What we do

Drosophila as a model to study neurodevelopmental disorders

Its exceptional efficiency, available genetic toolboxes, grossly conserved neurobiology, and behavioral repertoire make Drosophila an extremely versatile model for research into the disorders that we are interested in. Many of our research activities fall into one or several of the following themes:

  • In-depth mechanistic studies into specific genetic Neurodevelopmental Disorders, most importantly those associated with Intellectual Disability (ID) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). We are also interested in further diseases and (endo)phenotypes that frequently co-occur with ID/ASD, such as Sleep disorders, Epilepsy, ADHD, and Cerebellar Ataxia.

  • Development/optimization/validation of disease-relevant Drosophila paradigms, preferentially those that parallel tests used in mice and patients, to facilitate translational research.

  • Large-scale functional studies that phenotype-specific aspects of neuronal morphology, function, or animal behaviour in a large number of disease models. The collected multiparametric data are used to identify novel key pathways and functional modules that underlie cognitive (dys)function.

  • Application of Drosophila and the knowledge gained about the most characteristic fly phenotypes for a specific disease (sub)group to support diagnostics in the era of next-generation sequencing (Fly-2-clinics program).

  • Identification of those Drosophila ID/ASD models with cognitive or other disease-relevant deficits that are reversible at adult stages; Testing of pharmacologic and alternative treatment regimes to contribute to the development of treatment.

courses we teach in

MED-MIN16: Minor Translational Neuroscience (info)

SOW-DGCN34: Neurogenetics (info)

(incomplete list...)

You can always contact us if you are interested to join the lab for a literature or practical internship. We are happy to have you!