Multidisciplinary approaches of the brain
Until recently, fundamental issues regarding brain function and brain disease mechanisms have been addressed primarily using full reductionist approaches, which has led to the identification of many individual genes and proteins with (possible) key roles. Notwithstanding the importance of these studies in pinpointing candidate genes, we have come to realize that in order to understand brain function and to design rational treatment strategies for brain disorders, we need to use multidisciplinary approaches to reveal the extended genetic and protein networks that underlie cellular function and orchestrate the complexity of neuronal circuitry, and that ultimately translate into complex (abberant) behavior.
Working at different levels of organization, individual investigators of the ENC Network have recently made important progress in unraveling biological and pathological principles of neuronal complexity, thereby laying the foundation for a neuroscience-systems biology. Partners have discovered novel principles of how neurons pass information onto other neurons, and how to share transmitter vesicles among synapses. Also, gene-cascades that modulate synaptic transmission have been characterized and how modulation of individual synapses affects network properties have been unravelled.