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As of February 2022, Amsterdam Neuroscience welcomes a new team of directors. With the previous appointment of Guus Smit in November 2021, the team will now be completed with two new co-directors to form the new board of directors of Amsterdam Neuroscience: Marten Smidt and Yolande Pijnenburg.

A portrait picture of the 3 new directors
From left to right: Prof. Guus Smit (photography: DigiDaan), Prof. Yolande Pijnenburg (photography: Mark van den Brink), Prof. Marten Smidt (Bas Uterwijk)

This new team of three will take over the position of Arjen Brussaard, the founding director of Amsterdam Neuroscience, after an onboarding period of seven months.

Professor Marten Smidt

Marten Smidt started his education in biology and biochemistry, whereupon he earned his PhD in molecular biology from Groningen University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rudolf Magnus Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Utrecht where his interest started in molecular programming during development of the central nervous system. In 2011 Smidt joined the Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam (SILS-UvA) as a Professor of Molecular Neuroscience. Additionally, Smidt was the director of SILS-UvA from 2015 till 2021. He still chairs the Molecular Neuroscience research team at SILS-UvA which focuses on fundamental processes of brain development with expertise on the molecular programming on midbrain dopaminergic neurons and their role in Parkinson's disease. Smidt is the founder and CEO of Macrobian Biotech, a spin-off company that develops novel medication to treat and stop Parkinson’s disease progression. As co-director of Amsterdam Neuroscience Smidt will draw attention to the importance of fundamental research and the generated valorization potential. In addition, he wants to improve the position of the neuroscience field at the University of Amsterdam and their collaboration with clinical partners in the region.  

Professor Yolande Pijnenburg

For 20 years, Yolande Pijnenburg has been working as a neurologist at Amsterdam UMC. As an expert in cognitive and behavioural neurology, she runs a multidisciplinary specialist clinic with many second opinion referrals. Within the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Pijnenburg became the specialist in young-onset dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and neuropsychiatry, resulting in her appointment as Professor of Young-onset Dementia at Amsterdam UMC. She has contributed to the clinical description of some of the major young-onset dementia phenotypes, such as the right temporal variant of frontotemporal dementia and the behavioral variant of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, she is involved in biomarker, genetic and neuropathological research in young-onset dementia.  As of January 2022, Pijnenburg became co-director of the Alzheimer Center Amsterdam. With her new role as co-director of research institute Amsterdam Neuroscience, Pijnenburg wants to strengthen translational research, stimulate the connection between both locations of Amsterdam UMC, and intensify the relationship between the neurology and psychiatry fields. She will also manage the portfolio valorization within the research institute and act as Chief Medical Officer of the Industry Alliance Office and in the Amsterdam Valorisation Board of Amsterdam UMC.

Professor Guus Smit

Trained as a molecular biologist, Guus Smit started his career investigating neuropeptide signalling during his PhD research. In 1991 he initiated his own research team and was appointed department head of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology in 2003. In 2012, he became the scientific director of the Center of Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR) at VU Amsterdam, today hosting 160 neuroscience researchers. Within CNCR, his research is centered around the understanding of neuronal and synaptic (dys)function in animal models and translation to the human postmortem brain, in relation to neurological and psychiatric disease. His group uses an integrated set of state-of-the-art quantitative proteomics technologies, high-content cellular assays, and chemo- and optogenetics approaches in understanding cognitive function. Advancing proteomics research of the human brain is high on his agenda. Smit is co-coordinator of the international SynGO consortium representing scientific knowledge on the molecular architecture of the synapse. As chair-elect of the Amsterdam Neuroscience board of directors, Guus Smit will focus on all aspects of the organization, including new scientific opportunities, scientific quality control, appointments, graduate training, campus development, and core facilities.

In October 2022, the new board of directors will take over the positions of Arjen Brussaard and former co-director Diederik van de Beek after an onboarding period. In the upcoming months, Arjen Brussaard will combine his new role as Vice Dean of Valorisation of Research at Amsterdam UMC with the transition to the new board of directors. In this period, Brussaard will supervise the preparations for the Standard Evaluation Protocol to be executed by an international audit committee visiting Amsterdam Neuroscience in September 2022. This committee evaluates the developments of the Amsterdam Neuroscience research institute over the past six years and will put forward advice as to the strategy of the institute for the coming six years. Diederik van de Beek will continue with his work as a neurologist and professor in neurologic infectious diseases at Amsterdam UMC.

The Amsterdam Neuroscience research institute warmly welcomes the new board of directors and would like to express gratitude to former directors Arjen Brussaard and Diederik van de Beek for their multitude of contributions over the past six years.

 

About Amsterdam Neuroscience

Amsterdam Neuroscience is the joint research institute for neuroscience of Amsterdam UMC and the science faculties of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam. Researchers and clinicians from these three institutions join forces in the field of fundamental, translational, and clinical brain research. This collaboration strengthens the scientific excellence in this area, making Amsterdam Neuroscience one of the largest neuroscience communities in Europe. Amsterdam Neuroscience’s overall mission is to broaden the fundamental knowledge of the human brain and nervous system and to translate this into effective therapies and treatments for the individual patient.

Read more about Amsterdam Neuroscience here.