dr. G.M.J. (Geert) Ramakers Associate Professor
- Translational Neuroscience
Geert Ramakers obtained his PhD degree in Utrecht (1995) with Willem Hendrik Gispen en Flaminio Catabeni (co promotores: Pierre de Graan and Ivan Urban). He performed postdoctoral research in Utrecht (1995 – 1997) at the department of Neuroscience and Anatomy and Oslo (1998 – 2000) at the department of Physiology. In 2000 he was appointed at the UMC Utrecht as assistant professor at the department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology.
His research focusses on cellular and synaptic plasticity; he wants to know how neurons integrate synaptic signals and convert these signals into output signals (action potentials). Research focusses on two brain areas: the hippocampus and the midbrain dopamine system (ventral tegmental area and striatum). Whole cell patch-clamp and field potential recordings in vitro, in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetic approaches are primarily used to study these phenomena.
Plasticity of neural circuits plays an important role during development, learning and ongoing behaviour. Plasticity of neural systems can result from alterations in synaptic strength, as well as changes in neuronal excitability. Unraveling the mechanisms underlying plasticity is fundamental in understanding the physiology of learning and memory and pathophysiology of neurological diseases (e.g. addiction). The aim of his research is to delineate specific processes involved in synaptic and cellular plasticity and eventually the role of these processes in physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
In addition to his research efforts, Geert is also coordinator of the master program Neuroscience and Cognition and the neurotrack within the bachelor Biomedical Sciences.
Cellular and Synaptic Plasticity
Most recent key publications
1: Jongbloets, B. C., Ramakers, G. M. J. & Pasterkamp, R. J. (2013) Semaphorin7A and its receptors: Pleiotropic regulators of immune cell function, bone homeostasis, and neural development. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 1–36. doi:10.1016/j.semcd
2: Meye, F. J., van Zessen, R., Smidt, M. P., Adan, R. A. H. & Ramakers, G. M. J. (2012) Morphine Withdrawal Enhances Constitutive µ-Opioid Receptor Activity in the Ventral Tegmental Area. Journal of Neuroscience 32, 16120–16128
3: Meye, F. J., Trezza, V., Vanderschuren, L. J. M. J., Ramakers, G. M. J. & Adan, R. A. H. (2012) Neutral antagonism at the cannabinoid 1 receptor: a safer treatment for obesity. Mol. Psych. doi:10.1038/mp.2012.145
4: Notenboom, R. G. E., Ramakers, G. M. J., Kamal, A., Spruijt, B. M. & De Graan, P. N. E. (2010) Long-lasting modulation of synaptic plasticity in rat hippocampus after early-life complex febrile seizures. European Journal of Neuroscience 32, 749–758
5: Hoogendam JM, Ramakers GM, Di Lazarro V (2010) Physiology of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the human brain. Brain Stim. 3, 95-118
Fellowship and Awards
1: Marie Curie Training Fellowship
2: NEF: 10-17; Role of network rewiring and axon guidance proteins in experimental epileptogenesis
3: Neuroscience and Cognition Utrecht Grant: Axon Guidance Proteins
4: Ramakers (PI); 01/01/2011 – 01/01/2013; Neuroscience and Cognition Utrecht Grant: Controlling behavior using optogenetics
5: Top Institute Pharma: D1-105, GPCR Forum