Personal profile

Research interests

Overall

Our translational animal research is focused on the neurodevelopmental outcomes due to early life alterations. Interactions between genes and the environment play an important role in the development of psychopathology. It is our main goal to address the developmental role of serotonin in developing psychopathology later in life using an advanced animal model for depression (serotonin transporter knockout rat). To address the fundamental issues that underlie alterations due to early life events, we attempt to identify molecular mechanisms underlying these alterations.

 

Effects of antenatal depression and antidepressant treatment during pregnancy

Depressive symptoms frequently occur during pregnancy and may have a tremendous impact on the developing child. Unfortunately, pharmacological antidepressant treatments during pregnancy can also negatively impact the behavioural development and health of the offspring. In humans it is difficult to discern between the effects of the drug and the effects of the depression itself, therefore it is unclear whether children exposed to antidepressants in utero are at increased risk, and if so, what the underlying molecular mechanisms are that may point to potential solutions. We investigate the molecular mechanisms and behavioral alterations in the offspring that are altered due to antenatal depression, antidepressant treatment during pregnancy, and their combination.

 

Expertise

We conduct extensive behavioural experimentation (Emotional, social, sleep and cognition), Physiology (telemetry), pharmacological manipulations (SSRIs), immunohistochemical assessments and molecular analysis (microarray, qPCR, genotyping, DNA methylation, DNA hydroxymethylation, histone methylation).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Psychoneuropharmacology, PhD, Phenotyping the serotonin transporter knockout rat: a behavioural, pharmacological and physiological approach. A new animal model of human serotonergic disorders, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

1-Nov-20031-Dec-2008

Award Date: 27-Nov-2008

Medical Biology, Master, Effects of acute and chronic apomorphine on sex behavior and copulation-induced neural activation in the male rat., Free University Amsterdam

20002002

Award Date: 1-Jul-2002

Zoology, Bachelor, CREB activity in the nucleus accumbens shell controls behavioral responses to naloxone., Hogeschool Utrecht

19952000

Award Date: 30-Jun-2000

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