Mission and strategy

Mission

The mission of MHeNs is threefold:
1.    Focusing on a basic understanding of brain function and disease mechanisms,
2.    Understanding the function of genes and proteins, cellular processes and neural and glial networks in relation to human health,
3.    Establishing translational links between laboratory and clinic and vice versa.
This mission can only be made possible by building on multidisciplinary approaches.


Strategy and research area

Research in 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. Research in MHeNs attempts to trace 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 working towards establishing how they lead to early imbalance in mentation and functional abilities of the central nervous system (cognition, emotion, incentive salience, movement and pain perception), finally resulting in diagnosable mental and psychiatric syndromes requiring treatment.
The patient and related problems are the prime focus within the different clinical disciplines, in particular Psychiatry, Neuropsychology and Neurology.