Our Team

Frederike Ambagtsheer

Frederike Ambagtsheer is assistant professor at the Erasmus MC Dpt. of Internal Medicine, Section Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation and is principal investigator of the research projects presented on this platform. She has a MSc in Criminology, a LL.M. in Public International Law and obtained her PhD (cum laude) on the Organ Trade in 2017. She initiated/coordinated the HOTT Project (2012-2016) and is the recipient of a Veni grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO) for the project, 'Organs as a Gateway to Europe: studying kidney sales among migrants entering the EU' (2021-2025).

Her research has featured on CNN, BBC, Washington Post, NY Times, Volkskrant, RTL and NOS. She is a regularly invited speaker at conferences, universities and other platforms in The Netherlands and abroad.  She has given a Tedx talk titled, 'Let's allow a fair trade in kidneys' and has given a talk for 'Universiteit van Nederland', 'Mag je jouw nier ruilen voor een Porsche?' She has worked as a consultant for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and she is the co-chair of the ELPAT Working Group on Organ Trade and Trafficking. Since 2021 she is editorial board member of Transplant International. 

Full CV


Latest publications

  • Ambagtsheer, F. & Bugter, R. The organization of the human organ trade: a comparative crime script analysis. Crime, Law and Social Change (forthcoming)
  • Ambagtsheer, F., Columb, S., AlBugami, M. M., & Ivanovski, N. (2022). Kidneys for Sale? A Commentary on Moeindarbari’s and Feizi’s Study on the Iranian Model. Transplant International, 35(6), 19-21
  • Doosje, H., Ambagtsheer, F., & Blokland, A. (2021). Criminele netwerken achter orgaanhandel: een sociale netwerkanalyse van de Medicus-zaak. Tijdschrift voor Criminologie, 63(3).
  • Ambagtsheer, F. (2021). Understanding the challenges to investigating and prosecuting organ trafficking: a comparative analysis of two cases. Trends in organized crime, 1-28.

Saja Abusulttan

Saja Abusulttan is following a Master's in Global Health at the University of Maastricht (UM) where she specializes in Leadership and Organization. She is writing her master's thesis on mental health care and needs among female refugees and asylum seekers living in Netherlands' refugee camps. In addition, she is an intern at Erasmus MC's Dpt. of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation on the research project 'Organs as a Gateway to Europe', where she is conducting a literature review on kidney sale in a migration context and co-authoring a grant application for the NWO Hestia Impulse for Refugees in Science. She obtained her first Master's Degree in Dental Public Health from the University of Sheffield in the UK and her Bachelor Degree in Dentistry from Al-Azhar University in Palestine. Her personal background as a refugee with double displacement and her newly obtained knowledge from her first master have motivated her to follow her second master and research on global health issues in migration context. She is also a member in the Diversity, Decolonization, and Belonging Committee of Global Health at UM. During her recent Master's studies, she was selected for the PREMIUM Excellence Program at UM where she worked on the Student Service Centre's Refugee Project: ELPEEDA.



  • Abusulttan, S., (2022). Mental health perceptiveness by refugees/healthcare providers. Learning Symposium Students Abstracts. Global Health Learning Symposium (April 18-29, 2022 ), The University of Maastricht (UM). Symposium Paper and Presentation. https://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/nl/meta/418012/learning-symposium.
  • An update about this ongoing research project can be found here.
  • Abusulttan, S., (2020). Assessing social support types and their frequencies in an online support group for dentally anxious individuals. The dissertation is accessible at here.
  • Abusulttan, S., (2020). Public Health and its connection to Social Justice. Available here. 

eva lakwijk

Eva Lakwijk is following a Master's in Criminology (2021-2023) at Erasmus University Rotterdam and has been involved in the research project, 'Organs as a Gateway to Europe' as a research intern from November 2021 until July 2022. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Utrecht University in 2021.

During her internship with Erasmus MC’s Transplant Institute, Eva conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Rotterdam, The Netherlands and in Athens, Greece. She focused on obtaining insight into the financial situation and the socio-cultural context that influenced the decision-making processes of migrants selling or not selling their kidney. The collected data has led to her MA Thesis (in Dutch), “Keuzes over grenzen: de rol van nierverkoop in het financieren en faciliteren van irreguliere reizen naar Europa”. In September 2022 she enrolled in her second Masters in 'Care, Ethics and Policy' at the University of Humanistic Studies at Utrecht University.

do you want to join our team? 

Internships and paid research positions

We welcome enthusiastic and talented BA -and MA student-interns, PhD students and post-docs to join our team on a continuing basis.

Unless communicated otherwise, prospective interns must have a clear idea of the subject they want to work on, before reaching out about internship positions. They must demonstrate having knowledge about their intended research topic and the gaps they wish to cover as part of their BA or MA thesis. Internship positions are unpaid.

Prospective PhD students and post-docs must have a creative and innovative research idea and must be willing to co-author proposals for funding to cover their own salary and research costs. Funding opportunities can be explored together with the PI (on behalf of Erasmus MC Transplant Institute) with organisations such as the European Commission (e.g. Marie Curie Fellowships), Dutch Research Council (NWO; e.g. Rubicon, Mozaiek 2.0), AXA, Branco Weiss Foundation, etc.

For enquiries, please send an email with your CV, your motivation and a short description of your research idea.