I'm a Dutch vertebrate palaeontologist studying the diversity of life in deep time. I am particularly interested in Triassic reptiles and their evolutionary radiation following the devastating Permo-Triassic mass extinction. This time of great innovation in reptile evolution allows me and my colleagues to investigate the origin of several reptile groups, to study the anatomy of extinct reptiles with completely unique body plans, to reconstruct long gone habitats, and to investigate the impact of mass extinctions.
My research has addressed issues relating to taxonomy, functional morphology, biogeography, evolutionary development (evo-devo), phylogeny, histology, and palaeoecology. I have studied a broad taxonomic sample of vertebrates, including living marsupials, rhynchocephalians, dinosaurs, early crocodylians, early archosaurs, and sauropterygians.
I started my career as a Biology student at Leiden University in my native Netherlands. From there I went on to do research projects at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden with Prof. Dr. Anne Schulp to work on the famous Mongolian dinosaur Protoceratops and at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin with PD Dr. Ingmar Werneburg to work on marsupial cranial development.
I conducted my PhD research at the University of Zurich under the supervision of PD Dr. Torsten Scheyer, studying the phylogeny and palaeobiology of “Protorosauria”, a group of enigmatic Permo-Triassic stem-archosaurs, which includes the wonderfully weird long-necked Tanystropheus.
My first postdoctoral position was as an SNF-funded Research Fellow at The Natural History Museum in London, where I studied Late Triassic archosaurs from the UK, working with Dr. Susie Maidment and Prof. Dr. Richard Butler. This research is being funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
Currently, I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Stuttgart State Museum for Natural History where I study a very exciting new diapsid reptile from the Buntsandstein (early Middle Triassic) of Alsace, France, with Prof. Dr. Rainer Schoch. For this project I'm applying synchrotron radiation and SEM imaging, among other methods, to investigate this new material, which includes very rare soft-tissue preservation.
I have conducted palaeontological fieldwork in seven different countries (the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, UK, Poland, Morocco, and South Africa), and through my research I have visited collections around the world.