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Annette Schenck appointed professor of Translational Genomics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Date of news: 21 September 2020

Annette Schenck has been appointed professor of Translational Genomics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at Radboudumc, with effect from 1 September. The Donders Institute researcher is an expert in the field of brain developmental disorders, based on research with the fruit fly Drosophila.

Annette Schenck 2In her position as professor, Schenck will bring together fundamental and translational research in the field of brain developmental disorders, including intellectual disabilities, autism and ADHD. Her work is leading the use of the fruit fly Drosophila as a very powerful and cost-effective model to better understand how early onset cognitive brain disorders occur - and how to treat them.

Annette: "Over the past few decades we have made tremendous progress in understanding the genetics of these disorders. Now we need to take this knowledge to the next level so that the people suffering from these conditions can benefit. In fruit flies, we can simultaneously explore a wide range of diseases, their interactions, medications and other therapeutic approaches, all in the context of an intact brain capable of learning, remembering and exhibiting other relevant behaviors. My ambition as a professor is to make this classical genetic model applicable as a powerful tool to help shape future health care for cognitive developmental disorders, at an individual and, where possible, broader applicable level."

Arrival at Nijmegen

Annette studied biotechnology at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany. In 2003 she received her PhD and an award for best thesis of the year from the University of Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg, France, for her work on the molecular basis of the Fragile X Syndrome. Her postdoctoral research, at the Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, unravelled the function of a novel cellular organelle.

In 2007 she received a Hypatia research fellowship from the Radboudumc to set up her independent line of research into the molecular, cellular and embryological basis of intellectual disability. In 2008 she received a NWO-ZonMW VIDI grant, and a year later she was an associate professor. Meanwhile, her research is embedded in several European and international consortia. In early 2020 she received a NWO-ZonMW VICI grant, the most prestigious personal career award in the Netherlands.