The cells of the brain and nervous system show an inherently low regeneration capacity in case of injury and ageing. This cluster entails programmes with focus on understanding the cellular mechanisms underlying injury and repair in the nervous system.
Nerve and spine surgery
Principal investigators: Prof.dr W.C. Peul, Prof.dr M.J.A. Malessy, Dr C.L.A. Vleggert-Lankamp | Neurosurgery
The nerve and spine surgery research programs consist of clinically oriented and basic science research. The clinically oriented research program focuses on efficacy of surgical interventions, effectiveness of new devices, shared decision making in neurosurgery and epidemiology. The basic science program is focussed on the improvement of regeneration of injured nerve tissue by combining refined surgical repair with gene therapy-based, regenerative molecular delivery strategies.
Read more: Nerve and spine surgery
Neuro-muscular disorders and axon regeneration
Principal investigators: Prof. dr J.N. Noordermeer, Dr. L.G. Fradkin | Molecular Cell Biology
This program focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying two medically-important signaling pathways. The first is mediated by Dystrophin at the central and peripheral synapses. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patients, who lack Dystrophin, frequently present with cognitive impairments indicating that Dystrophin has important, but poorly understood, roles in the brain.
Secondly, we study the roles of Wnt signaling during the formation of the nervous system and in post-injury repair using invertebrate and vertebrate model systems and human neuroma tissue.
Cochlear implants / oto-biology
Principal investigators: Dr J.J Briaire, Prof.dr J.H.M. Frijns, Dr M.A. Huisman | Otolaryngology
The research on cochlear implants (CIs, electrical prostheses for the deaf) has a strong translational character, by combining computational modelling, imaging, electrophysiology (in animals and humans), psychophysics and clinical trials, and is closely related to the clinical cochlear implant program.
The central theme is improving the interface between the CI and the auditory nerve. Therefore, the oto-biology laboratory investigates autologous cell-based therapy to replace or repair auditory neurons. Neural progenitor cells from hair follicles may serve this purpose. Cell phenotype and fate in vitro and in vivo are monitored using histological techniques and molecular imaging.