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
On 14th of October, Marieke G. Verhagen defended her PhD thesis titled ‘The multifunctional role of Semaphorin6A during brain development and disease. Moving forward with reverse signaling’, UMC Utrecht Brain Center Universiteit Utrecht.
“I am happy and grateful for this experience! In the past 5 years I studied early brain development and the role of axon guidance molecule Semaphorin6A. Without a doubt we have moved forward characterizing the complex functions of this molecule.”
She has recently started her new job as a postdoctoral fellow in the group of Lynette Lim VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research.
“Many thanks to my promotor Jeroen Pasterkamp, co-promotor Geert Ramakers, committee members Joost Verhaagen, Freek Hoebeek, Erik Storkebaum, J. Peter H. Burbach, Manon Benders, and Roger Adan. Paranimfs Suzanne Lemstra, PhD and Anna Aster De Ruiter. “
Photography by Maarten de Kok.
Last Friday Tivoli-Vredenburg hosted the 5th edition of the Betweter festival, organized by Utrecht University, celebrating 385 years of science in Utrecht. Assistant professor Frank Meye was there, at Cloud Nine, a popular hall for concerts, explaining why we eat badly under stress. He discussed what drives our tendencies to eat fat and sugar after a long stressful day, and which processes in the brain are linked to this.
See the official website
The aim of this PhD course is to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of neural development and to discuss state-of-the-art techniques, in vitro and animal models that can be used to study the developing nervous system.
Organising institute: Brain Center, UMC Utrecht, Utrecht Dates: 8-12 november 2021 Registration through: firstname.lastname@example.org Duration of the course: 1,5 ECTs Maximum number of participants: 40 Accessible for: Brain Center PhD candidates (and ONWAR PhD students) Costs: free of charge
This PhD course is divided into five days (8-12 november 2021) with both ‘online’ and ‘live’ sessions and covers various aspects that are imperative for studying neural development in health and disease. The focus will be on electrophysiological, omics and in vitro technical approaches. Each day there will be at least two lectures, which will be mixed with interactive assignments.
The preliminary list of speakers:
Prof. Takao Hensch (Harvard University, Neurology, Molecular & Cellular Biology)
Em. Prof. Peter Burbach (UMC Utrecht Brain Center, Translational Neuroscience)
Prof. Sten Linnarsson (Karolinksa, Molecular Neurobiology)
Dr. Nael Nadif Kasri (Radboud University, Donders Center for Medical Neurosciences)
Prof. Thomas Quatieri (MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Biotechnology and Human Systems)
Dr. Jeroen Dudink (UMC Utrecht Brain Center, Wilhelmina Childrens Hospital, Neonatology)
Dr. Corette Wierenga (Utrecht University, Cell Biology)
Prof. Manon Benders (UMC Utrecht Brain Center, Wilhelmina Childrens Hospital, Neonatology)
Prof. Jeroen Pasterkamp (UMC Utrecht Brain Center, Translational Neuroscience)
Assistant professor Frank Meye researches how stress alters the strength of connections in the brain involved in decision-making, and how this can lead to impulsive eating behavior. He also investigates how this process can be turned for the better by targeted manipulation of brain activity.
He has received the prestigious VIDI grant (800,000 euro), titled “The need to eat: Why stress makes you crave junk food “, to facilitate his research at our Translational Neuroscience Department.
“This Vidi grant plays a crucial role in further forming my research group that aims to understand how stress leads to plastic changes in the brain, and how this plays a role in multiple disease processes. It’s great that this application has been granted, as our lab is very excited to take on the challenge of better understanding these important processes!” Frank Meye