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Translational Neuroscience

The research mission of the Department of Translational Neuroscience is to discover and delineate mechanisms and processes which are fundamental to the development of neural systems and to the control of behavior as well as to translate these to pathogenesis and disease models. We use cutting edge technology, disease models as well as computational tools to achieve these goals.

Our teaching mission is to raise the next generation scientists and clinicians with state-of-the-art knowledge, technical expertise and vision in the field of neuroscience. As a part of this effort, we teach in several Bachelor courses, coordinate the Neuroscience and Cognition master program of the Utrecht University and offer doctoral and postdoctoral training.

News

September 15, 2022 / Meeting, News

GliaNed meeting 2022

Big success with the annual GliaNed meeting! The main goals of this informal meeting are to stimulate interaction between glia researchers in The Netherlands and to exchange knowledge. Elly Hol (translational neuroscience, UMCU) and Wia Baron (UMCG) put together a great program and were thrilled to have Prof. Inge Huitinga to open the show with her keynote lecture on ‘The role of microglia in MS and major depression’.

The meeting got additional contribution from our department. Carla Gomes da Silva presented her work on how oligodendrocyte precursors regulate cortical networks during mammalian development. Werner Dykstra explained how he studies the role of the astrocyte cytoskeletion in brain organoids. Several other researchers throughout the Netherlands have presented their latest research.

GliaNed meeting

“It is very impressive how glia is involved practically in every brain process and disease you can imagine. GliaNed is providing an essential platform to bring researchers of this rapidly growing field together” Onur Basak

We hope to see the community at the next GliaNed meeting in Groningen.

September 15, 2022 / Inauguration, News

Inauguration of Elly Hol as a KNAW member

prof. Elly Hol

We proudly celebrate the inauguration of prof. Elly Hol of our Translational Neuroscience department as a Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) member 🎊! She is one of the 22 new members who were at the historic Trippenhuis this Monday. This is a great honor given to a select group of scientists in the Netherlands

Elly Hol external link is Professor of Gliabiology of Brain Diseases and one of the heads of the Translational Neuroscience Department at the UMC Utrecht Brain Centre. Tained as a medical biologist with a specialisation in molecular neurobiology, she obtained her PhD in Utrecht. Next, she worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for Psychiatry in Martinsried with a Max-Planck Fellowship to. From 2013 onwards, Elly has worked as a principal investigator. In 2015, whe was appointed Professor of Gliabiology of Brain Diseases at the Utrecht University. She is a member of the Academia Europaea, chair of the scientific advisory board of Parkinson Netherlands, chair of GliaNed, programme leader of the Neuroscience master’s and PhD programme at Utrecht University Graduate School of Life Sciences, and education manager at the Brain Division of UMC Utrecht. Her inauguration was the results of years of contribution to the establishment of glia biology.

“Elly Hol belongs to the still small but growing group of neuroscientists who focus on the biology of glia. These are non-neuronal cells that play a crucial role in keeping our brain healthy. They act as stem cells and immune system, but can also derail. Hol has published a number of highly cited articles, in which she uncovers a correlation between certain proteins in the human brain and glial cells that play a role in the development of brain tumors and diseases such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. Hol is an important source of inspiration for young researchers, including through the national Glia network she leads and through personal mentorships for young female researchers.” KNAW

You can find more information on her research at our website and her lab page. More information on the inauguration is available on the Utrecht University and KNAW websites.

August 29, 2022 / Grants, News

ENW-M-2 grant for Heidi Lesscher and Frank Meye on risky play and stress resilience

New ENW-M-2 grant for our researchers! Recently the NWO Domain Board Science approved twenty-six grant applications in the Open Competition Domain Science-M programme. One of these grants was awarded to Heidi Lesscher (PHS, DWM) and Frank Meye (Translational Neuroscience, UMC Utrecht) to study if early life play opportunity, and in particular ‘risky’ play, promotes the development of cognitive control and stress resilience in later life. In this project, rats experiencing different degrees of play during early life will be compared for their degree of cognitive control under stress. Expectations are that enhanced opportunities for risky social play in early life enhance stress resilience in later life. We will also address the neurobiological effects of social play on cognitive control networks. Understanding how play shapes stress resilience is important for the prevention of mental health problems. Stay tuned for positions opening up related to this project.

“Very excited to team up with Heidi Lesscher to unravel if early life risky play opportunities alter neural networks of cognitive control to confer stress resilience in later life” Frank Meye

This research will in part be carried out at our Translational Neuroscience Department, as part of the UMC Utrecht Brain Center.

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Vacancies

We welcome open applications from PhD candidates and postdocs.

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