Portretfoto Maarten Kole

Kole Group

€ 1.8 million for making brain activity visible

On 15 November, Stichting FOM awarded a total of 15.1 million euros to seven new Vrije Fom programma’s. 1.8 million euro was awarded to the Neurophotonics programme: the physics of signals in neural networks. This is a joint effort of the University of Utrecht, the University of Twente and the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. Maarten Kole: “In the near future we will be able to make brain activity much better visible”.

fomlogo_fc-104776In this programme Dr Lukas Kapitein (Utrecht University) will bring experts in the area of neurophysiology together with excellent researchers from photonics to try and unravel the physics principles behind the development and conduction of electrical impulses in intact brain tissue. To make this possible they will make use of advanced photonic techniques, which will enable them to compensate for the unavoidable distortion and scattering of light in tissue.

Principal investigator Kapitein is delighted: “This is a great opportunity to build on recently developed photonics concepts and apply them to a fundamental question about the brain: how do electrical signals in tissue come about and how are they distributed? In addition, the developed technology will also be widely applicable for other questions about the functioning of cells in their natural complex environment.

Vrije FOM-programma’s

A Vrij FOM-programma involves the pooling of knowledge of specific fields of research from specialists from various different Dutch knowledge institutions. The research groups work in fields of physics where the Dutch are particularly well-regarded internationally and whose scientific and societal importance is clear. The new research programmes should lead to a real understanding of recently discovered phenomena and, in some cases, could offer the prospect of new technologies.

Portretfoto Maarten Kole

Kole Group

Axonal Signaling

Axons provide the wiring to connect neurons, and generate and conduct electrical impulses, which are the fundamental operations for fast electrical signaling and information storage in the nervous system. In order to enhance the speed of electrical transmission, axons are tightly wrapped by multiple layers of fatty layers, called myelin, derived from glia cell types. Although myelinated axons play pivotal roles in brain function, only little is understood about the precise electrical properties, their development or electrical architecture. Using advanced electrophysiological methods, high-resolution imaging and computational methods, our group studies signal conduction in the neocortical primary axon.

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