Press release NIAS

Iris Sommer selected as Distinguished Lorentz Fellow

15 December 2021
Psychiatrist Iris Sommer of the University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen has been awarded the Distinguished Lorentz Fellowship 2022/23 for her research on computational linguistics in psychiatry. During her fellowship, she will try to unravel how automatic language analysis can help recognize and monitor psychotic disorders.

Professor Iris Sommer is a world leading expert on schizophrenia, who aims to find objective measures – or biomarkers – that help diagnose whether a patient is in a psychosis. While brain scans and blood tests have shown disappointing results, the recent research from her team is showing that patients’ language use can reliably reveal whether someone is having a psychosis. Sommer and her colleagues are therefore developing artificial intelligence that can analyse both what patients are saying and how they are saying it in order to diagnose and monitor a psychotic disorder.

The DLF Fellowship allows Iris Sommer to take the linguistic software models to a next level, by working together intensively with experts from other disciplines, especially linguists and computer scientists. Aim is to see whether automated speech analysis also works in other languages, and to build AI software that is accurate but also ethically sound.

Arjen Doelman, director of the Lorentz Center: “The work of Iris Sommer is inherently multidisciplinary, it combines the fields of linguistics, artificial intelligence (Al) and neuroscience to drive the development of novel tools for diagnosis and treatment monitoring in psychiatry. This rich blend of the medical, the natural and the social sciences with a direct impact in everyday life lies at the very core of what the NIAS-Lorentz collaboration program is all about.”

Read the full press release on the NIAS-website.

Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS)

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS-KNAW) is an Academy research institute. It stimulates advanced research in the humanities and social sciences, international knowledge-sharing and research cooperation. NIAS offers talented researchers the opportunity to work on new insights in interdisciplinary and international teams, set up new partnerships, or seek solutions for the problems of society.

The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS-KNAW) is located in Amsterdam (Korte Spinhuissteeg 3, 1012 CG Amsterdam).