Pieter Voorn

Associate Professor

Research section: Clinical Anatomy & Biobanking
Office: O2 13E55

Main interests

My research interest is the relationship between neuroanatomy and function of the cortex-basal ganglia system: its “functional neuroanatomy”. Because the basal ganglia receive information from the entire cerebral cortex the system is implicated in virtually all motor, cognitive and affective functions. How are these functions subserved anatomically? Moreover, how are these functions subserved under circumstances that fundamentally change information processing, such as altered dopaminergic neurotranmission or inputs from the brain stem? Dopamine neurotransmission may be affected by neurodegenerative disease, such as m. Parkinson, or by substance abuse. It is intriguing to see the similarities in the symptomatology of the two disorders and unraveling the changes in functional organization of the neural systems involved is what I find truly fascinating.

Current projects in the lab essentially focus on the question how disturbances of the cortex-basal ganglia system may lead to behavioral disorders. These disturbances are caused either by inducing Parkinson-related pathology, such as degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, or by treating animals with substances that greatly affect dopaminergic neurotransmission, such as cocaine.