Symposium May 2024

From our satellite site in Eindhoven we witnessed live how professor Till Roenneberg and professor Alberto Campo Baeza were revealed as the #TheDaylightAward 2024 laureates. Congratulations to both for great achievement.

Thank you Per Arnold Andersen and Gertrud Grabbert of Velux Stiftung for this great collaboration. And thank you Karin Smolders for representing the satellite site of Eindhoven University of Technology in the live Q&A session.

In addition, this ceremony was a great conclusion of the two day symposium “The invisible workings of light” concluding the 4-year LightCap ITN project coordinated by Yvonne de Kort of Eindhoven University of Technology.

Program – Download here

The invisible workings of light

Come join us at Het Ketelhuis, Landgoed de Grote Beek for a fascinating event where we share all the insights our researchers gained over the past four years. Our studies have stretched from photoreceptor activation and brain wiring to applications of light in schools and outdoor urban environments, from youth to seniors, early morning to late night and from disease to health.

State of the art talks, The Daylight Award, talks from scholars, young researchers, and more!

In addition to this, we invite young architectsdesigners and researchers to pitch their work and have a dedicated session for you on Thursday morning

Invited speakers (full program see end of page)

We will open the event by introducing the project – its rationale and ambitions, its content and organisation, and a promise of the days to come. Then let our esteemed speakers and young researchers guide you through our most recent insights and methods.

Gilles Vandewalle
Neuroimaging the impact of light on cognitive brain function

As first speaker of the conference, Dr. Vandewalle will first introduce some of the basic of the biological / non-image-forming effects of light. He will then review some of the studies showing how light may stimulate alertness, cognition and affective state before presenting novel results acquired as part of the LIGHTCAP project on the subcortical areas mediating the impact of light on cognitive brain function.

Steve Fotios
Why bother? 

Research of research methods can be fun, for example when you identify the factor that explains the variance in previous studies. Research can also be frustrating, for example when others conduct work without considering the factor you have discovered. Presenting the new wonder finding is thrilling for the researcher and the audience. Methods research is boring: who cares if the new wonder finding can be explained by stimulus range bias. So, why bother?

Martine Knoop
Our daily lighting conditions are not just uniform and diffuse – does directionality of light matter for NIF effects?

The presentation will show that the direction from which the light comes not only influences what we see, but can also have an impact on non-imaging effects. It will address this lighting characteristic in our daily light exposure, the research we have done on this topic during day- and night-time, and whether it is important to have both eyes open to get the best effect.

Antal Haans
Why we fail in establishing minimum lighting levels for pedestrians: Theorizing on lighting, anxiety, and safety perceptions
Despite extensive research on the relation between lighting and pedestrian sense of safety, establishing minimum lighting levels remains difficult. Four reasons can be identified: a) the ‘sense of safety’ concept is nebulous and varies in definition across different authors, b) the measurement of safety perceptions presents significant challenges, c) most lighting research has disregarded the environment, and d) a lack of comprehensive theories has hampered progress in these areas. Drawing from Brunswik’s work, we adopt a functional viewpoint on the ‘sense of safety’ and propose a theoretical approach that is anchored in a well-established psychological concept: Anxiety. This approach provides a solid foundation for further exploration in this field.

Yvonne de Kort
Could there be more to light than lux and mEDI? Light, mood and mental health
The fact that light is beneficial to mental health is well established – light therapy has been demonstrated to help not only persons with seasonal depression, but transdiagnostically, including major and bipolar depression, and is showing promise for Parkingson’s or even eating disorders. Regular high doses of photons lift our spirits and so we place patients in front of light boxes. But could we be doing more? could we do better? Should we perhaps even think out of the box?

Christian Cajochen
Circaannual rhythms: how seasonal are we?
The circadian clock has been deciphered down to the molecular level. Much less is known about circannual rhythms, especially in humans – probably because the duration of a PhD project is too short to study such long rhythms. Here I would like to argue that humans can sense photoperiodic changes and that our physiology, behaviour and susceptibility to disease are more seasonal than we think and depend on photoperiodic changes throughout the year.

Karin Smolders
From lab to field: Quantifying light-induced moderations in alertness and fatigue during daytime.

Marilyne Andersen
Light exposure as a key element in our urban lifestyles
How much does our exposure to (day)light matter in our urban environment, where we typically spend about 90% of our time indoors? A lot … though the multifaceted nature of the psycho-physiological effects of light on humans makes a more specific response challenging.  This talk will explore different research directions looking at the influence of the architectural and urban environment we live in on our daily light exposure and, by extension, on our well-being and health.

Marielle Aarts
Who cares?
The contribution of light in keeping our care system healthy
Western societies face the challenge of maintaining the high standards of healthcare due to the increased number of elderly people and the decrease in the number of care professionals. In this presentation, the usage of light for supporting the work and health of care professionals will be discussed.

Lars Courage
What’s in a name? Lars Courage is Architect, Founder of Courage Architects, Dutch Daylight Award 2012 laureate and former chair of Dutch Daylight.


Ashwathi Prithviraj – University of Manchester
Therapeutic potential of bright daytime light exposure  in Alzheimer’s disease models

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is characterized by sleep and circadian rhythm dysfunction and there is evidence that increasing light exposure can ameliorate these effects and delay cognitive decline. The effect of long-term bright daytime light exposure in improving memory and behaviour was studied in an Alzheimer’s mouse model along with changes in circadian dysfunction and brain and retinal pathology.

Fermin Balda Aizpurua – University of Liège
Impact of Light Illuminance  on Locus Coeruleus Activity during an auditory Cognitive Tasks: Insights from High-Resolution MRI Imaging

Light affects various physiological processes beyond vision, including sleep, cognition, and mood. Animal studies implicate the locus coeruleus (LC) in these effects due to its role in alertness and cognition. Using high-resolution MRI, we explored how light influences LC activity during auditory tasks.

Roya Sharifpour – University of Liège
The Influence of Blue Light on Cortical Excitability in Adolescents: TMS-EEG Findings
Uncover the secrets of adolescent brain activity in response to blue light exposure with our TMS-EEG study, providing valuable insights into the complex interplay between light exposure, cortical excitability, and cognitive function.

Fatemeh Fazlali – University of Basel
Sex and seasonal differences in light-induced melatonin suppression

Investigating the non-image-forming (NIF) effects of light on melatonin suppression, particularly focusing on sex and seasonal variations. Our findings demonstrate that females are more sensitive to light-induced melatonin suppression compared to males. Seasonal comparisons further highlight higher melatonin suppression under moderate light during the winter months than in the summer. This talk will explore the interaction of sex and season in light-induced melatonin suppression.

Rafael Robert Lazar – University of Basel
How long ago is history? Effects of prior light exposure on adolescents’ evening melatonin
In a randomised crossover study, we tested whether increasing late afternoon/early evening light exposure modulates the acute effects of late evening light exposure on melatonin levels in adolescents. The effects of the experimental light manipulation are contrasted with the effects of bright light history recorded on the days prior to the laboratory sessions.

Elif Naz Gecer
Using Metameric Light to Remove Subjective Bias from Lighting studies
Scientists have been testing the effect of lights on areas other than vision with changing the colors or brightness levels to see if it affects physiological markers of alertness during daytime. There are indications that blue and red light have a modulating effect on EEG waves. How much of this effect is actually linked to melanopic content of the light or are the visual effects and personal biases the main drivers? We can find out with using metameric lights!

Vaida Verhoef – Eindhoven University of Technology
What does it mean to be sleepy ?
Light emerges as a promising beneficial factor against residual daytime complaints like sleepiness. Yet, amidst our quest for solutions, do we truly comprehend the essence of sleepiness for those who endure it? In our pursuit of answers, we often bypass understanding the very essence of the issue at hand. Together, let’s delve into the intricacies of sleepiness at the individual level, to understand its multifaceted nature and acknowledge its complexity.

Richard Jedon – Eindhoven University of Technology
The interplay between pedestrians’ alertness, arousal and anxiety and uniform and non-uniform lighting
We proposed a research framework for urban lighting, the alertness, arousal and anxiety triad. In a field study we tested the triad concepts against different lighting uniformity settings. Findings suggest an effect of the concepts, namely arousal, on pedestrians’ attention and feelings of safety.

Aysheh Alshdaifat – University of Sheffield
Illuminating the Path: Rethinking Optimal Road Lighting for Pedestrian Safety

In the realm of road lighting standards for minor roads, empirical grounding has been notably lacking. While numerous studies have been conducted to establish the optimal lighting conditions for pedestrian safety, they have primarily focused on the visual aspect of light. However, a new frontier has emerged with the revelation of light’s impact on alertness states. This poses a fundamental question: if road lighting indeed influences pedestrian alertness, can we still rely on the findings of previous research?

Nikodem Derengowski – University of Berlin
Directionality of light as a moderating factor on NIF-effects
The talk will showcase a summary of three scientific experiments. While keeping a homogenous light dose, we investigated the effect of different directions of light on performance indicators of cognition, creativity, and alertness. The results have shown a moderating effect and link to evolutionary/biological patterns of the reception of light.

Steffen Hartmeyer – Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
How light-dosimetry can reveal your spectral diet
During daily life we are constantly exposed to different quantities and spectral distributions of light – our “spectral diet”. Measuring personal light exposure with light-dosimetry allows to track and decode the spectral diet of humans and their impact on human health and wellbeing.

Myrta Gkaintatzi-Masouti – Eindhoven University of Technology
The Effect of Dynamic Viewing Behavior on Eye-Level Light Conditions
Measuring and simulating vertical light at eye-level is necessary when considering the non-image-forming light effects on people. However, this vertical light changes based on people’s dynamic shifts in viewing direction. Do we need to consider these dynamic shifts in lighting design? This presentation describes findings from an experiment designed to answer this question.

Program 15 May 2024

Program 16 May 2024

Start Satellite event of THE DAYLIGHT AWARD

This event is supported by CIE, ILI, The Daylight Award and the EU. 

© 2024 Lightcap