Mission and Strategy
Diseases of the nervous system are amongst the biggest and fastest growing challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. Only a concerted effort of basic and clinical scientists and stakeholders in the clinic and wider society can tackle these challenges. Our work at the interface of clinic and academia should contribute to a better understanding, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the central, autonomic and peripheral nervous systems, muscle diseases and diseases of the sensory systems. Within this reach, we include mental disorders, which we approach with a multidisciplinary approach based on biomedical and psychosocial paradigms.
Promoting mental health. Preventing and treating disease.
Fostering a collaborative environment for researchers and clinicians.
Supporting researchers at all stages of their career.
Reaching out to stakeholders in society.
The research of MHeNs is guided by the insight that the brain mediates behavioural adaptation to the environment, and that higher-order mental, motor and sensory processes converge to guide adaptive behaviour in complex ways. Individual differences in mentation and behaviour are related to (epi) genetic variation and early environmental influences with enduring developmental impact across the human life course from young to old age.
MHeNs’ research traces the origin of cognitive, motor, sensory and behavioural dysfunction to interacting genetic and environmental influences. We focus on common biological pathways such as epigenetics, neuroplasticity, neuronal excitability, neurodegeneration, inflammation, and cerebrovascular regulation. Thereby, we are establish the causes of central nervous system dysfunction (affecting, for example, cognition, emotion, incentive salience, movement and pain perception), finally resulting in diagnosable neurological and psychiatric syndromes requiring treatment. The mechanistic understanding provided by our expertise in biological and behavioural techniques will also be brought to bear on diseases of the peripheral and autonomic nervous system, sensory systems (particularly vision, hearing and balance) and neuromuscular diseases.