Systems Neurology at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging.
Our main goal is to understand the cerebral mechanisms that give rise to neurological diseases. The focus of our research is on movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, tremor, and dystonia. We aim to understand: (i) the pathophysiology of disease, such as the cerebral mechanisms underlying disease progression in Parkinson’s disease; (ii) the mechanisms underlying clinical differences between patients, for example in the response to treatment; (iii) the factors that modulate the expression of neurological symptoms, for example the effects of stress on Parkinson’s tremor.
We use a systems approach, focusing on the cortico-striatal circuit and on the interplay between the basal ganglia and the cerebellum. A better insight into the pathophysiology of neurological diseases helps to develop targeted interventions, and it may also help to understand the role specific brain systems in healthy behavior. The tools that we use are functional and structural MRI, neurophysiology, and brain stimulation techniques. For instance, we use transcranial alternating current stimulation (TACS) to manipulate tremor, while testing for system-level effects using fMRI.