'The purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one.'
-Malcolm Forbes
'The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around.'
-Thomas A. Edison
'Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think.'
-Ambrose Bierce

Benoeming van dr. Roel Ophoff tot bijzonder hoogleraar Psychiatrische moleculaire genetica

Posted by Admin on April 2019
Roel Ophoff Wij zijn erg verheugd te kunnen melden dat het College van Bestuur EUR ingestemd heeft met de benoeming van dr. Roel Ophoff tot bijzonder hoogleraar Psychiatrische moleculaire genetica per 1 april 2019. Roel werkt bij UCLA in Los Angeles in de Verenigde Staten, maar hij zal eens in de twee maanden een week bij het Kushner lab en andere groepen binnen het Erasmus MC werken. Graag wil Roel kennismaken met zijn collega’s van de afdeling Psychiatrie en mogelijkheden tot samenwerking bespreken.

Roel's langetermijnvisie voor de leerstoel is om meer begrip van de genetische architectuur van psychiatrische stoornissen tot stand te brengen en manieren te vinden om deze kennis in de klinische praktijk toe te passen voor verbetering van de patiëntenzorg en ziektepreventie.

Roel beschrijft zijn visie en werkzaamheden als volgt:
Roel Ophoff - human genetics 'The foundational principle of human genetics is the understanding of genetic variation and its impact on health and disease. I find this basic principle seductively simple but also most intriguing. Proper understanding of genetic variation even without prior knowledge of its underlying biology can be used to identify genetic risk factors involved in human disease. My PhD training (1993-1997) took place at the Leiden University (The Netherlands) with Dr. Rune Frants. My research resulted in the identification of a migraine susceptibility gene, a brain-expressed voltage-gated calcium channel alpha1 subunit. Interestingly, we and others observed that different mutations in this gene were linked to very different human diseases ranging from hemiplegic migraine, episodic ataxia to progressive forms of ataxia. My postdoctoral training took place at UCSF (with Dr. Nelson Freimer), where I studied the genetic basis of a complex trait, bipolar disorder (BP), in a population isolate using Identical-By-Descent (IBD) mapping as a first exploration of a genome-wide association study (GWAS). The following years (2000-2005), I moved to UCLA (Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics), obtained two NIH R01 grants to (i) study a genomic inversion region at chromosome 8p23 and (ii) develop genetic tools for the study of neurobehavioral traits in a non-human primate. When opportunity arose in 2005 to join the faculty of UMC Utrecht and work with Dr. René Kahn, I also obtained NIH funding for a GWAS in a Dutch schizophrenia (SCZ) cohort. I joined the European consortium SGENE (now defunct) and subsequently was one of the first to form the Psychiatric GWAS Consortium (later renamed to Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, PGC) for SCZ studies. New collaborations were established with ALS researchers at UMC Utrecht and additional NIH funding for this purpose was obtained. During this time, I also initiated a study of CSF neuro-metabolites in humans based on the findings in the non-human primate model. Since my NIH grants were administered through UCLA, I travelled extensively during this time. I moved back to Los Angeles by the end of 2010 but continued my collaboration with UMC Utrecht, I obtained additional NIH funding for further study of the schizophrenia (epigenetics) as well as a large collection of a new Bipolar Disorder Cohort in The Netherlands. In addition to the PGC-SCZ working group, I also joined the PGC-BP group, the ENIGMA consortium for the study of MRI brain imaging data (because of the extensive data collected for the SCZ and BP studies). More recently, the whole genome sequencing consortium of psychiatric disorders (WGSPD) consortium was established of which I am one of the steering committee members. Current projects in my research laboratory focus on (i) improving our understanding of the genetic architecture of SCZ and BP by statistical and molecular studies, (ii) analysis of accelerated aging in SCZ using the epigenetic clock, (iii) leveraging medical electronic records for the study of psychiatric disorders, (iv) advancing phenotype studies in SCZ and BP cohorts, (v) genetic atlas of CSF metabolomics for the study of brain disorders, in addition to the consortium work with the PGC-SCZ, PGC-BP, WGSPD and other exome sequencing of SCZ (SCHEMA) and BP (BSC) consortia. Since 2000 I have regularly participated in NIH Study Sections (for grant reviews), NWO committees, and was member of the Wetenschappelijke Raad of the Hersenstichting and the MS Foundation. I have been (and still are) responsible for multiple courses of human genetics and/or medical genetics in the Medical School and the PhD graduate program at UCLA. I am also co-director of the NINDS T32 Postdoctoral Training program of Neurobehavioral Genetics at UCLA. I am not licensed to practice medicine.'

Wij zijn erg blij met zijn komst en wij wensen hem heel veel succes.

It is a great pleasure to announce the following recognitions of achievement of Steven Kushner

Posted by Admin on August 2018
Steven Kushner First, Steven has been elected as Chair of the Dutch Society for Neuroscience, starting 1 July 2018. A true honor to run the nations Neuroscience!

Second: the Dean has invited Steven to be a member of the Research Council of the Erasmus MC.
From the letter of the Dean: 'On 19th February, the Board of Directors approved a proposal for setting-up a new Research Council as an independent advisory committee to the Dean. The Research Council will have the responsibility for closely following internal and external research (policy) developments and advising on their opportunities and possible consequences for Erasmus MC. Discussion topics within the Research Council include: 1) (inter)national and novel developments in science, 2) funding of research, 3) organization and evaluation of research, 4) research infrastructure, 5) local, national and international strategic research alliances, and 6) opportunities for increasing societal impact of research'.
Steven will represent 'Thema Hersenen & Zintuigen' in the Research Council.


July and August
No meetings

Wetenschapslunch Psychiatry

The first meeting after summer is scheduled for Monday September 2nd at 12 h in CQ1, Dp-Building

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Erasmus University EUR
With a population of over 600,000, Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands and the centre of the Rotterdam-The Hague metropolis. It's famous for its port, one of the biggest in Europe. The River Maas runs through our 'skyscraper city' with its innovative architecture. Behind the modern skyline, you'll find a nice, even 'cosy' historic city centre.