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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).

Key objectives of the research groups:

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.

Chaired by Prof. Cyriel Pennartz
Dr Conrado Bosman Vittini
Dr Jorge Mejias Palomino
Dr Umberto Olcese

Cellular and Computational Neuroscience

The brain has the unique capacity to process information and translates it into behaviour. To increase our understanding of brain function, we investigate functional and structural connectivity in the brain by using electrophysiology and imaging techniques. We study how synaptic strength and network activity are changed from developmental stages to the aged brain. In addition, we investigate how dysfunction in cellular and network activity contributes to brain disorders.

Chaired by Prof. Helmut Kessels
Dr Natalie Cappaert
Dr Pascal Chameau
Dr Erwin van Vliet
Dr Taco Werkman

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.

Chaired by Prof. Paul Lucassen
Dr Carlos Fitzsimons
Dr Aniko Korosi
Dr Harm Krugers
Dr Joram Mul
Dr Rixt van der Veen

Molecular Neuroscience

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.  

Chaired by Prof. Marten Smidt
Dr Lars van der Heide
Dr Marco Hoekman
Dr Frank Jacobs
Dr Simone Mesman