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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

November 24, 2021

“A word about tomorrow” – 385 years of science in Utrecht

Astrid talking to a visitor

On March 26 in 1636, Utrecht University was founded and this year we celebrate 385 years of science in Utrecht. As part of this celebration, the project “A word about tomorrow” connects scientists with the general public. PhD students Rianne, Astrid, and Marloes participated in this project and visited libraries all over Utrecht to talk to visitors about their curiosities. Together with us scientists, the visitors came up with research questions. Everyone, young and old, from different kinds of backgrounds, were welcome to join a table with a scientist.

“We want to know what kind of questions they have and what they think are important topics to study”

RianneSurprising and original questions came one after the other. One older woman wondered if we could improve preventive screening for colon cancer by actually studying cases where the screening was not accurate. She had experienced this herself. Some kids were wondering why only people above 12 were able to get a COVID-vaccine. Many raised ethical questions. An entire family was debating whether childhood disorders should receive more funding than age-related diseases. All questions gathered in this project are collected. To some of them, we might already have an answer. Others might actually end up at the Utrecht Science agenda to be studied in the future.

A visitor said: “It was super fun to talk to a scientist, completely different from what I expected.”

Marloes

And not only the visitors had fun celebrating the 385 years of science in Utrecht, as a scientist these kind of conversations broadens your horizon and evaluate your own research. As the Translational Neuroscience department, we our students for their well appreciated effort.

An amazed 7-year old kid noticed: “Scientists ask a lot of questions”

Photos: Lize Kraan

November 17, 2021 / News, Research paper

Research paper on Pharmacology teaching

Teaching Pharmacology to (bio)medical students is a prominent role of the department of Translational Neuroscience. Through the years the method of teaching basic science subjects like Pharmacology has changed. As a result, we no longer teach pharmacology as an independent subject with a separate final examination. Instead, it is integrated with other subjects.

personal involved
Mirjam is central to teaching at the Translational Neuroscience Department, organizes and gives courses at multiple levels at the University of Utrecht and UMC Utrecht at the Bachelor level
Person involved
Rahul is the coordinator of the pharmacology and pharmacology track within the medical curriculum of the University Medical Center Utrecht, playing an active role in improving teaching quality

This integrated medical curriculum has advantages, such as better integration of clinical and preclinical subjects. It also has its disadvantages, such as the absence of separate examination on Pharmacology. Due to curricular integration, students could still graduate despite having sub-optimal knowledge of the subject.

Our faculty members Rahul Pandit, PhD and Mirjam A. F. M. Gerrits, PhD continuously improve the teaching quality within the department and UMCU. In the current paper, they aimed to investigate and address the drawbacks of the methods of examination within the integrated medical curriculum. To achieve this, they looked into one specific aspect of Pharmacology (Pharmacokinetics) and shown that the student knowledge is on this topic is sub-optimal. In addition, they suggest a few solutions to address this issue. Please visit here to view the article published as open access in Medical Science Educator.

Read more

November 8, 2021 / Meeting, News

UMCU Brain Center Research day

The annual UMCU Brain Center Research was as lively as ever! Last Friday, fundamental and clinical researchers from several departments of the Utrecht Brain Center gathered to discuss developments of the last year and exciting plans for the future.

Science communication was the focus of this year. Presentations from Arun Sharma and Daylon James, who together organise the Stem Cell Podcast, highlighted the current state of science communication.  Jan Willem Gorter discussed best practices in patient engagement. Talks on brain organoids, deep machine learning, chemogenetics and more was capped by the keynote speech by Jurgen Knoblich, one of the leading brain researchers in the world. 2-min PhD student Blitz presentations were breathtaking! Congrats to Mark Bakker, Nick Weaver and Marion Sommers-Spijkerman for the awards!

“A great day for science communication today at UMCU Brain Center Research Day 2021. Had the opportunity to jointly present with the wonderful Fenne Smits, & discuss how we approach stress management and prevention of anxiety from a fundamental & clinical perpective” Danai Riga , Translational Neuroscience Department

And special thanks to the organizers Evelien Schut, Natalia Smith Cortinez and Manon Dontje 👏 🎊

 

Vacancies

We welcome open applications from PhD candidates and postdocs.

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