Michelle Achterberg is an Assistant Professor in Child and Family studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam, with an interest in social competence development. In her studies, she focusses on the underlying neural mechanisms of, and environmental influences on, social competence development in childhood and adolescence.


Michelle is one of the PI's on a large longitudinal twin study on brain development in childhood and emerging adolescence, as part of the Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID). Within this study Michelle specifically focusses on longitudinal brain development and its relation to social information processing and behavioral control. Additionally, she is expanding her knowledge of functional and structural brain connectivity and investigates how brain development is influenced by genes and the environment


Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Research Master’s degree in Neuroscience. During her masters, Michelle worked as a research intern at the department of (child) psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, where she gained her first experience with neuroimaging in children. Following her passion for developmental neuroscience, Michelle joined Prof. dr. Eveline Crone’s Brain and Development Lab in 2014. In 2016 Michelle received a KNAW ter Meulen grant and Leiden University Fund to visit Prof. dr. Nim Tottenham at Columbia University New York. Michelle has presented her work on numerous national and international conferences and has received several trainee and travel awards.


In March 2020, Michelle defended her PhD thesis on “the nature, nurture and neural mechanisms of social emotion regulation in childhood”, for which she received the highest distinction (cum laude). After her PhD she did a two year postdoc at the Society, Youth and Neuroscience Connected (SYNC) lab, at which she is still affiliated.