Maarten Frens

My main research aims to unravel the neurophysiological basis of motor learning. The specific aim is to elucidate the link between the cellular mechanisms of neural plasticity in the cerebellum (e.g. LTD), and learning at a systems level (i.e. electrophysiology and behaviour). I do behavioural and electrophysiological experiments in rabbit and genetic mouse models. Furthermore I do behaviour and fMRI studies in healthy humans, as well as patients (see below). In am currently in the process of establishing a new lab for cerebellar work in primates (in collaboration with Prof de Zeeuw and Prof Roelfsema).

Over the last 5 years my lab has established several new techniques that enable experimentation on a level that is not possible elsewhere. These include:

Patient studies are directed at patients that have a deficit that can help elucidate the mechanisms of motor control. Typically these are patients with either genetic  or paraneoplastic disorders, or patients with chronic pain .

Based on the latter research we have developed a model that describes the two-way interaction between motor behaviour and chronic pain (CANS, or RSI). We are in the process of starting a spin-off company (KINEOS research), that will further develop this model, and that will market it as prevention software.

Within our department, my research group works in close collaboration with the group of dr. Jos van der Geest