For the ZonMw Open Competition round of 2023, a total of 29 research teams were awarded a grant from a total budget of € 23 million. With this financing, all research groups can develop innovative team science initiatives that contribute to innovation within fundamental (bio)medical science and healthcare in the long term. Of these 29 research teams, two are (partly) affiliated with Amsterdam Neuroscience. We will highlight their projects below.

Human cortical microcircuits-on-a-chip: a new discovery platform to advance stem cellbased precision medicine for neurodevelopmental disorders

Dr. L.N. Cornelisse (Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc), Dr. N.A. Goriounova (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Dr. J.F. Mejias (University of Amsterdam), Dr. C.M. Persoon (Amsterdam UMC, Location VUmc), Dr. ir. N.R. Tas (University of Twente), Dr. R.F.G. Toonen (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), Prof. dr. M. Verhage (Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc)

This project aims to revolutionize our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) by creating artificial brain circuits in a laboratory environment using patient cells. Currently, studying NDDs is challenging due to limited access to patient brain tissue. Researchers plan to use a combination of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs), microfluidic network chips and computational modeling to mimic brain circuits. They will generate different types of neurons from IPSCs, replicating specific subtypes of interneurons. These neurons will be guided to grow in microfluidic chips to create realistic microcircuits that resemble the brain. Researchers will investigate the role of different neuron types in micronetworks of healthy and STXBP1-related disorders.

EVISION: Electronic neuroprosthesis for VISION restoration

Prof. dr. P.R. Roelfsema (Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience), Prof. dr. R.W. Goebel (University of Maastricht)

EVISION takes an important step towards restoring a rudimentary form of vision for blind people, for whom the connection between eye and brain has been lost so that a retinal prosthesis is not an option. The retina projects to the thalamus and electrical stimulation of the brain cells in one of its nuclei (lateral geniculate body, CGL) leads to the perception of dots of light. Our previous research showed that stimulating brain cells at multiple locations can lead to the perception of shapes, such as letters, just like turning on a series of lights on a matrix sign above the highway. EVISION investigates the observations generated by stimulation of the CGL and the suitability and longevity of a new type of brain prosthesis. The way in which the CGL represents a map of the entire visual field and how this map can be visualized with MRI research in blind individuals is also investigated.