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Antoinette Maassen van den Brink from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam is the recipient of this year’s BIH Excellence Award for Sex and Gender Aspects in Health Research of the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH). Together with her project partner at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Professor Tobias Kurth, the director of the Institute of Public Health, Maassen van den Brink is investigating to what extent reproductive factors in women affect the course of migraine as well as researching the link between migraine and cardiovascular events. With the award, which comes with a prize of €40,000, the BIH supports medical research projects that take into account gender differences. The award ceremony will be held in Berlin on September 24.

The award ceremony took place on September 24, 2019 as part of the 2019 symposium in Berlin.

Antoinette Maassen van den Brink | Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Award Project: Migraine and vascular risk; a headache for women 
Project Partner: Prof. Dr. Tobias Kurth (Charité)

Research focus

Antoinette Maassen van den Brink investigates the neurovascular aspects of migraine, with a special emphasis on the role of female sex hormones in disease development. Previous studies by Antoinette and Tobias Kurth of Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin showed that the link between migraine, vascular health, and cardiovascular events is complex. Since many patients experience migraine only during certain periods of their lives, the course of migraine also plays an important role. The scientists suspect that other factors also influence migraine and the vascular system. They now want to investigate this in further research, which in Rotterdam will include functional studies in the lab and at the Charité a reanalysis of epidemiological data from the Women’s Health Study, which since 1993 has examined the health of women employed in the healthcare sector. Her research has a translational focus and involves in vivo experimental animal studies, human tissue models, and clinical trials.

Short biography

Dr. Antoinette Maassen van den Brink is Associate Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She is a board member of the Dutch Headache Society and the Dutch Pharmacology Society, as well as a founding member of the Dutch Society for Gender and Health. In addition, she sits on the board of directors of the European Headache Federation and of the Federation of European Pharmacology Societies. She has received numerous awards/grants for her work, including from the American Headache Society, the International Headache Society, the Netherlandse Organisation for Scientific Reseearch, and the Dutch Heart Foundation. She is co-editor of the book Gender and Migraine, published by Springer. 


Karin Höhne

Leiterin Stabsstelle Chancengleichheit / dezentrale Frauen- und Gleichstellungsbeauftragte

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