Thesis defense Geert Poelmans (Donders Series 73)
November 1, 2011.
Promotor: Prof.dr. J. Buitelaar
Genes and protein networks for neurodevelopmental disorders
Geert Poelmans identified new candidate genes for dyslexia and motor coordination problems (MCP), two related neurodevelopmental disorders. In addition, he developed a novel method to 'build' functional protein networks for dyslexia, MCP and two other rather frequent and related neurodevelopmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Building these functional protein networks has led to a better and more profound understanding of the underlying causes of each of the four studied neurodevelopmental disorders. Furthermore, 'neurite outgrowth' - the directed growth of neuronal cells during brain development - seems to be a common, underlying biological process contributing to all four disorders. The results for ADHD and especially ASDs can also provide important clues for the development of new medications that - much more than is currently the case - are aimed at specifically modulating the underlying (and disturbed) biological processes leading to these disorders.