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About us Practical matters How to find us prof. dr. M.J.H. (Martien) Kas

prof. dr. M.J.H. (Martien) Kas

Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience
Profile picture of prof. dr. M.J.H. (Martien) Kas
+31 6 3192 1419 (Direct contact)
+31 6 3192 1422 (Alternative contact)

Current projects:

1. Aims-2-trials:  Exploring the biology of autism to tailor treatments and develop new medicines (Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) project) 
Aim: The main goals of this project are to help us understand autism and to develop effective treatments for aspects of autism for those who want them. We want to do this by bringing together the autism community, researchers, charities and companies across Europe.  We are not trying to cure autism. Instead, we are looking for ways to help with some of the difficulties that autistic people may face, such as difficulties with language and communication, poor mental or physical health, and reduced lifespan. As a principal investigator in the project, we will test the hypothesis that sensory differences during development disrupt sensory processing in the brain, leading to subsequent cognitive and behavioural changes. In addition, in a direct collaboration with King’s College London (KCL), we will explore the hypothesis that hyperactivation of cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical circuits during development underlies stereotypies and repetitive behaviours.  (

2. PRISM: Psychiatric Ratings using Intermediate Stratified Markers (Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) project)
Aim: This project aims to develop a quantitative biological approach to the understanding and classification of neuropsychiatric diseases to accelerate the discovery and development of better treatments for patients. As the project coordinator of this EU Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) project, we aim 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 started on April 1 2016, and is a EUR €16.5 million public-private cooperation, uniting researchers from European academic centres, and major pharmaceutical companies.  (

3. BEHAPP: Longitudinal monitoring of adolescent social behavior in real life and to predict onset of behavioral disorders.
Aim: Providing novel insights into normal social behaviors of young individuals, and identify longitudinal deviations of social profiles that may predict risk for developing behavioral disorders. For these studies, newly developed smartphone app technology will be used to study human social exploration behavior. (

4. SMARD: Monitoring and cognition modification against recurrence of depression (Dutch Brain Foundation).
We aim to improve our understanding of the neurobiological background of resilience and who is most at risk for the recurrence of depression. For these studies, newly developed smartphone app technology will be used.

5. EQIPD: The European Quality In Preclinical Data project (Innovative Medicine Initiative (IMI) project) 
EQIPD aims to inform the design of future preclinical studies to minimise variance and  enhance  reproducibility  by compiling  preclinical  research  data  across industry and academia to determine the primary variables in study design and data analysis that affect data quality and levels of robustness. (

6. Social factors in cognitive decline and dementia: towards an early intervention approach (ZonMW Memorable project).
Environment plays an important role in the development of dementia. Environmental factors that indicate poor social health such as lack of social support and loneliness are presumed to increase the risk of dementia. In this project, we put forward the hypothesis that factors improving social health will slow down the development of cognitive decline and dementia by influencing brain health. We use an integrated analysis of data on social health, cognitive functioning, brain morphology and neuro-inflammation in humans and mice, both with high or low risk for dementia development.

7. Early developmental processes underlying sensory deficits in neurodevelopmental disorders (ZonMW TOP project)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) represents a group of complex neurodevelopmental disorders of strikingly high incidence. The traditional clinical features of ASD are weaknesses in social communicative abilities and restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. As now formally recognized in the DSM-5, children with ASD frequently suffer from disturbances in sensory reactivity.  In fact, sensory abnormalities are one of the most prevalent symptoms of ASD, reported in up to 87% of individuals. In this project, We aim to unravel the causal relationship between aberrations in early activity patterns, miss-wiring of brain circuits, and sensory malfunction in later life.

8.  CANDY:  Comorbid Analysis of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Epilepsy (EU Horizon2020 project)
In Europe, 10-15% of children and adults or 50 to 75 million individuals are affected by neurodevelopmental conditions, such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), intellectual disability (ID), motor problems and language disorders. It is not hard to imagine that one of these conditions alone can have a serious impact on a person’s life. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that several of these conditions often co-exist and, on top of that, go along with somatic illnesses, such as epilepsy. This significantly affects both life expectancy and quality of life and there are no effective treatments to date. In the CANDY project, we investigate the biological links between these neurodevelopmental conditions and co-existing somatic illnesses and how treatment and monitoring of affected patients can be improved. (

9. PSY-PGx: Personalizing medication in psychiatry (EU Horizon2020 project)
As many as two thirds of all psychiatric patients do not respond well to treatment with drugs. While compliance and frequent side effects play a major role, there are also genetic variations which determine whether serious side effects occur, and which can also prevent medication from working. The research group of Prof. Martien Kas (GELIFES) is involved as a partner in this EU project with their Behapp smartphone application for real-world assessments of human behavior ( The Behapp app will be implemented in the clinical trial for passive and active patient monitoring in daily psychiatric care in 9 inclusion sites across Europe. Based on the longitudinal collected smartphone data, Behapp behavioural endpoint measures will be derived and will be integrated in the project with other quantitative biological measures to develop an implementation strategy of pharmacogenetics-based personalised medicine in psychiatry. (

Last modified:25 June 2022 2.47 p.m.