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Translational research

The patient and his or her disease form the starting point for most research themes and approaches in the UMC Utrecht Brain Center. Translational Research, however, uses model systems to resolve questions that –as yet– cannot be answered in humans. This opens up a wide range of possibilities. Humanized genetic animal models are used to examine the onset of disease characteristics under highly controlled environmental circumstances.

We can activate or suppress the activity of specific groups of brain cells at any moment, allowing us to delineate their role in specific cognitive domains such as behavioral control. In a matter of years, individual animals can be followed over the entire course of their life and even across generations, and cells from patients can be reprogrammed into neurons and tested for functional deficits or their response to a library of existing drugs.

This line, more than any of the other lines, also studies healthy brain development to better understand exactly how and under what circumstances normal developmental processes can go awry.

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