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Kalsbeek Group

ZonMw grant for research into the origin of the autonomic nervous system

Sixteen research teams, including the Kalsbeek group, will set up innovative collaborations that contribute to innovation in science and healthcare for the longer term. Each team has received a maximum of 750,000 euros from the program ZonMw Open Competition.

In search for the origin of our autonomic nervous system

The hypothalamus is a small brain area that controls all of our physiology via hormones and autonomic nervous system. Its neuro-endocrine neurons have been well-characterized since a long time. With the newest microscopes and molecular techniques, the group of prof. Kalsbeek together with researchers from Leiden University Medical Center, will now trace and characterize the neurons that control our autonomic nervous system.

Team science

With a view to team science, the program ZonMw Open Competition is specifically aimed at innovative and groundbreaking combinations of two or more research groups. The projects and the teams are assessed against criteria such as creativity, groundbreaking research of high quality, and the utilisation of knowledge via transmission and implementation through, among other approaches, the participation of stakeholders in the broadest sense of the word. The composition of the teams and the synergy between the different research partners was another important element in the assessment.

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Kalsbeek Group

The research of the Kalsbeek research group is focused on those hypothalamic systems that control metabolism, circulation and the immune system. To unravel the mechanisms of hypothalamic integration we study the hypothalamic biological clock and how it enforces its molecular rhythms onto daily physiology and behaviour.

Hypothalamic

The hypothalamus rules those things in life that really matter, such as sex and food, and love and aggression. This ‘primitive’ area at the base of the brain controls all aspects of our lives that are of the utmost importance, but at the same time mostly go unnoticed. Together the various hypothalamic nuclei control how we respond to stress, injury and infection. They determine our appetites for food and water, and subsequently regulate how we use the energy that we have taken in. The hypothalamus ensures a stable blood pressure, blood volume, electrolyte balance and body temperature. Last but not least, the hypothalamus imposes daily rhythms, such as the sleep/wake rhythm, onto our bodies. In other words, the hypothalamus controls the rhythm of our life. These things might seem mundane compared to the intangible mysteries of cognition, but they are of immediate and profound importance for our health and well-being.kalsbeek groep

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