Program leaders:           Matthijs Verhage, Marten Smidt
Taskforce team:              Marjo van der Knaap, Eric Reits
Program members

Rationale and common goals

The objective of the program brain mechanisms is to find causal relationships in brain mechanisms of the healthy brain and the origin of disease. We investigate molecular processes and integrate such processes at higher levels of organization: organelles, cells, networks and the whole brain. In order to treat brain pathologies, it is necessary to improve the understanding of basic brain functions and assess which molecular and physiological mechanisms are involved in those functions. The strength of this theme is its uniform importance for all specific brain disease indications and its links to all other programs. Moreover it includes cutting edge technology and the experts that are needed to implement this.

Key indicators

  • Mechanistic research;
  • Aiming to elucidate cause and consequence in biological and pathological processes;
  • Connecting genome to phenotype;
  • Using quantitative as well as qualitative approaches.

Assets

  • Top class scientists: top papers, 6 VICIs, 2ERCs, coordinators of large EU projects;
  • Cutting edge technology and infrastructure: quantitative proteomics, life cell imaging, FACS, laser capture dissection, brain organoid culture, In utero electroporation, in vivo multi-unit recordings and optogenetics, cellomics, computational modeling;
  • Excellent integration of expertise into joint multidisciplinary projects;
  • Availability of essential animal models systems.

Translational links

As mentioned above, this theme nurtures all clinical themes in Amsterdam Neuroscience and maintains good connections to industry (biotech, pharma), including spin-offs and is able to stimulate new initiatives due to its strong scientific and innovative nature.

Making the difference?
The essence of this research program is:

  1. The high quality-driven research with strong team spirit and availability of involved experts on all topics;
  2. The ability to bridge the gap between genome information and neurobiological processes and behavioral phenotypes;
  3. The use of cutting edge technology and availability of unique animal models to solve complex questions;
  4. The implementation of human embryonic stem cell - and patient derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) strategies in order to generate new models that connect fundamental brain research towards clinical relevant questions.