at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan and at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany.

I did my PhD in the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) in Cardiff, Wales, UK. During my PhD I worked with Dr. David McGonigle to investigate the role of cortical oscillations and baseline neurochemistry (GABA) in shaping the response to tactile stimulation, focusing on brain changes during sensory adaptation. We adapted existing behavioral methods to be applied with MEG recordings and developed and optimised the acquisition of GABA-edited MRS for the somatosensory cortex.

I then moved to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, where I predominantly worked with by Prof. Richard Edden and Prof. Stewart Mostofsky, focused on MRS development and the application of MRS and sensory measures in neurodevelopment. Most of my work was performed in the F.M. Kirby Research Center for Functional Brain Imaging at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. I worked, and continue to work, very closely with Dr. Mark Tommerdahl at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

At King’s College I work predominantly in applying behavioural and MRI approaches to study sensory processing in neurodevelopmental conditions along the AIMS-2-TRIALS consortium. I support MRS acquisition and analysis at multiple sites world-wide. I am co-module lead in Research Methods and statistics for our MSc in Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences and regularly take students for projects.

We also have new lines of work studying affective touch and functional MRS.

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