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Willuhn group receives NWO VICI-grant for their research focusing on serotonin and dopamine

23 February 2023

Scientists from the Science (ENW), Applied and Engineering Sciences (AES), Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) and Health Research and Development (ZonMw) domains will receive Vici grants worth up to 1.5 million euros. This will enable the researchers to develop an innovative line of research and expand their research group for five years. Vici is one of the largest personal scientific grants in the Netherlands and is aimed at advanced researchers.

At the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, the grant was awarded to researcher Ingo Willuhn and his team for their research into serotonin and dopamine. The impact of neuromodulators dopamine and serotonin on our brain and behavior is vast. Dysregulation of the systems leads to serious disorders and numerous types of medication target these systems. There are many studies looking at the action of serotonin and dopamine, but capturing their various properties remains a challenge.

This failure is rooted in methodological limitations, heterogeneous function of dopamine and serotonin across brain regions, and the fact that it has been widely ignored that they may function synergistically, which means that the combined power of the two systems working together is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately. Willuhn and his team will study dopamine and serotonin signals simultaneously in multiple brain regions, aiming to better understand the neurobiology of dysregulated behaviors, such as impulsivity. Understanding these underlying mechanisms is relevant to many psychiatric disorders.

NWO’s Talent Scheme consists of the Vici, Veni and Vidi grants. The Vici grant targets senior researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research. In doing so, they have also supervised young researchers. Researchers who receive a Vici grant have the opportunity to further develop their research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship, if they do not already have one. ZonMw runs the NWO Talent Programme for the Health Research and Development domain.

Read NWO press release


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