Education and internships

International fellowship

Our department regularly hosts foreign neurologists or neurologists in training for fellowships of several months, sometimes up to a year. These fellowships offer them the opportunity to quickly gain a lot of clinical experience with movement disorders, especially dystonia. Our fellows participate in the outpatient clinics of professor De Koning-Tijssen and doctor Van Laar and, in doing so, get a comprehensive picture of the diagnostics and treatment of movement disorders. They also participate in (English-language) video sessions and science meetings about movement disorders.

We are part of the MDS (Movement Disorders Society) visiting trainee program. As one of the host institutions we offer several placements for trainees from abroad. Click here for more information on the program.

International fellowships up to today:

  • Kathryn Peall | Cardiff, UK | 01-04-2013 - 01-08-2013
  • Krzysztof Sadowski | Polen | mei 2014
  • Stanislaw Szlufik | Polen | mei 2014
  • Vladimir Han | Kosice, Slowakije | 01-04-2015 - 01-07-2015
  • Matej Skorvanek | Kosice, Slowakije | 01-09-2016 01-10-2016
  • Ramona Valante | Litouwen | 01-04-2017 - 01-06-2017
  • Álvaro Sánchez-Ferro | Madrid, Spanje | november 2018
  • Gintaute Rutkauskaite | Lithuania | 01-09-2019 – 01-03-2020
  • Dace Ziemele | Riga, Latvia | March 2020 resident Neurology Erasmus scholarship
  • Luca Pellini | Pediatric neurologist University of Rome | 2021 | 1 yr                
  • Bélen Perez Dueñas | Pediatric neurologist, Spain | ERN-RND Short Exchange 2021 | 1 mo
  • Anna Bochenek | Resident neurology, Poland | 01-2022-04-2022
  • Figen Esmeli | Neurologist, Balıikesir University, Turkey | October/November 2022
  • Martje Pauly | Resident neurology, University of Lübeck, Germany | October 2022
  • Tatiana Lorincova | Resident neurology, Slovakia | 01-01-2023 - 01-07-2023


Luca Pollini, Italy

My name is Luca Pollini, I am a child neurologist and psychiatry from Rome, Italy. Within the years of my residency program, I developed an interest into movement disorders. In November 2020 I joined a PhD program in Rome, and I had the opportunity to spend 1 year in the movement disorders clinic of UMCG, supervised by Prof. dr. Marina de Koning-Tijssen.

In Groningen I was able to join different outpatient clinics, and to participate to video-session and research meetings. I found many people from several specialties (neurologists, neurophysiologists, pediatricians, geneticists) to collaborate with each other to offer a comprehensive assessment and management to patients with movement disorders. Discussing and learning from many experts was extremely useful to improve my knowledge in movement disorders field.

Further, I was able to join and conduct research on clinical and neurophysiological characterization of hyperkinetic movement disorders. In Groningen I found a wonderful group of people that helped me at the beginning of my staying, and made the whole year easier and enjoyable. Staying in Groningen really improved both my clinical and research skills, and strength even more my interest in movement disorders. Groningen is definitely a place to be for people that wants to learn more about movement disorders.

To conclude, I would like to thank Prof. Marina


Dace Ziemele, Latvia

My name is Dace Ziemele, I am a neurology resident from Riga, Latvia. I came to the UMCG in March 2020 on an ERASMUS scholarship. Unfortunately, my stay was cut short due to the global restrictions following the spread of the new Coronavirus. Nonetheless, I gained remarkable experience during the 2 weeks that I spent at the Movement Disorders department.

My time here was mostly spent in the outpatient clinics seeing patients with various hyperkinteic movement disorders, including functional movement disorders. I was also welcomed at the Punt voor Parkinson – an expertise centre for people with Parkinson’s disease and other parkinsonisms. The different patient cases were always discussed and explained to me, my questions were kindly answered. I received amazing tips and valuable advice regarding disease recognition and patient care. During the week there were also other activities that took place – scientific meetings, patient (video) presentations and discussions. The doctors and other staff were very helpful and made me feel welcome at all times.

I am very thankful to all the professors, knowledgable doctors, talented residents and other staff that made my time at the UMCG so enjoyable and valuable. I am most grateful to prof. dr. Marina de Koning-Tijssen for giving me such an opportunity, supporting me and supervising my stay.


Gintaute Rutkauskaite, Lithuania

My name is Gintaute Rutkauskaite and I am a neurologist from Lithuania. I had a wonderful opportunity to be a fellow for 6 months at Movement disorder department at UMCG and be supervised by professor Marina de Koning-Tijssen. Before this traineeship I was working as a resident doctor at Vilnius University Santaros Clinics in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Every new beginning is hard, especially in a different country and far away from family. But this beginning was easier than I expected, because I was surrounded by friendly colleagues, who were always willing to help, teach and explain.

During my traineeship most of the time I spent in outpatient clinic, where I saw rare movement disorder patients and was learning from talented neurologists. Every week I participated in video sessions, where we discussed about seen phenomenology and possible aetiologies. Also I attended to scientific meetings, journal clubs and grand rounds in Neurology department. Furthermore, I was a part of the scientific project, in which we tested Niemann-Pick type C patients with newly designed eye-tracker.

In UMCG I’ve found excellent clinical practice in neurology, teaching and team-working examples.

Thanks for all colleagues and especially for professor Marina de Koning-Tijssen.


Vladimir Han, Slovakia

Let me introduce myself: my name is Vladimir Han and I come from Slovakia. After completion of my medical studies at the Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic in 2008 I have started to work at the Dept. of Neurology, University Hospital in Kosice, Slovakia, where I successfully finished my training in neurology. Subsequently my interest in movement disorders has raised, I joined the MDS and I began a PhD study with the topic: „Non-motor symptoms in patients with dystonia”. Besides the practice at the outpatient clinic for treating movement disorders I am also engaged in teaching of Neurology at the Medical Faculty of P.J. Safarik University in Kosice – both Slovak and international students. Among the other projects, I participate in the validation of the official Slovak version of the MDS Unified Dyskinesia Rating Scale, as well as in the research supported by three national grants, that is focused on colonic alpha-synuclein as a potential biomarker of premotor Parkinson’s disease and on novel genetic mutations in the pathogenesis of dystonia syndromes.

I am very pleased that I could come to the Dept. of Neurology UMCG for three months (April-June 2015) in order to enrich my awareness of the movement disorders directly in the centre which is recognized for its excellence in this field. I feel welcome here mainly due to friendly and helpful colleagues – thank you all!



Dr Rezaei, Iran

I am a young Iranian neurologist recently graduated from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences. During my residency and initial practice as a neurologist, I had great interest in the field of movement disorders, and my residency dissertation was about Parkinson Disease.

Early after my graduation, I started to get involved in a DBS surgery team in a newly established center in my city, Shiraz. I had limited experience with DBS,  and  I  was very keen on using  international  experience and exposure. Fortunately, this opportunity was provided to me to visit Groningen Medical center (neurology department).

This international experience was wonderful. During this period, I participated actively in the examination of movement  disorder patients. I attended stereotacticalprocedures for implantations of DBS and took part at the installing and adjustment of pump therapies and DBS in patients with movement disorders in Groningen and Hague. I also attended scientific meetings regarding movement disorders.

I also had a perfect experience in visiting the Dystonia Skill Lab in Amsterdam; the course aimed to gain the expertise in the application of BoNT in patients with focal dystonias. I regularly participated in BoNT treatment at their electrophysiology unit.

This experience was very valuable to me and for my professional experience. I was certainly not able to achieve this all  alone. I am very happy and satisfied about this, and I would recommend every young neurologist interested in movement disorders to visit this valuable center.


Álvaro Sánchez-Ferro, Spanje

My name is Álvaro Sánchez-Ferro and I am a neurologist working in Madrid, Spain. I had the privilege to visit Prof. Marina AJ de Koning-Tijssen and the Movement disorders team in November 2018. Besides the warm welcome and nice environment, I was greatly impressed with the quality of the clinical care that they provided and also the ambitious research endeavours that the team is pursuing. During my stay, I attended the children and adolescent clinics and could learn from the vast experience of the team with a really unique multidisciplinary approximation. 

Thanks to my inclination towards technology, Dr. De Koning-Tijssen also arranged a dedicated session with a top-notch technological team they collaborate with. I was able to learn from the impressive set up that they have created for an artificial intelligence project called NEMO. This project will surely make our life as movement disorders specialist easier aiding in the assessment of hyperkinetic conditions. I would like to finish this lines by thanking all the great team in the Department of Neurology at UMCG and especially to Dr. de Koning-Tijssen for hosting me and providing me with an additional richer perspective of Movement Disorders.