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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

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 proposal of the EU entitled ‘Sensory Processing Sensitivity and drug use recovery pathways”

Homberg and Kiliaan are principal investigators of an EFRO project investigating the effect of early nutrition on healthy brain development

Kiliaan is principal investigator of a Rijnstate-Radboud project entitled: Influence of increased body weight on brain structure and function; are we getting dumber? Influence of Bariatric Surgery on cognition and brain structure in obese persons. A neuroimaging study 

Homberg is partner in Era-net NEURON project “RESPOND” (RolE of Serotonin in the Pathogenesis Of Neurodevelopmental Disorders ): https://respond.mdc-berlin.de/

Homberg is principal investigator of a Science without Borders project aiming to develop a nanosystem to bring BDNF over the blood-brain barrier and to remediate depressive-like symptoms in rats.

Homberg is principal investigator of a project funded by the Donders Institute investigating in animals and humans how serotonergic maternal genotype affects psychiatric phenotypes of offspring

Homberg is principal investigator of a project funded by the Donders Institute investigating in animals the role of myelination in depression and schizophrenia

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
  • Kyriakou EI, Manfré G, Spadaro JA, Nguyen HP, Harst JE, Homberg JR. Anxiety and risk assessment-related traits in a rat model of Spinocerebellar ataxia type 17. Behav Brain Res. 2017;321:106-112.
  • de Raaf MA, Kroeze Y, Middelman A, de Man FS, de Jong H, Vonk-Noordegraaf A, de Korte C, Voelkel NF, Homberg J, Bogaard HJ. Serotonin transporter is not required for the development of severe pulmonary hypertension in the Sugen hypoxia rat model. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015; 309(10):L1164-73.
  • Olde Loohuis NF, Kole K, Glennon JC, Karel P, Van der Borg G, Van Gemert Y, Van den Bosch D, Meinhardt J, Kos A, Shahabipour F, Tiesinga P, van Bokhoven H, Martens GJ, Kaplan BB, Homberg JR, Aschrafi A. Elevated microRNA-181c and microRNA-30d levels in the enlarged amygdala of the valproic acid rat model of autism. Neurobiol Dis. 2015; 80:42-53.
  • Luoni A, Hulsken S, Cazzaniga G, Racagni G, Homberg JR, Riva MA. Behavioural and neuroplastic properties of chronic lurasidone treatment in serotonin transporter knockout rats. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2013; 16(6):1319-30.
  • Homberg JR, Olivier JD, Blom T, Arentsen T, van Brunschot C, Schipper P, Korte-Bouws G, van Luijtelaar G, Reneman L. Fluoxetine exerts age-dependent effects on behavior and amygdala neuroplasticity in the rat. PLoS One. 2011; 6(1):e16646.
  • Wiesmann M, Zinnhardt B, Reinhardt D, Eligehausen S, Wachsmuth L, Hermann S, Dederen PJ, Hellwich M, Kuhlmann MT, Broersen LM, Heerschap A, Jacobs AH andKiliaan AJ. A specific dietary intervention to restore brain structure and function after ischemic stroke. Theranostics. accepted, 2017.
  • 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.
  • Janssen CI, Zerbi V, Mutsaers MP, Jochems M, Vos CA, Vos JO, Berg BM, van Tol EA, Gross G, Jouni ZE, Heerschap A, Kiliaan AJ. Effect of perinatally supplemented flavonoids on brain structure, circulation, cognition, and metabolism in C57BL/6J mice. Neurochem Int. 2015; 89:157-69.

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

Hotel Characteristics

  • Postdocs (8 fte)
  • PhD students (20 fte)
  • Dedicated technicians (1,6 fte)
  • Lab manager (0.8 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