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Newly appointed GELIFES professor, Martien Kas, announces start of major EU project on brain disorders

Press/Media: ResearchAcademic


Martien Kas has recently been appointed as Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at the Groningen Institute of Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) of the University of Groningen. Within the Adaptive Life program, Kas will focus on the neurobiology of adaptive and maladaptive aspects of social behaviour and cognition.

His approach includes the cross-species genetic analyses of neurobiological substrates for maladaptive behaviors of neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), are heritable neurodevelopmental disorders with reduced fecundity, and are characterized by inappropriate behavioral responses to environmental cues. “I focus on the analysis of behavioral strategies, in particular social interaction and behavioral flexibility, which are essential for adaptation. These studies will lead to our understanding of conserved gene function in regulating essential behavioral strategies and will ultimately improve therapeutic and preventive strategies to contribute to healthy aging.

Kas is the project coordinator of a large EU Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) project that aims to unpick the biological reasons underlying social withdrawal, which is a common early symptom of, Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and Major Depressive Disorder. The PRISM project (Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers) started on April 1st, and is a EUR €16.5 million public-private cooperation, uniting researchers from European academic centres, and major pharmaceutical companies.


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