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Translational Neuroscience Unit Donders Institute Nijmegen

Contact Details

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour (Nijmegen)

Geert Grooteplein 29, 6525 EZ Nijmegen

Judith Homberg

+31 (0)24 11111

Hotel Description

TNU, together with PRIME (Preclinical Imaging Centre); covers facilities allowing the phenotyping of rodent models in order to understand brain function and disorder, from behavior, to neural circuits, cells and molecules. Our facilities are as follows:

1) Facilities to measure motor related functions
2) Facilities to measure emotion
3) Facilities to measure cognition, including learning and memory
4) Facilities to measure social behaviour
5) Facilities to measure sensory functions
6) Pharmacological and virally-mediated manipulations
7) In vivo high volume ensemble electrophysiology
8) In vivo optogenetics
9) In vivo microdialysis
10) In vivo calcium imaging
11) EEG
12) In utero electroperation
13) Telemetry
14) Immunohistochemistry
15) Microscopy (e.g. light sheet microscopy)
16) RT-q-PCR
17) Western blotting

  • Biomedical & health
  • Automated behaviour tracking
  • Image analysis and modelling
  • Neuroscience
  • Biological psychology
  • Preclinical psychiatry

Expertise and Track Record

43500985010 Cognitive testing in the homecage: undisturbed assessment of developmental consequences of perinatal antidepressant exposure in the rat with J.D.A. Olivier (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen). 43500984141 The neural basis of social vocalizations as revealed by high-precision sound localization technology and brain-specific Foxp2 knockouts in the mouse with S.E. Fisher (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics). 43500984127 Scalable, high-resolution optrodes for linking population neural activity to synchronization in the dopamine system in awake animals with M.M. Cohen (Radboudumc)

Our unique selling point is that we offer a complete package from behavior up to molecule to phenotype rodent models in order to understand brain function and how distortions in the brain can contribute to brain disorders. We have equipment and expertise in measuring behavior, in vivo neuroimaging, in vivo microdialysis, in vivo electrophysiology, pharmacological/genetic local brain manipulations, telemetry, ex vivo neuroimaging and molecular biology. We combine well-established technologies with state-of-the-art tools and techniques, such as the measurement of cognition using touch screen operant tasks, the in vivo measurement of large neuropeptides using pressure-cancelling-microdialysis, in vivo calcium imaging and ex vivo 3-D imaging of transparent brains. Our facilities are well organized and structured, providing maximum support with ethical applications, training and planning. Our experts working at TNU interact extensively and are open to new collaborations and giving advice on experimental designs and data analysis, creating an effective platform to address a research question across biological levels .

Homberg is principal investigator of an Eranid project of the EU entitled ‘Sensory Processing Sensitivity and drug use recovery pathways (STANDUP)” and of the Eranet project of the EU entitled” Unveiling the mechanisms underlying the switch to mania during antidepressant treatment: the role of glutamate (UNMET)”.

Homberg and Kiliaan are principal investigators of an EFRO project BriteN investigating the effect of early nutrition on healthy brain development. Homberg is also principal investigator of the EFRO project LIFESTART focusing on factors that improve the start of new (farm) animal life.

Francesco Battaglia obtained an ERC Advanced grant “A theory of global memory”

Benno Roozendaal is principal investigator at the ZonMW Top funded grant “Targeted glucocorticoid treatment for HPA-axis dysfunction in post-traumatic stress disorder: towards personalized treatment”.

Lisa Genzel won a Vidi grant entitled addressing the role of sleep in memory formation and consolidation.

Freya Olafdottir was selected for the Donders Mohrmann Fellowship to conduct research on infantile amnesia.

All these, and several other projects, are currently running at TNU.


Virtually all of our studies involve and integration of techniques (behavior, neuro circuit-related measures, cellular and molecular technologies), as multidisciplinarity is key in the field of Neuroscience. Please see our publications provide on this website, as well as the TNU website to have examples of multidisciplinary studies.

  • Verheij MM, Vendruscolo LF, Caffino L, Giannotti G, Cazorla M, Fumagalli F, Riva MA, Homberg JR, Koob GF, Contet C. Systemic Delivery of a Brain-Penetrant TrkB Antagonist Reduces Cocaine Self-Administration and Normalizes TrkB Signaling in the Nucleus Accumbens and Prefrontal Cortex. J Neurosci. 2016 Aug 3;36(31):8149-59
  • Verheij MMM, Contet C, Karel P, Latour J, van der Doelen RHA, Geenen B, van Hulten JA, Meyer F, Kozicz T, George O, Koob GF, Homberg JR. Median and Dorsal Raphe Serotonergic Neurons Control Moderate Versus Compulsive Cocaine Intake. Biol Psychiatry. 2018 Jun 15;83(12):1024-1035.
  • Karel P, Almacellas-Barbanoj A, Prijn J, Kaag AM, Reneman L, Verheij MMM, Homberg JR. Appetitive to aversive counter-conditioning as intervention to reduce reinstatement of reward-seeking behavior: the role of the serotonin transporter. Addict Biol. 2019 May;24(3):344-354.
  • Barsegyan A, Mirone G, Ronzoni G, Guo C, Song Q, van Kuppeveld D, Schut EHS, Atsak P, Teurlings S, McGaugh JL, Schubert D, Roozendaal B. Glucocorticoid enhancement of recognition memory via basolateral amygdala-driven facilitation of prelimbic cortex interactions. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Apr 2;116(14):7077-7082.
  • Genzel L, Schut E, Schröder T, Eichler R, Khamassi M, Gomez A, Navarro Lobato I, Battaglia F. The object space task shows cumulative memory expression in both mice and rats. PLoS Biol. 2019 Jun 17;17(6):e3000322.
  • Holleman E, Mąka J, Schröder T, Battaglia F. An incremental training method with automated, extendable maze for training spatial behavioral tasks in rodents. Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 29;9(1):12589.
  • van Rhijn JR, Fisher SE, Vernes SC, Nadif Kasri N. Foxp2 loss of function increases striatal direct pathway inhibition via increased GABA release. Brain Struct Funct. 2018 Dec;223(9):4211-4226.
  • Wiesmann M, Zerbi V, Jansen D, Lütjohann D, Veltien A, Heerschap A, Kiliaan AJ. Hypertension, cerebrovascular impairment, and cognitive decline in aged AβPP/PS1 mice. Theranostics. (In press, doi:10.7150/thno.18509).
  • Arnoldussen IA, Wiesmann M, Pelgrim CE, Wielemaker EM, van Duyvenvoorde W, Santos PA, Verschuren L, Keijser BJ, Heerschap A, Kleemann R, Wielinga PY, Kiliaan AJ. Butyrate restores HFD induced adaptations in brain function and metabolism in mid-adult obese mice. Int J Obes (Lond). 2017 . doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.52.
  • Havenith MN, Zijderveld PM, van Heukelum S, Abghari S, Tiesinga P, Glennon JC. The Virtual-Environment-Foraging Task enables rapid training and single-trial metrics of rule acquisition and reversal in head-fixed mice. Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 18;9(1):4790.

The Radboud University, to which TNU belongs, is part of ICT for Brain, Body & Behavior (i3B; http://www.i3b.org/)

Hotel Characteristics

  • Postdocs (approximately 15 fte)
  • PhD students (approximately 40 fte)
  • Dedicated technicians (2 fte)
  • Lab managers (1.5 fte)


  • Please see: http://www.ru.nl/donders/research/research-facilities/tnu/

A quality system is being established

Archive storage of the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging