I received my MA in phonetics, German language and linguistics, and computational linguistics from Trier University (Germany) in 1994. The same year, I was awarded a scholarship from the German Max Planck Society to do a Ph.D. at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. In 1997, I received my Ph.D. in Psychology from the Radboud University in Nijmegen. In my PhD dissertation, I investigated the role of the syllable in lexical access during speech production.
In March 1998, I became affiliated as a post-doctoral research fellow with the Cognitive Neuropsychology Laboratory of the Psychology Department at Harvard University. During my post-doc, I investigated the role of the sublexical units (segments, syllables) in English speech production, the selection of grammatical features such as gender and number during speech production in German and Dutch, as well as language processing in brain-damaged patients.
From February 2000 to August 2003, I was a research scientist of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience of the Faculty of Psychology at Maastricht University and at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
In September 2003 my VICI "vernieuwingsimpuls" grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) started at Maastricht University and in March 2004, I was appointed professor of psycholinguistics at Maastricht University.
As of 2005, I became a member of De Jonge Akademie [The Young Academy] of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In July 2006, I moved to Leiden to become professor of psycho- and neurolinguistics at the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC) and the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics (LUCL) at Leiden University. In 2010/2011, I was a researcher in residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) in the Humanities and Social Sciences.