Maastricht University

Research groups affiliated to EURON:

  • School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNs), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML)
    MHeNs (Scientific Director: Prof David Linden) integrates the clinical and translational research activities of the neuroscience and mental health departments at Maastricht University Medical Center (MUMC) and has a strong position in national and international research in translational approaches based on fundamental research and psychopathology.
  • Dept. Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience
    The Dept. NP&PP (led by Prof Arjan Blokland) consists of two sections: Neuropsychology (NP) and Psychopharmacology (PP). Research and education in these sections is dedicated to the scientific investigation of brain-behaviour relationships. NP focuses on neurocognitive development, ageing and brain injury in a lifespan perspective as well as the underlying contributions of biological and psychosocial factors. PP assesses biological mechanisms that underlie cognitive, affective and behavioural functions by means of controlled pharmacological interventions.
     

List of research groups / themes :

MHeNs Division 1: Cognitive Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience

Division leader: Professor Frans Verhey
Division Deputies:
-    Prof. C. van Heugten
-    Prof. R. van Oostenbrugge

Aim and mission of Division 1
Researchers in this division investigate both the effects of biological, neuropsychological and psychosocial factors, and the effects of ageing on cognition, and on the progression of neurological diseases itself. This division focuses particularly on late life event problems and ageing. Research of Division 1 is related to neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders studied in clinical cohorts (e.g. patients with Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and brain injury) and in cohorts of healthy ageing subjects, focusing on cognitive functioning. Research and care are highly integrated in clinical research centers, such as the Alzheimer Centrum Limburg, the Brain Injury Center, and the Center for Movement Disorders.
With respect to the core topics, the focus is upon:

  • Degeneration of the CNS: Alzheimer’s disease and its prodromal phases, other dementias
  • Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Peripheral nervous system disease
  • Acquired brain damage
  • MS
  • Epilepsy

 

MHeNs Division 2: Mental Health

Division leader: Professor Thérèse van Amelsvoort
Division Deputies:
-    Dr. S Gülöksüz
-    Dr. W. Viechtbauer

Aim and mission of Division 2
The division Mental Health aims to understand the etiology of mental disorders by using dimensional and trans diagnostic approaches applied to ecological, psychological and biological systems. In addition, the work performed in division Mental Health offers opportunities to develop more individualized treatments and accurate predictive markers that could improve a patient’s quality of life, taking into account the daily context of the patient. The mission of Division 2 is to promote mental health, prevent mental disorders and enhance its treatment by using state of the art research methodology in combination with clinical expertise and lived experience.

Mental Health research in the division is organised around cross-disorder themes of research:

  1. ecological momentary assessments through the experience sampling method (ESM) by using a tool which acquires data in real life allowing the study of real-time and real-world person-environment interaction patterns.
  2. risk and resilience prediction by employing large datasets of the general population, high risk and specific clinical samples, including those of rare genetic disorders; this work links with our longstanding interest in neuroimaging of psychiatric and population cohorts.
  3. experimental mechanistic approaches to study proof of concepts or efficacy of novel interventions, including drug treatments, neurofeedback and brain stimulation.

 

MHeNs Division 3: Translational Neuroscience

Division leader: Professor Jos Prickaerts
Division Deputies:
-     Dr. M. Losen
-     Dr. M. Janssen

Aim and mission of Division 3
The mission of the division Translational Neuroscience is to improve significantly the understanding of the mechanisms mediating normal and aberrant functioning of the nervous system, and to innovate clinical care at the levels of prevention, diagnosis and treatment for patients with disorders of the nervous system. We therefore aim to gain knowledge of physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms underlying diseases of the nervous system including mental and motor disorders and sensory system dysfunctions and to develop strategies for improving healthy living, as well as preventing and treating such diseases. In particular we aim to:

  • Gain insight into the (epi)genetic, molecular and cellular mechanisms in disease areas of the central nervous system including Dementia, Depression, Psychosis, Post-Traumatic Stress disorder, Epilepsy, Movement Disorders, Multiple Sclerosis, as well as mechanisms mediating central control of peripheral bodily functions such as Pain, (auto)Immunity, Opthalmological and Vestibular and Neuro-Urogenital functioning. There is also an interest in developmental programming including prenatal and perinatal life.
  • Translate relevant scientific findings into biomarkers development as well as therapeutic applications including lifestyle interventions, pharmacological and antibody-based therapies, or neuromodulation.

 

Dept. Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology

  • Research line 1 Neuropsychology
    Main focus: fundamental and applied research on brain-cognition relationships in a developmental perspective.
  • Research line 2 Psychopharmacology
    Main focus: neurochemical basis of various behavioural functions.