Team Leader
Guus Smit

Molecular Mechanisms of Synaptic Plasticity

I aim to mechanistically understand how assemblies of synaptic proteins contribute to synaptic plasticity in health and disease

Team Leader
Sabine Spijker

Animal Models of Psychiatric Disease

The focus of my team is on cognition and how it is affected by neuropsychiatric ailments, such as depression, addiction, and impulsivity. We study maladaptation of synapses and circuitry brought about by unique molecular signatures in hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.

Team Leader
Ronald van Kesteren

Brain Plasticity in Health and Disease

My research focusses on molecular, cellular and network mechanisms of neuronal and synaptic plasticity in normal brain function and in situations of impaired or altered plasticity, such as healthy aging, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and neuronal injury.

Team Leader
Mark Verheijen

Glial Regulated Neuronal Plasticity

Our research aims to discover new glial-based mechanisms of information processing in the brain in health and disease, with a focus on the role of astrocytes in the regulation of myelin and synaptic plasticity.

Team Leader
Danielle Posthuma

Psychiatric & Statistical Genomics

Research in this group aims at elucidating underlying biological pathways of brain-related traits and translating these to modifiable targets that can aid in treating brain disorders. We integrate knowledge from different fields, including psychiatry, genetics, bioinformatics and mathematics.

Team Leader
Michel van den Oever

Memory Circuits

The objective of my team is to gain detailed insight in the neural circuitry that mediates the formation and retrieval of stable, long-lasting episodic memories

Team Leader
Ka Wan Li


My Neuroproteomics team aims to (1) describe the protein complex nano-machinery that underlies synapse function and plasticity, and (2) reveal the alteration of synapse/tissue proteomes in cases of neuro-degenerative and neuropsychiatric disorders. Mass spectrometry based quantitative proteomics analysis is the leading technology behind these studies.

Team Leader
Huib Mansvelder

Cortical microcircuits

We want to understand how events at the synaptic and cellular levels are involved in behaviour. To reach this goal, we take a multidisciplinary approach in which we combine electrophysiological recordings and imaging from single neurons and networks of neurons with behaviour. By using molecular interventions, optogenetics and assessing the consequences at different levels of organization, we try to get an understanding of the causal relationships between activity of synapses, neurons, neuronal networks, and cognitive behavior. In collaboration with the Neurosurgery department at the VU medical centre, we study the function of human neuronal circuits to test whether basic principles discovered in rodents hold in human cortical microcircuits.

Team Leader
Jan van Weering

Secretory vesicle trafficking and recycling

We study the transport, docking, fusion and retrieval of two type secretory vesicles: small translucent neurotransmitter vesicles in pre-synapse of neurons and neuropeptide-containing, large dense-core vesicles in neurons and neuro-endocrine cells. The focus lies on the interactions between these secretory vesicles and the cytoskeleton as well as protein/lipid interactions in genetic model systems for disease.

Team Leader
Pim van Nierop

Applied Bioinformatics

Modern high-throughput genetics, genomics, and proteomics approaches as performed at CNCR are associated with the production of vast amounts of experimental data. I aim to assist in data and bioinformatics analysis.

Team Leader
Sander Groffen

Molecular Mechanisms of Exocytosis

The secretion of neurotransmitters is an extremely fast process which is fundamental for learning, memory and behavior. While the mechanism of classical neurotransmission has been exhaustively described, our group focuses on novel forms of neurotransmission which can be observed in all neurons all the time, but for which the mechanism still remains elusive.

Team Leader
Wiep Scheper

Molecular Neurodegeneration

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, however, effective treatment or prevention of the disease is not available to date. The aim of our work is to identify early factors that drive the pathogenesis in sporadic AD. We employ different disease models and post-mortem brain material to investigate molecular pathways leading to AD pathology.

Team Leader
Christiaan de Kock

In Vivo Neurophysiology

We study how individual cortical neurons encode sensory stimuli and how sensory representation is affected by behavior. The rodent barrel cortex is an excellent system to study these questions since the individual sensory organs (facial whiskers) are represented by easily identifiable cortical columns. Additionally, our group is part of an international effort to understand human brain function at (sub)cellular resolution.

Team Leader
Taco de Vries


My aim is to unravel the neurobiological mechanisms underlying drug addiction with a particular focus on relapse mechanisms related to alcohol and nicotine. These studies have a strong multidisciplinary character and include behavioural analysis, proteomics, neurophysiology and opto- and chemogenetic approaches.

Team Leader
Tinca Polderman

Psychiatric Etiology

On the role of Nature and Nurture in psychiatric traits.
The ‘Psychiatric Etiology’ group studies the role of nature and nurture, including their interaction, in psychiatric traits. ‘Why do certain individuals develop a disorder, and others not?’ Is it nature or nurture, or a combination of both?

Team Leader
Klaus Linkenkaer-Hansen

Neuronal Oscillations and Cognition

We aim to understand the role of neuronal oscillations for cognition in health and disease.

Team Leader
Sophie van der Sluis

Phenotypic modelling in genetics

While twin- and family studies have shown that many traits are considerably heritable, the role of specific genes in heritable traits remains poorly understood and genes that are identified, only explain a small portion of the trait variance. The focus of this group is on modeling complex and dynamic traits in such a way that the probability to uncover the genetic basis is maximized.

Team Leader
Niels Cornelisse

Synaptic Computation

Synapses are the basic units of computation in the brain. In my team we study the computational properties of synapses in health and disease. We use physiological- and genetic perturbation experiments and computational modelling in an iterative cycle to study synaptic principles.

Team Leader
Rhiannon Meredith

Synaptic Imaging Plasticity

The aim of our research is to study how synaptic transmission and plasticity of synaptic contacts changes during key periods of development or via pharmacological manipulation in the hippocampus and cortex. Furthermore, to gain an understanding into the underlying mechanisms of the changes observed in information processing disorders, such as intellectual disability, at both the cellular and network levels in the brain.

Team Leader
Ruud Toonen

Vesicle Dynamics and Synaptic Plasticity

To process information the brain is constantly changing the strength of the individual contacts (synapses) between nerve cells. Strict control of synaptic plasticity is important, as dysregulation of this process is often associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders. The main goal of the lab is to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that support synaptic plasticity and their dysfunction in disorders such as Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and autism to eventually be able to provide novel therapeutic targets.

Team Leader
Truus Abbink

Team Leader
Vivi Heine

Stem Cell Biology

Although a glial component in neurological disorders is increasingly appreciated, we still lack proper understanding of neuron-glia communications. Our goal is to identify and describe glial defects in neurodevelopmental disorders, and to perform proof-of-concept studies for glial-targeted therapy strategies using advanced stem cell technologies.

Team Leader
Philipp Koellinger


Our group investigates how genes influence economic behavior, and how insights into the genetic architecture of behavioral outcomes can inform social and medical research. We use big data, powerful computers, and advanced quantitative methods for our interdisciplinary work.

Team Leader
Eus van Someren

Sleep and Cognition

The Sleep & Cognition group of Eus van Someren and Ysbrand van der Werf works at several locations, including their home base of Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience (KNAW), the VU University (FALW-Integrative Neurophysiology), the VUmc (Dept. Anatomy and Neurosciences) and the Leiden University Medical Center (Sleep Center Leiden). Against the background of their 24-hour rhythm, driven by the circadian clock of the brain, sleep and wakefulness show a mutual dependency.

Team Leader
Pieter Roelfsema

Vision & Cognition

The Vision and Cognition group is led by Pieter Roelfsema, also director of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. Research of this group is directed at understanding cortical mechanisms of visual perception, memory and plasticity. One of our goals is to create a visual cortical prosthesis to restore vision in blind people.

Team Leader
Rogier Min

Glial (patho)physiology

We study the interactions between neurons and glial cells, both in the healthy brain and in the context of neurological diseases. In particular we focus on the white matter disease MLC, a disease characterized by dysfunctional astrocyte water and ion homeostasis leading to chronic white matter oedema. Our team is embedded in both the VU University medical center (Department of Childhood Neurology headed by Prof. Marjo van der Knaap) and the CNCR (Department of Integrative Neurophysiology headed by Prof. Huibert Mansvelder).

Team Leader
Joost Verhaagen

Axon Regeneration

The overall objective of the Laboratory for Neuroregeneration is to unravel the biological mechanisms that govern successful regeneration in the PNS and that underlie degeneration and regenerative failure in the CNS. The primary long-term research objective is to make significant contributions to the field of restorative neuroscience and neurology.