The €4 mln EU project SEROTONIN and BEYOND will officially start on 1st of January 2021!

When a patient is treated for psychiatric symptoms, they are often given drugs that affect brain serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and critically involved in the communication between nerve cells in the brain. An important problem with these ‘serotonergic’ drugs is that patients don’t always respond to them.

In addition to being a neurotransmitter, serotonin has a major influence on brain development. Recent discoveries in brain research indicate that serotonin-mediated changes in brain development play an important role in the cause of psychiatric disorders. However, these changes in brain development are not the target of current drug treatments, and this may explain why they are not as effective as we want them to be.

The scope of the SEROTONIN and BEYOND project

This project aims to train the next generation of serotonin researchers and deliver new fundamental insights in how early life changes in serotonin caused by genetic or environmental factors alter brain development and thereby contribute to the cause of serotonergic psychiatric disorders.

These new insights have the potential to reveal novel targets for future therapies, as well as the developmental windows in which such interventions would be most effective.

A European network for new researchers

This multi-disciplinary project, led by prof Judith Homberg of Translational Neuroscience at Radboudumc, brings together researchers from leading European universities and institutes to create a network with world-leading expertise in serotonin research and training. Together, these partners will train fifteen talented PhD-students to lead research in serotonin, neural development and psychiatry in the years ahead.