Organisatieprofiel

Research focus

The research of my group focuses on determinants of behaviour, especially of behavioural strategies and of biological processes that are essential across species and that are affected in various neuropsychiatric disorders (e.g., social interaction and sensory information processing). By means of cross-species genetic analysis of neurobehavioral traits (of mice and men) and by applying innovative digital phenotyping methods we aim to identify genotype-phenotype relationships relevant to the development and treatment of autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer's Disease, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. These studies will lead to our understanding of conserved gene function in regulating essential behavioural strategies and will ultimately improve therapeutic and preventive strategies to contribute to healthy aging.

Experimental strategy

The identification of molecular genetic mechanisms of neurobehavioral traits is established by performing fine-grained analysis of behaviour using both well-established testing paradigms, as well as novel automated behavioural phenotyping methods (e.g., automated home cage recordings in rodents and smartphone application monitoring of human behaviour (https://www.behapp.com/)). Behavioural and EEG dynamics in developing genetic mouse models for human candidate genes of neuropsychiatric disorders are studied across different developmental stages and in relation to brain development. Furthermore, human clinical findings are back translated to rodents to test for causality and to extend our neurobiological understanding.

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