Press release: EuroSPIN accepted


Prof. Matthijs Verhage (FGA), together with the CNCR spin-off company Synaptologics will receive in total €1.5M for their research as partners in the FP7 integrated project EuroSPIN that will perform systematic functional analyses of synaptic genes implicated in human brain disorders and that was funded this month by the EU after receiving the maximal score (15/15).

Signalling at nerve cell synapses depends on the function of hundreds of synaptic proteins and their interactions. Numerous recent studies showed that a wide range of neurological and psychiatric diseases are ‘synaptopathies’ whose onset and progression are due to mutations of synaptic proteins and subsequent synaptic dysfunctions. The EuroSPIN consortium was granted to pursue a multilevel systems biology approach to determine mechanistic relationships between mutations of synaptic proteins and neurological and psychiatric diseases, and to develop new diagnostic tools and therapies. The concept of the EuroSPIN consortium is based on the current knowledge of disease genes, which will be continuously extended with new human genetic data and complement with large-scale screens of mutant mice in order to identify and characterize disease-relevant mutations in synaptic proteins and corresponding mouse models.
The first phase of the EuroSPIN project is now granted with in total € 12M (total project costs € 15M) distributed over 12 academic and 3 private partners and will run for 4 years. Coordinator of the EuroSPIN consortium is a long term collaborator of the CNCR, Nils Brose. Prof. Brose was one of the keynote speakers at the opening symposium of CNCR in 2003.
For CNCR this grant will mainly support new cellular analyses of presynaptic genes, using both cell biological and physiological assays in cultured neurons. The grant will also be used to strengthen the collaborations with the MCN department of Guus Smit and for the application of gene network knowledge in human genetics by the research team headed by Danielle Posthuma (MGA). Synaptologics will generate novel mouse mutants using transposon technology and perform automated behavioral phenotyping.


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