Genes, Development And Behavior
Department of Translational Neuroscience
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Onur Basak

Position: Assistant Professor                                                             
Phone:  (+31) (0)88 75 61234
Phone secretariat: (+31) (0)88 75 68810 




The cellular diversity of the human brain is immense, which is generated through evolutionarily conserved developmental mechanisms. The system is robust enough to create functional masterpiece; yet is susceptible to failure that may lead to cognitive dysfunction.

The research in my lab focuses on understanding the role of cellular and molecular heterogeneity with a focus on neural stem cell niche, neuronal differentiation and cognitive disorders. We use state-of-the art single cell sequencing techniques, mouse genetics and ES/iPS derived organoid models to run multidisciplinary, collaborative projects.



The focus of my lab can be summarized two major goals.

We aim to:

1) Understand the molecular circuits regulating NSC fate choices, including differentiation into a diverse range of neuronal cell types using a combination of mouse genetics, CRISPR-based lineage tracing and single cell sequencing strategies

2) Search for developmental origins of cognitive disorders using human iPS-derived organoids and single cell DNA/RNA sequencing technologies


Recent key publications

1) Basak O, Krieger T, Muraro M, Wiebrands K, Stange DE, Aldeguer JF, Rivron RC, van de Wetering M, van Es JH, Oudenaarden A, Simons B, Clevers H. Troy+ brain stem cells cycle through quiescence and regulate their number by sensing niche occupancy. PNAS, 2018, published online Jan 8; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1715911114. 

2) Basak O*, Beumer J*, Wiebrands K*, Seno H, Oudenaarden A, Clevers H. Induced quiescence of Lgr5+ stem cells in intestinal organoids enables differentiation of hormone-producing enteroendocrine cells. Cell Stem Cell, 2017, Feb 2; 20(2):177-190.

3) Grün D, Lyubimova A, Kester L, Wiebrands K, Basak O, Sasaki N, Clevers H, van Oudenaarden A. Single-cell messenger RNA sequencing reveals rare intestinal cell types.Nature, 2015, Sep 10, 525(7568):251-255.

4) Giachino C*, Basak O*, Lugert S, Knuckles P, Obernier K, Fiorelli R, Frank S, Raineteau O, Alvarez-Buylla A, Taylor V. Molecular diversity subdivides the adult forebrain neural stem cell population. Stem Cells, 2014, 32: Jan; 32(1):70-84.

5) Basak O*, Giachino C*, Fiorini E, Macdonald HR, Taylor V. Neurogenic subventricular zone stem/progenitor cells are Notch1-dependent in their active but not quiescent state. The Journal of Neuroscience, 2014, 32 (16):5654-5666.