Dr. Laura Steenbergen aims to help humans in achieving well-being and happiness. She strongly believes in interdisciplinarity to reach this; until individual academic disciplines venture beyond their comfortable islands of expertise, we will be left with many unanswered questions.
Laura received her PhD in Cognitive Enhancement, i.e., techniques to enhance cognitive performance, from Leiden University in 2016. After this, she worked at the University of Amsterdam, the Ohio State University, and the University of Oxford, where she specialized herself in the influence of the bacteria in our guts on mental processes. Since 2018, she is back at Leiden University and the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC) to investigate if, and how, gut bacteria may be used to influence cognitive- and emotional processes and enhance well-being.
For the work she has done so far she was awarded the Young Scientist award from the European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
The research she does has been, and is, supported by grants from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), the Gratama Foundation and the Leiden University Fund, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
As an extension to her scientific work, Laura values and enjoys sharing her experiences, knowledge, and ideas, and giving people food for thought. For example, she had her own theatre lecture series “Op Zoek naar Geluk“ in 2017-2018 and featured as one of the ‘Mahler five’ great thinkers of the Netherlands discussing major life questions with various audiences in 2019.A combination of these efforts resulted in her taking position in the top 25 ‘New Scientist Wetenschapstalent‘ from the Dutch New Scientist.