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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

July 16, 2022 / News, Research paper

Cellular diversity of the developing mouse Habenula

Habenula development

The habenula (Hb) plays a key role in processing reward information and mediating aversive responses to negative stimuli. In the recent issue of Cell Reports, Lieke van de Haar and colleagues have revealed how the cellular diversity of the mouse habenula is formed during development. In the work title “Cellular diversity of developing habenula may illuminate risk for human psychiatric disorders”, Lieke used single cell RNA sequencing, a technique that allows quantification of gene expression in thousands of cells simultaneously.

Developing HabenulaReconstruction of lineage trajectories using computational tools revealed paths to habenula cell types. Intersectional genetics experiments by Oxana Garritsen showed that these include a physiologically distinct neuronal cell type that innervate the dorsal IPN which can be identified by Cartpt expression. Work by Lieke and Youri Adolfs using iDISCO and light sheet microscopy have shown that these cells localize to the medial habenula. The ePhys work by Danai Riga of the Meye lab found that these Cartpt+ neurons are electrophysiologically different from surrounding neurons. Finally, MAGMA analysis by Juliska Boer, who did her bachelor internship under the supervision of Lieke, revealed that developing cell populations align with human genetic risk loci of psychiatric disorders, such as the major depressive disorder.

“The habenula plays an important role in negative experiences, and is located dorsally to the thalamus and ventrally to the hippocampus…. we were interested in how the cells of the habenula are born and mature.” Lieke

Lieke performed her PhD work at the Pasterkamp lab of our Translational neuroscience department of the UMC Utrecht Brain Center. This work is a fine example of internal collaborations in the department which connect molecular, computational, genetic and electrophysiological techniques.

 

 

June 1, 2022 / News, Public outreach

New Scientist Live! Hersenziekten in Tivoli

On Tuesday the 17th of May UMC Utrecht Brain Center and New Scientist organized ‘NewScientist Live! Hersenziekten in TivoliVredenburg. Several colleagues focused on the technologies of the future. It was an interesting evening, filled with exciting and necessary advances in brain research and patient care. 

Jeroen Pasterkamp at New Scientist Live! Hersenziekten in Tivoli
Jeroen Pasterkamp at New Scientist live, Hersenziekten, technologie van de toekomst
Foto: Bob Bronshoff
Tiziana Hey at New Scientist Live! Hersenziekten in Tivoli
Tiziana Hey at New Scientist live, Hersenziekten, technologie van de toekomst
Foto: Bob Bronshoff

Prof. dr. Jeroen Pasterkamp and PhD student Tiziana Hey, from our own Translational Neuroscience department, starred on stage. Jeroen Pasterkamp started the evening off, highlighting important microscopic and organoid research performed in his lab. Tiziana Hey, together with 2 fellow young scientists, closed the evening, explaining research with the use of single cell sequencing techniques. Interested in reading more about this informative evening? You can find a summary of the evening on the website of New Scientist or watch the aftermovie (in Dutch).

 

“Brain research is like a black box: one big fascinating puzzle” T. Hey

We are very glad to disseminate the knowledge generated at the UMC Utrecth Brain Center.

 

 

May 16, 2022 / News

KNAW membership of Elly Hol

Fantastic news from Elly Hol!! The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) announced that Prof. Elly Hol has been chosen as a new member. Members of the KNAW are leading scientists from all disciplines and are chosen on the basis of their scientific achievements. The KNAW has approximately 585 members. A membership is for life. In addition to Elly Hol, 21 other new members have been elected. The new members of the Academy will be installed on 12 September.

prof. Elly Hol

“I am very pleased with this recognition for my research on glia. I could not have done this research without the enormous efforts of all PhD students, post-docs, researchers, research analysts, and students who have worked in my group over the years in Amsterdam and Utrecht. It is also really nice to see how the group of glia researchers in the Netherlands and internationally has grown. The collaborations with (inter)national colleagues and the support of subsidy providers make it possible to discover new aspects of neuron-glia interactions in brain diseases. I am also very enthusiastic about new technologies, such as molecular single cell studies on human post-mortem brain material and functional studies in patient mini-brains, which are of great importance for my research on glia in brain diseases.”

We are deeply honoured to have Elly Hol as a group leader at the Translational Neuroscience Department of the UMC Utrecht Brain Center of the UMCU

See the new on the KNAW or Utrecht University webpages

 

Vacancies

We welcome open applications from PhD candidates and postdocs.

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