a multidisciplinary consortium that provides a platform for innovative Neurostimulation, neuromonitoring, neuroengineering and neuroimaging applications in animal and clinical studies

Hoebeek lab - Erasmus MC Rotterdam

How does the small brain control the big brain?

'Thalamic studies on cerebello-cerebral interactions'

Since 2011 Freek Hoebeek heads a multidisciplinary team of students and staff. We investigate how the small brain (cerebellum) influences the big brain (cerebrum). Our research focuses on three pillars:

1) The systems and cellular neurobiology of cerebellar input to thalamo-cortical networks
We explore under what circumstances the small brain controls the big brain.

2) Early development of the cerebello-thalamo-cortical interactions
We investigate how the cerebello-thalamic connection in the earliest stages of mammalian neurodevelopment translates into modulation of activity and connectivity in thalamo-cortical networks

3) Neuromodulation of the cerebellar output to stop epilepsy
We develop novel neurostimulation protocols and experimental setups for optimization of deep brain stimulation applications

Please see Our Team for an introduction of the team members

The Hoebeek lab is currently supported by generous research grants from

erasmus-mc zon-mw nwo-alw coolsingel

Tolner & Van den Maagdenberg labs - Leiden UMC

Introducing the labs of Dr. Else Tolner and Prof.Dr. Arn van den Maagdenberg

‘What are the genetic and functional mechanisms underlying attacks of migraine and comorbid epilepsy?’

‘Can we predict, and prevent, attacks?’

Within a multidisciplinary team, functional geneticist prof. dr. Arn van den Maagdenberg and neurobiologist dr. Else Tolner (team member since 2011) lead a wide range of translational studies in mice, and more recently, stem-cell derived models. Overall aims are to unravel disease pathophysiology and develop novel therapeutic strategies for paroxysmal disorders migraine and epilepsy, as well as of comorbid brain disorders such as depression and stroke.

Main research topics are:

1) Molecular genetic causes of paroxysmal brain disorders, foremost migraine and epilepsy. Genes and mutations contributing to disease susceptibility are identified, and omics technology and bioinformatics are implemented for uncovering molecular pathways underlying pathophysiology.

2) Neurobiological mechanisms underlying migraine attack initiation and consequences. Using in vivo approaches (e.g. DC-EEG, LFP, MUA, and LDF) in transgenic migraine mouse models with human pathogenic mutations, we unravel neuronal network characteristics (e.g. excitation/inhibition balance, brain region interactions) of cortical spreading depression and other migraine-relevant features. Non-invasive neuromodulation paradigms are tested to develop long-term normalization of cortical excitation/inhibition dynamics and prevent attacks.

3) Neurobiological mechanisms of seizure initiation and termination. Using a similar in vivo neurophysiological approach, we study the role of cerebellar-thalamo-cortical interactions for seizure termination (collaboration with the Hoebeek lab, Erasmus University Rotterdam), and identify mechanisms contributing to the risk for ‘Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy’(SUDEP). Invasive (i.e. deep brain stimulation) and non-invasive neuromodulation (i.e. optogenetics) approaches aim to develop paradigms to intervene with seizure termination.

4) Neurophysiological features of the diseased human ‘brain-in-a-dish’. Neuronal networks from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are grown in 2D (or 3D) configuration on commercial or custom-made (collaborations with TU Delft and TU Eindhoven) multi-electrode devices with the aim to establish functional human neural networks, as a basis for identification of disease biomarkers and drug testing.

Embedding of our team within the departments of Human Genetics and Neurology (in close collaboration with prof. dr. Michel Ferrari and dr. Gisela Terwindt) makes possible genetic and EEG studies in migraine and epilepsy patients, ensures optimal translation of genetic findings and clinical questions, and provides an inspiring environment for technical, biomedical and clinical MSc and PhD candidates. Clinical collaborations outside the LUMC involve epilepsy referral clinic ‘Stichting Epilepsie Instellingen Nederland’ (SEIN) in Heemstede. Technical partners include TU Delft (neuromodulation; brain-computer interfaces; EEG analysis including 4D-EEG), TU Twente (biosensors; brain-on-chip) and TU Eindhoven (brain-on-chip).

Please see Our Team for an introduction of the team members

Team members:

Dr. Thijs Houben (post-doctoral fellow - LUMC): Characteristics and consequences of optogenetically-induced cortical spreading depression in migraine mice

Drs. Inge Loonen (PhD student - LUMC): The role of spreading depression in migraine and SUDEP mouse models

Drs. Inge Mulder (PhD student - LUMC): Mouse stroke MRI and MS-imaging studies

Drs. Thas Phisonkunkasem (PhD student - LUMC): Modulation of cortical spreading depression and its consequences in migraine mice

Drs. Thijs Perenboom (PhD student - LUMC): Visual and TMS-evoked EEG changes in migraine patients

Drs. Nico Jansen (PhD student - LUMC): SUDEP prevention by cortical counter-stimulation, and deep brain stimulation for seizure termination (collaboration with the Hoebeek lab)

Joost Brinks (Master student - LUMC): Optimization of cerebellar deep brain stimulation paradigms for seizure prevention in an absence epilepsy mouse model

Robin Schoonderwoerd (Master student - LUMC): Functional characterization of mouse and human neuro-iPSCs

Hanieh Mastyani (Master student - TU Delft): Development of a microfluidics chamber for brain-on-chip studies

Chengyu Huang (Master student -Serdijn lab, TU Delft): Improving the brain-computer interface characteristics used for studying neurological disease

Technicians: Ludo Broos, Lisanne Vijfhuizen, Sandra van Heiningen and Maarten Schenke

The Tolner and van den Maagdenberg labs are currently supported by grants from:




Serdijn lab - TU Delft

Introducing the lab of Prof.Dr.Ir. Wouter Serdijn

Please check this link for further information

Dudink lab - Wilhelmina Kinderziekenhuis, UMC Utrecht

Introducing the lab of Dr. Jeroen Dudink lab

Dr. Jeroen Dudink is heading a research group that aims to develop novel imaging routines to study the neurodevelopment in pre-term born children. His recent move from the neonatology ICU ward of the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam to the Wilhelmina Children's Hospital in Utrecht provides the team with optimal embedding and opens new possibilities for MSc- and PhD-candidates. Currently, Jeroen's group consists of:

Drs. Ginette Goossens (PhD student - Erasmus MC): neonatal cerebral ultrasound

Drs. Irene Koning (PhD student - Erasmus MC): fetal cerebral ultrasound

Drs. Kay Pieterman (PhD student - Erasmus MC): diffusion tensor imaging of the neonatal brain

Drs. Fleur Camfferman (PhD student - Erasmus MC): neonatal cerebral ultrasound

Drs. Lottie Stipdonk (PhD student - Erasmus MC): language development in ex-preterm infants

Drs. Charlotte Teunis (Master student - UMC Utrecht): neonatal sleep studies

The Dudink lab is currently supported by generous grant from:

vaillant stw