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Emma investigates light therapy for depression

February 12, 2024

Emma Visser works at the Eindhoven University of Technology to study light therapy. This is a commonly used form of therapy for depressed patients, but how it exactly works or can be best applied is still under investigation. During her PhD project, Emma will study those questions under the supervision of dr. Luc Schlangen and prof. Yvonne de Kort. Emma introduces herself below:

Emma Visser

Who are you?

I am Emma Visser, and living and working in Eindhoven. Besides working I like to take care of my houseplants, cook and travel. 

What is your background?

In 2021, I graduated as a neuroscientist from the University of Utrecht. During my studies, I specialized in setting up clinical trials within the field of psychiatry and researched non-invasive therapies that can be used as an alternative to medication.

What is your BioClock project about?

I am involved in a project working on the optimization of Light Therapy and chronobiological interventions for patients with depression. Here fore, I work in close collaboration with my colleagues at the GGZe, as well as Leiden University and LUBEC, to examine how the application of Light Therapy changes a patients circadian rhythm and how this is related to their depressive symptoms. The ultimate goal is to establish clear guidelines for the use of light therapy in clinical practice, for which we perform research on the technical application of light therapy (e.g. perfecting the timing of the therapy in relation to a personal day/night rhythms) and gather insight into the optimal target group.

When did you first hear about the biological clock?

When I first heard about the BioClock project, I was instantly enthusiastic. During my academic career, I had never been in contact with chronobiology before, but I instantly recognized the importance of maintaining a healthy biological rhythm for mental health related issues. I am excited to implement the theories on chronobiology and light to improve psychiatric care and patient’s quality of life.

What should other people know about you? If I am not working on my research, you can probably find me at a (beach-)volleyball court. I have played volleyball semi-professionally for about 8 years, before I decided to focus more on my academic career and personal life. Now, I have more time to spend on my other hobbies.

You can contact Emma at

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The BioClock Consortium is funded by the NWA-ORC programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO; project number 1292.19.077).