Dr. Dennis Hernaus is an Assistant Professor at the School for Mental Health
and Neuroscience (MHENS; Div. 2 Mental Health). In his work, Dennis employs
a multi-layered approach that includes neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, and
computational modeling, to investigate:
1) The role of the dopamine and noradrenaline system in learning and decision making
2) How (acute) stress prompts changes in instrumental learning and value-based
3) The origins of learning and decision-making deficits in people that suffer from mental illness,
with a special emphasis on motivational deficits
Prior to his appointment at Maastricht University, Dennis worked as a postdoc in the lab of Dr.
James Waltz (U. Maryland) and was trained in fMRI and psychopharmacology of the dopamine
system at King’s College London, under the supervision of Dr. Mitul Mehta.
Hernaus D, Gold JM, Waltz JA, Frank MJ (2018): Impaired Expected Value Computations
Coupled With Overreliance on Stimulus-Response Learning in Schizophrenia. Biological
psychiatry Cognitive neuroscience and neuroimaging. 3:916-926.
Shine JM, van den Brink RL, Hernaus D, Nieuwenhuis S, Poldrack RA (2018):
Catecholaminergic manipulation alters dynamic network topology across cognitive states.
Netw Neurosci. 2:381-396.
Hernaus D, van Amelsvoort T (2018): Glutamate-dopamine matters in psychosis. The lancet
Hernaus D, Quaedflieg C, Offermann JS, Casales Santa MM, van Amelsvoort T (2018):
Neuroendocrine stress responses predict catecholamine-dependent working memory-related
dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience. 13:114-123.
Hernaus D, Casales Santa MM, Offermann JS, Van Amelsvoort T (2017): Noradrenaline
transporter blockade increases fronto-parietal functional connectivity relevant for working
memory. European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of
functional magnetic resonance imaging; psychopharmacology; reinforcement learning; decision making; stress; computational models of decision making; schizophrenia; depression; positron emission tomography
Dr. Hernaus is currently considering internship applications from (MSc.) students. Current and active projects focus on dopaminergic and noradrenergic contributions to stress-induced changes in reinforcement learning and value-based decision.