Psychiatric disorders

• We use social defeat in rats and mice as a paradigm to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms of how the cognitive deficits observed in depression can be a persistent affliction even after remission from depression itself (Sabine Spijker).

• We study animal models of substance/alcohol use disorder (SUD/AUD) to answer how memories of drug/alcohol reward and associated cues evoke relapse to drug seeking, and how we can modify these memories (Michel van den Oever, Taco de Vries). Postmortem human brain tissue of AUD cases is used by Michel van den Oever to study how alcohol dependence affects the synaptic proteome of the prefrontal cortex.

• We use fear conditioning paradigms to reveal the mechanisms of persistent maladaptive memory, and how these memories are encoded in the brain (learning & memory). Recombinant viral vectors and transgenic mouse lines are used for engram tagging and manipulation (Michel van den Oever, Priyanka Rao-Ruiz).

• We study schizophrenia, in cellular models with the aim to translate genetic findings to cellular and synaptic physiology, as well as in mutant mice (Ronald van Kesteren).


In cellular and animal models of psychiatric disorders, we analyse and intervene with gene mutations, based on altered gene and synaptic protein expression. This research is carried out by the teams of Sabine Spijker, Michel van den Oever, Taco de Vries, Mark Verheijen, and Ronal van Kesteren.