Kirsten van Baarsen graduated in 2005 as an orthoptist and optometrist at the Utrecht School for Higher Education. Aspiring to become an ophthalmologist, she started medical school at the Utrecht University in 2006. As a result of her research on the effects of brain surgery on the visual functions of epileptic patients she became intrigued by the field of neurosurgery. Therefore, after graduating as a medical doctor (MD) in 2009 she started working at the Nijmegen Neurosurgical Centre (NCCN) in the Netherlands and in January 2011 she was admitted as a trainee. By 2016 she is expected to complete her training as a neurosurgeon.

Kirsten’s particular interests are skull base surgery, functional neurosurgery and pediatric neurosurgery. In collaboration with the Nijmegen University Department of Anatomy, the Twente Technical University and the Donders Institute for Cognitive NeuroImaging (all in the Netherlands), she initiated a research project to investigate the functional cerebellar anatomy aiming to make surgery in this part of the brain more precise and safe. Kirsten aims to defend her PhD thesis on this research in 2016, one of the subjects of her thesis is about cerebellar mutism, click here for more details.