About Niels: 

Niels is Alopecia UK’s Research and Liaison Manager and joined the charity in October 2022. He has been living in Scotland since moving there in 2012 to study at the University of Stirling. Although originally from the Netherlands, he now considers himself to be part Scottish (he even wears a kilt sometimes). He loves to get out into nature and take pictures of wildlife and landscapes while hiking through forests and up hills.  

Niels’ background: 

Niels has joined Alopecia UK fresh off the back of completing his PhD in Exercise, Physiology and Nutrition. As a researcher, Niels managed research projects with human participants, to investigate how differences in nutrition affect the body. He wants to make science more accessible to everyone by forming bridges between the scientific community and those who can benefit from their findings.  

Niels at Alopecia UK: 

As Research and Liaison Manager, Niels is responsible for driving forward the profile of alopecia research. It is crucial that we gain a better understanding of how alopecia affects people psychologically, what causes the different forms, and how we can treat or even cure it. People with alopecia have many questions and my role is to help the brilliant scientific community working in this field find answers. This is done by bringing together researchers and people with alopecia, for example through our Lay Research Panel, and supporting researchers through funding and recruitment for studies. A large part of the role also revolves around communicating the results of scientific studies with the alopecia community, and further bringing together researchers and people with alopecia during events like our Big Weekend.  

Why Alopecia UK: 

"Alopecia can affect people in profound ways. Although I have not personally experienced it, someone very close to me has. This has shown me the current understanding in society falls short of what is needed for people with alopecia to feel equal. As someone who has ADHD, I have also struggled with feelings of being different and not belonging. By talking about it to others, I was able to realise there is positive value in being different. Nevertheless, losing your hair unwillingly shouldn’t happen and I am eager to contribute to finding answers to the questions that so many of you have. With my background in research, I hope to help more people understand how the research that Alopecia UK helps facilitate can improve lives."  

Niels' favourite inspirational quote:

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of star-stuff. (Carl Sagan)

Reviewed by Alopecia UK on 25/03/2024