Céline obtained an MSc in Psychology (2007) and a PhD in Biomedical Sciences (2012) at the KU Leuven. Her doctoral training was supported by a fellowship of the Research Foundation Flanders. She conducted functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging studies in neurotypical individuals as well as patients with acquired (due to stroke) and degenerative (due to Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body disease) brain damage to characterize the neuroanatomy of visual attention in the human cortex. The research led to a functional neuroanatomical model of attention, which has been discussed in several review articles and book chapters and through which she gained international recognition in the field. Céline moved to the University of Oxford in 2012, after being granted a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship by the Wellcome Trust and a Junior Research Fellowship by Wolfson College. In Oxford, she developed state-of-the-art tools for the diagnosis of cognitive deficits in patients with brain disorders and gained new knowledge about the contribution of structural and functional connectivity to cognitive functions and deficits. Supported by the Odysseus programme of the Research Foundation Flanders, Céline started her research group at the KU Leuven in 2016. Besides Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology at the KU Leuven, she is member of the Young Academy of Flanders and the Steering Committee of TRACE, a Center for Translational Health Research. Her research is aimed at understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive deficits in patients with brain injury and at developing inclusive and accessible tools for the assessment and rehabilitation of these deficits.
The brain not only allows us to move, breathe and see, but also to communicate with each other, to remember pleasant and less pleasant events, and to focus on what is important in our daily life. To function in an efficient manner, the brain needs oxygen supplied by blood vessels. During a stroke, part of the brain no longer receives blood, causing it to die. Stroke survivors suddenly notice that a number of things they could do are no longer possible. Physical problems may arise, such as paralysis or vision problems, but also cognitive problems such as difficulty speaking or understanding language, attention and concentration disorders, increased sensitivity to stimuli or memory problems. Although consequences at the cognitive level are not immediately visible to the outside world, they have a major impact on rehabilitation and a negative influence on the quality of life of patients and their relatives. The purpose of my research is to better understand the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying these disorders. I use new measuring instruments to map the cognitive consequences of a stroke in a sensitive manner, and advanced imaging techniques to understand which brain mechanisms contribute to the development and recovery of these disorders. From this knowledge and by making use of new technologies, such as virtual reality, I aim to develop rehabilitation protocols that can improve the quality of life of patients and their relatives.