Alexandre HEEREN

Alexandre HEEREN, PhD [CV]

Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Fellow of the Helaers Foundation

Currently at McNally Lab, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA


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Dr Heeren’s research interest is in the exploration of cognitive mechanisms of psychopathology, mostly anxiety disorders. His works include behavioral, cognitive, and neuroscience approaches, highlight novel interventions, and also cover methodological and metric issues. Among his current projects are network analyses (a.k.a. graph theory) applied to anxiety disorders.  Dr. Heeren earned his MSc and PhD in Psychological Sciences from the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium), where he worked under the supervision of Prof. Pierre Philippot. He also earned a postgraduate clinical training from a joint program of Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium) and the University of Geneva (Switzerland). Dr. Heeren’s clinical experience includes serving as an intern therapist for clients suffering from anxiety disorders at the Emotional Consulting Center of the Department of Psychology (UCL, Belgium) over a three-year period.

Since October 2012, Dr. Heeren has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. From October 2012 to October 2015, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Laboratory for Experimental Psychology (UCL, Belgium), visiting scholar at the Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory (collaborating with Prof. R. De Raedt & Prof. E.H.W. Koster) at Ghent University (Belgium), and visiting scholar at the Department of Psychology (collaborating with Prof. R.J. McNally) at Harvard University (MA, USA). Since October 2015, he has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University (MA, USA), working under the supervision of Prof. Richard J. McNally.

In addition to conducting research, he has been a lecturer in data analysis, advanced research methods, anxiety disorders, and experimental psychopathology for several European universities (e.g., UCL, Université de Poitiers, University of Geneva). Dr. Heeren has also been involved as a scientific expert for several national and governmental research councils (e.g., Australian Research CouncilIsrael Science Foundation; Health Services and Population Health Research of the Scottish Government). He also serves as Associate Editorial Board member for Behaviour Research and Therapy, Associate Editor for Frontiers in Psychology (section: Psychopathology), and Associate Editorial Board Member for BMC Psychiatry (“Stress and Anxiety” section). Over the last years, Dr. Heeren has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships for both his research and clinical works.

Professional Social Media: 

Research Gate – Google Scholar Profile – LinkedIn Profile – Twitter

Research domains
  • (Neuro-)cognitive models of psychopathology (mostly anxiety disorders)
  • Attentional bias for threatening cues
  • Experimental  psychopathology (mostly anxiety disorders)
  • (Neuro-)cognitive rehabilitation for anxiety disorders
  • Tools: Self-reported, behavioural, and neuroscience methods

Teaching (as sole instructor)
  • LPSYM2133 Techniques of Examination for Uncommon Dataset (meta-analysis, network analysis, time series, Bayesian approach for single-case, introduction to Matlab) (UCL, Belgium)
  • R&D in Experimental Cognitive Psychopathology (Master 2 en Recherche & Applications, Université de Poitiers, France)

Editorial Activities

Key Recent Publications (the 5 most recent representative)
  • Heeren, A. & McNally, R.J. (2016). An Integrative Network Approach to Social Anxiety Disorder: The complex Dynamic Interplay among Attentional Bias for Threat, Attentional Control, and Symptoms. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 42, 95-104 [PDF]
  • Heeren, A., Billieux, J., Philippot, P., de Raedt, R., Baeken, C., de Timary, P., Maurage, P., & Vanderhasselt, M.-A. (in press). Impact of transcranial direct current stimulation on attentional bias for threat: A proof-of-concept study among individuals with social anxiety disorder. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience
  • Heeren, A., Mogoaşe, C., Philippot, P., & McNally, R.J. (2015). Attention bias modification for social anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 40, 76-90 [PDF]
  • Heeren, A., Mogoaşe, C., McNally, R. J., Schmitz, A., & Philippot, P. (2015). Does attention bias modification improve attentional control? A double-blind randomized experiment with individuals with social anxiety disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 29, 1, 35-42. [PDF]
  •  Heeren, A., Philippot, P., & Koster, E.W.H. (2015). Impact of the temporal stability of preexistent attentional bias for threat on its alteration through attention bias modification. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 49, 69-75 [PDF]
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