Blog & News

The CAPICE blog hosts news and announcements, events, media and articles, mostly written by the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs).
They constantly pursue the publication of articles about their research during their activities carried on within this project, and this blog works as a travelogue to disseminate the research results to a broad audience of scientists, clinicians, patients and their parents and the general public.

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Hi, I’m Eshim Shahid. I’m one of the two Capice PhD students at VU Amsterdam and started in August, 2017. I was born in Pakistan and moved to the UK as an adolescent so I’ve experienced education in both Eastern and Western settings. I studied psychology at Royal Holloway and did my Master’s in psychiatric research at King’s College London. I consistently juggled with the idea of clinical work versus research throughout my education but ultimately decided that I was most interested in understanding how and why psychiatric problems develop. 

Still, the field of psychiatric research is quite broad and it wasn’t until halfway through my Master’s degree that I was finally introduced to psychiatric genetics, Manhattan plots and the mysterious case of the missing heritability.

I was drawn to the Capice project because it uses a genetic approach that also considers the role of the environment, to understand the development of early mental health problems in children and adolescents. Coming from a psychology background, the first few months of my PhD have focused heavily on learning all about behavioural genetics and methods of analyses. In my project, I will be focusing on the etiology of internalizing problems in children and adolescents, by looking at common genetic variants and how they interplay with other risk factors.
6 months in, Amsterdam is treating me very well. I am settling in and find my work to be both intellectually stimulating and challenging. One of the things I enjoy the most is being in an open and collaborative setting with access to very talented minds who are always keen to help. Aside from a great working environment, my new colleagues have made Wonu and I feel very welcome and introduced us to all sorts of Dutch customs, food, TV, and culture.
I’ve already picked up a couple of Dutch idiosyncrasies. This time last year, I didn’t know how to cycle which is a pretty essential life skill here in the Netherlands. Within a couple of weeks of moving to Amsterdam, I became the proud owner of my first bike, called Rosalind, and use it as my main mode of transport now. Also, having lived in London for a number of years and being accustomed to British social norms, Dutch friendliness took me by surprise. I now find myself smiling at strangers and greeting them in elevators; a habit I must remember to quickly lose when I go back to London.

Get in Touch!


Prof. Christel Middeldorp, project coordinator

VU University Amsterdam
Dept. of Biological Psychology
email : c.m.middeldorp(at)

Natascha Stroo, project manager
VU University Amsterdam
Dept. of Biological Psychology
email : natascha.stroo(at)

Matteo Mauri, web & dissemination manager
University of Cagliari
email : matteo.mauri(at)

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