PhD candidate Anouk Schrantee, researcher at Amsterdam Neuroscience and Amsterdam Public Health, received an Off Road grant from ZonMw. This grant allows her to conduct research off the beaten track. In Anouk Schrantee’s case, studying the relationship between neurometabolism and functional connectivity, and learn about restoring it with therapy or medication.

The ZonMw Off Road program gives young scientists the opportunity to conduct medical or health care research. The honored research projects address topics that are off the beaten track and aim to bring new insights and unexpected breakthroughs in healthcare innovation. The special feature is that preliminary research is not necessary and that ZonMw does not look at the researcher's previous achievements. Of the twelve grants, three went to researchers at Amsterdam UMC including the one for Anouk Schrantee.

Anouk Schrantee: I am very excited about this project, as it allows me to study fundamental neuroscientific processes that can be applied to investigate clinical questions.

The resting brain: neurometabolite signaling underlying brain network fluctuation

We have long assumed that the vast majority of energy going to the brain is needed to perform tasks, but it turns out that more than 80% of the energy is spent on the brain in rest. An MRI technique that measures brain function in rest, has shown that (non-adjacent) areas of the brain exhibit similar activity and are functionally linked (functional connectivity). The degree of this functional connectivity is important for predicting cognitive function and appears to be aberrant in neuropsychiatric disorders. However, we do not yet understand how energy metabolism in brain regions (neurometabolism) gives rise to functional connectivity between these regions. Using a novel MRI protocol, Anouk Schrantee will investigate the relationship between neurometabolism and functional connectivity. By identifying these relationships, the researchers can ultimately learn how dysfunctional connectivity can be restored by therapies or medications that influence neurometabolism.