Anna Laura van der Laan

Anna Laura van der Laan

Department of Philosophy (room C323)

University of Twente

Postbox 217

7500 AE Enschede

telephone: +31-53-4892662


My background is in Medicine (drs.) and Philosophy (a one-year pre-master program). This combination of medicine and philosophy brought me to the field of Medical Ethics. I wrote my master thesis on fundamental philosophical and ethical implications of screening on Alzheimer’s disease. From 2005 – 2009 I worked as coordinator of the Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics, at the Radboud University Nijmegen, Medical Centre. During that period I also participated as a research assistent in a NWO-project on ethical aspects of genetic research in Alzheimer’s disease.


At December 1st 2009, I started to work as a (part-time) PhD-student at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Twente. My project is part of the larger NWO-project Responsible early diagnostics for Alzheimer’s Disease (project leader: dr. Marianne Boenink). This project aims to contribute to the design of a responsible practice for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) diagnostics, focusing on the question how to respond to uncertainties in the innovation of AD diagnostics. In my research, I empirically investigate how practices of innovating AD diagnostics are framed by the concept of “translational research”. This concept reflects the aim of having clinical practices, individual patients and society at large reap the benefits of progresses made in biomedical sciences. I inquire what this means for the innovation practices concerned: what is actually being done to improve ‘translation’? What actors are involved? And how are responsibilities distributed? In this way, I aim to explicate the underlying assumptions about the way science and technology development contribute to the improvement of Alzheimer’s diagnostics. I compare these findings with an empirical exploration of current diagnostic practices for AD. In doing so I argue for re-framing the ideal of ‘translation’ into the quest for a mutual ‘fit’ between innovation practices of Alzheimer’s diagnostics and clinical practices of diagnosing AD.

Promotors and supervisors

Prof.dr. Philip Brey and dr. Marianne Boenink



Member of the 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology (


Member of the Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC)



Laan, A.L. van der & M. Boenink: 2012, The concept of Translational Research. An exploration of its meaning, rationales and presuppositions. Health Care Analysis,

doi: 10.1007/s10728-012-0236-x. Free download

Laan, A.L. van der & M. Boenink: 2012, “Bij goed patiëntgericht translationeel onderzoek moeten onderzoekers bereid zijn om buiten de vertrouwde paden van het eigen vakgebied durven te treden.” Gesprek met Peter Luijten en Henny Bruinewoud. Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidszorg en Ethiek 22(1):26-28

Laan, A.L. van der & M. Boenink: 2012, Translationeel onderzoek: voorbij de retoriek van ‘bench to bedside’. Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidszorg en Ethiek 22(1):4-9

Laan, A.L. van der: 2012, Translationeel onderzoek: een korte geschiedenis. Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidszorg en Ethiek 22(1):3

Laan, A.L. van der & Y.M. Cuijpers: 2011, Verantwoorde ontwikkeling van vroegdiagnostiek voor de ziekte van Alzheimer? NVBe-nieuwsbrief 18(5):15-17

Boenink, M., Y.M. Cuijpers, A.L. van der Laan, H. van Lente, E.H.M. Moors: 2011. Assessing the Sociocultural Impacts of Emerging Molecular Technologies for the Early Diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease. International Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, doi:10.4061/2011/184298. Free download

Vorm, A van der, A.L. van der Laan et al: 2010, Experts’ opinions on ethical issues of genetic research into Alzheimer’s disease: results of a Delphi study in the Netherlands. Clinical Genetics 77(4): 382-8.

Laan, A.L. van der: 2010, Boekbespreking: M.H. Derksen, ‘Engineering Flesh, Towards Professional Responsibility for Lived Bodies.’ NVBe-nieuwsbrief 17(1), 20-21.

Laan, A.L. van der: 2007, Boekbespreking: K. Horstman en R. Houtepen, ‘Worstelen met gezond leven. Ethiek in de preventie van hart- en vaatziekten.’ Tijdschrift voor Gezondheidszorg en Ethiek 17(1): 30.

Conference papers

Anna Laura van der Laan, Yvonne Cuijpers and Marianne Boenink, HTA in a translational setting: opportunities and limitations for Responsible Innovation. NWO Responsible Innovation Conference 2012, The Hague, The Netherlands

Anna Laura van der Laan, Beyond bench and bedside: disentangling the concept of translational research. Expert workshop ‘Values in translational research: Exploring the role of patient involvement as a way to enhance ethical reflection’. 24 November 2012, Enschede, The Netherlands

Anna Laura van der Laan, Yvonne Cuijpers and Marianne Boenink, New and emerging HTA-practices. Health technology assessment of new and emerging Alzheimer’s Diagnostics. Conference Society for the study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET). 23 October 2012, Enschede, The Netherlands

Marianne Boenink and Anna Laura van der Laan, Proteins, diseases and guidelines: Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease and their role in the translational process. International conference Biomarker Governance, ‘Towards personalized medicine? Exploring biomarkers in practice’. 29 June 2012, Vienna, Austria

Anna Laura van der Laan and Marianne Boenink, Three concepts of Translational Research. Conference Society for the study of Nanoscience and Emerging Technologies (S.NET). 9 November 2011, Tempe, Arizona, USA

Anna Laura van der Laan and Marianne Boenink, Translational Research and relevant knowledge. The case of developing early diagnostics for Alzheimer’s Disease. International Neuroethics Conference, Brain Matters II: Ethics in the Translation of Neuroscience Research to Psychiatric and Neurological Care. 26 May 2011, Montréal, Québec, Canada

Anna Laura van der Laan, Understanding the meaning and doing of Alzheimer’s Disease: the role of uncertainties. EASST Conference, Practicing science and technology, performing the social. 3 September 2010, Trento, Italy