In CNCR, 150 people work closely together in defining how in essence simple molecular and cellular processes shape the emergent complexity of the brain.
We have the specific ambition to unravel the mechanisms by which brain cells and circuitry act both in health and disease. We aim to translate mechanistic knowledge into understanding of (dys)function of the human brain. Our neuroscience research area covers analysis over many spatial levels, from genes to the intact organism, and over a large temporal scale, from microsecond molecular events to the years of functioning of the human brain.
Genetics. We aim at identifying genetic and neurobiological causes of human complex traits. Recent rapid advances in genetics urge us to advance statistical methodology. We analyze genome-wide association data, develop methods to detect the genetic control of environmental or phenotypic variability and use new computational methods to determine the underlying structure of multiple traits, both in human and rodent data.
Synapse Biology. Synapses are the contact sites of neurons and the fundamental information processing elements at the basis of the unsurpassed computational power of our brain. For many major brain disorders, genetic, acute and age-dependent pathogenesis can be traced back to synaptic dysfunction. No surprise we investigate synaptic transmission and plasticity in detail in human and rodent cells and in animal models.
Circuitry. Synapses in our brain connect about a hundred billion neurons into one astonishing neural network, which enables us to feel, express emotion, to sense the world around us, to walk and to procreate. Here we aim to understand the functional connectivity, properties of neural networks, their development and the computational aspects of neural networks.
Behavior and Cognition. Any complex interaction of an organism with its environment involves behavioral responses that may require higher cognitive functions. New optical and chemo-genetic tools assist us in discovering how elementary aspects of behavior are encoded in neuronal circuitry and how larger networks drive behavior.
Translation from model to human. Here our mission is to study the brain and its disease mechanisms. Through collaboration with clinical researchers, we aim at delivering proof-of-concept for radically new approaches in the early diagnosis of brain disease and the elucidation of its underlying mechanisms, thereby providing new perspectives on therapy.
To read more, please visit the departments of CNCR.