Dr M.J.A.G. Henckens (Marloes)

Associate principal investigator - Donders Center of Medical Neurosciences
Associate principal investigator - Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour

Dr M.J.A.G. Henckens (Marloes)
Working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

My research aims to understand how stress exposure can lastingly affect brain function. Using animal models that allow for controlled study of the mechanistic underpinnings of stress-related psychopathology, I intend to elucidate how stress affects the brain. Since the brain is organized as set of functional neural networks, I focus on the neural circuit level (e.g., by whole-brain analyses of neuronal activation by means of rodent MRI or cellular neuronal activity markers, viral tracing, and optogenetics) and combine this with molecular studies to provide detailed mechanistic insight in the causes of altered neuronal circuit structure and function (investigating epigenetic mechanisms and local gene expression). I am particularly interested in inter-individual differences in the neural correlates of stress responsivity and subsequent coping, as I think that the natural resiliency against developing stress-related mental disorders contains unique information for new treatment options. Therefore, I combine these brain analysis methods with a wide variety of behavioural assays, to determine which individuals are relatively stress resilient and which succumb to mental disease.

Research theme: Plasticity and Memory

Research grants and prizes:
• 2019 – Junior Researcher Round Radboudumc
• 2018 – Open Research Area Funding Scheme (DFG & NWO)
• 2015 - Veni Grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)
• 2014 - PhD Thesis Award from the Dutch Neurofederation for best Dutch PhD thesis in Neuroscience of 2013
• 2012 - Feinberg Graduate School Research Grant
• 2012 - Niels Stensen Stipendium
• 2008 - Toptalent Grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO)

Curriculum Vitae

Marloes Henckens studies how stress exposure can influence brain function. She is particularly interested in the differences in stress sensitivity between individuals because she believes that greater insight into stress resilience can help to improve the treatment of stress-related mental illnesses.