Neuroepigenetics

The Neuroepigenetics research line aims to decipher epigenetic mechanisms underlying the development and course of psychiatric, neurological and neurodegenerative disorders. In doing so, this program applies a translational focus in order to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic applications.

Team

Head

Prof. Dr. Daniel van den Hove

E-Mail: Hove_D@ ukw.de; d.vandenhove@ maastrichtuniversity.nl 

Phone: +31 43-3882203  

Collaborators        

  • Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Lesch        
  • Dr. Angelika Schmitt-Böhrer  

PhD students         

  • Johanna Zöller         
  • Renzo Riemens  

Laboratory         

  • Gabriela Ortega, MTA  

Goals and fields of research

The main aim of this program is to increase our understanding the role of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathophysiology of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

The organization of DNA into chromatin enables the cell to use powerful regulatory mechanisms broadly defined as epigenetics. Epigenetic changes are reversible and responsive to environmental influences, unlike genetic mutations, which represent rare events with permanent consequences on genes. Research on Neuroepigenetics aims to characterize the molecular basis that underlies sensitivity to environmental exposures and associated gene-environment (GxE) interactions in (neuro)psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and related endophenotypes, with a particular interest in epigenetics.

This program examines several aspects of epigenetic regulation, such as DNA methylation at promoter sites and chromatin modifications, in view of mental health and disease. Specific objectives are i) to identify epigenetically regulated molecular and cellular pathways that are causally involved in the etiologies of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, ii) to identify epigenetic signatures that predict the development and course of these disorders, ii) to determine the reversibility of neurobiological changes, and iv) to find novel preventive and therapeutic strategies in this respect.

These research themes and related questions are applied to neurodevelopmental disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. State-of-the-art technologies (e.g. ranging from epigenome-wide association studies [EWAS] to single cell methylation profiling) are being employed to analyze epigenetic changes in single genes, signaling pathways or the entire (epi)genome. Research involves various innovative, translational projects using in vitro cell cultures (e.g. in vitro epigenetic editing), in vivo animal models (e.g. in vivo epigenetic editing), and human tissues and/or biologic samples to examine (epi)genetic modifications and to determine the precise mechanism responsible for these changes.

Of note, this research line acts in close collaboration with the Neuroepigenetics group at Maastricht University (the Netherlands).  

Publications

Publications of the Neuroepigenetics group can be found on pubmed.  

Head of Hospital

Prof. Dr. med.
Daniel van den Hove

Translational neuroscience

Contact

schließen