Brain and Cognition (BRAIN) The UMCG Research Institute for Neurosciences and Healthy Brain Ageing performs research to understand the development and decline of healthy brain function over a lifetime. Institute
The UMCG Research Institute for Neurosciences and Healthy Brain Ageing performs research to understand the development and decline of healthy brain function over a lifetime.
Humans are characterized by perceptual, mental, and cognitive abilities. These features determine how the world is being perceived and how the physical and social environment is being interpreted and interacted with.

This institute conducts research aimed at a better understanding of human perception and mental functioning and the brain as a whole, as well as at developing more effective treatments for current and future patients. The facility’s researchers draw inspiration from the care provided. In turn, the research conducted by them improves the care provided. Our activities include:

  • Promoting active collaborations between fundamental and clinical researchers and adopting a multidisciplinary approach to neuroscience research;
  • Studying molecular mechanisms and systemic factors underlying brain disease and disease progression;
  • Unravelling basic aspects of perception, mental wellbeing, and brain functioning;
  • Translating knowledge into innovative interventions.
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Improvement of diagnosis and treatment

A healthy brain and mind are key to a high-quality life. Unfortunately, not everyone has a healthy brain or mind. Therefore, treatment may be required. However, not all people with specific brain disorders may require the same treatment and the effectiveness of treatment may also vary from person to person.
By focusing on the mechanisms underlying brain disorders and their progression rather than on specific diagnoses or syndromes, it is possible to design and implement innovative and more effective interventions for each individual patient.

To develop optimal treatments:

  • Collaboration between fundamental, preclinical, and clinical researchers within the UMCG is promoted, both nationally and internationally.
  • State-of-the-art facilities and techniques are available, such as the 3 Tesla MRI scanner, PET scanner, EEG scanner, TMS equipment, and data analysis facilities provided by the UMCG Cognitive Neuroscience Center, brain-on-a-chip technology, and near-infrared spectroscopy.
  • Access is provided to multiple patient cohorts and the Lifelines cohort.
  • Excellent relationships with our stakeholders have been built.

By focusing on the mechanisms that lead to brain disorders and their progression, rather than on the specific diagnoses or syndromes, we will be able to design and implement innovative and more effective interventions for each individual patient.

To develop optimal treatments,

  • we stimulate collaboration between our fundamental, pre-clinical and clinical researchers within the UMCG, nationally and internationally;
  • we harbour state-of-the-art facilities and techniques, like our Cognitive Neuroscience Center (with 3 Tesla MR-scanner, PET, EEG, TMS equipment and data analysis facilities), ‘brain-on-a-chip’ technology and near-infrared spectroscopy;
  • we have access to multiple patient cohorts and the Lifelines cohort;
  • we are connected to our stakeholders.
  • The facility makes state-of-the-art techniques available, such as organoid development, brain-on-a-chip, advanced genetic analysis techniques, for example EM nanotomy provided by the UMIC, and single-cell nuclear RNA sequencing. Access is also provided to excellent neuroimaging facilities with state-of-the-art MRI and PET equipment for brain research in laboratory animals as well as in humans.

  • Access is provided to various patient populations to conduct new studies, both within the UMCG and region-wide (e.g. via the Rob Giel Research center (RGOc), the MS Center Noord Nederland, DUtch PARkinson Cohort (DUPARC), and Punt voor Parkinson). Several ongoing cohort studies focus on different disorders, such as psychosis or Parkinson’s disease.

  • Annual meetings are held with stakeholders, such as the Dutch Brain Foundation, ZonMW, and patient organizations including Mind, the Dutch Parkinson patient’s society, and Alzheimer Nederland. During these meetings, knowledge is being exchanged and stakeholders are being listened to, which leads to a very fruitful dialogue.

  • The human mind is one of the greatest marvels in the universe. To explain the complexity of the human mind to everyone who is interested, we organize monthly Marvelous Mind movies. These movies feature aspects of the human mind or specific brain disorders and are introduced by a scientist specialized in the topic discussed. The De Bovenverdieping podcast series is also available, explaining the complex universe of the brain.

    Marvelous Mind is a platform to share our findings with the general public and has been set up in collaboration with the Groninger Forum, Studium Generale, and RTV Noord.

Contact

Visiting address

Ant. Deusinglaan 1,
Building 3217 ('de Brug'), Room 7.21
9713 AV Groningen
The Netherlands