The human brain might well be the most complex control system on earth. It consists of billions of nerve cells that are interconnected in circuits of dazzling complexity. Moreover, each individual nerve cell processes input from thousands of companions, finally resulting in a very complex and precisely tuned response pattern.
The mission of the Neurosciences collaboration is to understand the fundamental mechanisms that underlie development and synaptic and structural plasticity of the brain as well as information processing. We apply a wide range of state-of-the art behavioural, biochemical, histological, molecular, imaging and in vivo and in vitro electrophysiological techniques to address our research questions in the fields of cognition, behaviour, neuroinformatics, membrane biophysics, neurochemistry, neurogenesis and neurodevelopment.
The Neurosciences collaboration is the founding partner of the Amsterdam Brain and Cognition (ABC) centre and the Spinoza Centre for Neuro-imaging. Furthermore, the research groups within the collaboration operate within the Graduate School Neurosciences Amsterdam Rotterdam (ONWAR).
Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience
Understanding of the neural mechanisms and substrates underlying cognitive processes, predominantly in animals and recently also in humans. The current topics include the neurophysiological mechanisms of learning and memory consolidation, interaction between memory and perceptual systems, and multisensory integration.
Cellular and Systems Neurobiology
Understanding the regulation of neuronal excitability and plasticity at the membrane, cell and micro-circuit level. Topics are epileptogenesis, cortical development, pharmacoresistance and differential pharmacology. We apply this knowledge to understand basic mechanisms that underly pathologies like epilepsy, schizophrenia and autism. In structural alliances with industry (Philips, Solvay) and clinic (AZ-Ghent, Dutch epilepsy clinic SEIN) we design new therapeutic strategies.
Structural and Functional Plasticity of the nervous system
Understanding how changes in structural and functional plasticity of the brain are mediated in relation to (early life) stress exposure and during diseases like depression, anxiety, dementia and epilepsy. Using this information, we aim to utilise and recruit existing endogenous plasticity for recovery or repair of these brain disorders. We focus on adult neurogenesis, dendritic complexity, synaptic and cellular plasticity, and spatial and emotional learning and memory.
Understanding fundamental molecular processes that underlie neurodevelopmental processes and neuronal function in health and disease. Research is concentrated on two brain areas: the cortex and the midbrain. Using a wide array of state-of-the art technologies, current topics include insulin signaling in cortical development, circadian rhythms in adult neurogenesis, evolution of the human genome and concomitant brain development, formation of cortical microcircuits, molecular programming and epigenetics in midbrain development, signal transduction in the adult and developing midbrain.