PhD-Students start research at CNCR as part of ENC-Netw. program

12 December 2011

Margherita Farina and Girish Kedar start their projects in collaboration with the University of Coimbra and the European Institute for Neuroscience, Göttingen.

The European Neuroscience Center Network (ENC) facilitates collaborative research projects, grant acquisition strategies and exchange opportunities between its partner institutes in Göttingen, Bordeaux, Zurich, Coimbra, Berlin, Québec and Amsterdam.
ENC-Network cycle2 is an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program. Two out of the eight PhD-students selected for the program, conduct their research at the CNCR department of Functional Genomics.

Margherita Farina joined the Vesicle Dynamics and Synaptic Plasticity group of Ruud Toonen in September 2010. Her project, in collaboration with Ines Araujo and C.M. Carvalho from the University of Coimbra, focuses on Syntaxin Binding Protein 1 (STXBP1) in the context of neurotransmission deficits in epilepsy. The study addresses the molecular and behavioral phenotypes of genetic perturbations of the STXBP1 gene in mice. It also investigates the composition of STXBP1 protein complexes in a rat model for epilepsy.

Girish Kedar started his ENC cycle-2 project at the CNCR in August 2011 in the Secretory Vesicle Trafficking team of Heidi de Wit. In collaboration with Silvio Rizzoli and Erwin Neher in Göttingen, Girish investigates the phenomenon of positional priming; the effect of physical distance between pre-synaptic Ca2+ channels and secretory vesicles on the release probability of the latter. The project combines electron microscopy and biophysical experiments with mathematical models.

A third student, Patricia Molina-Luna from Venezuela
will be primarily appointed at the Neuroscience Center Zürich, but will conduct her research in collaboration with CNCR-researcher Huibert Mansvelder (INF).

The curriculum for the ENC-Network-cycle2-students at the CNCR is embedded in the Dutch ONWAR graduate program for neurosciences. In addition it contains newly developed ENC-Network courses, advanced-method workshops and annual ENC-meetings. For more information, please visit

Students appointed in the third cycle of ENC-network are expected to be appointed before the summer of 2012.