Frank Meye

Contact Information

Location:
Department of Translational Neuroscience
Brain Center | UMC Utrecht
Universiteitsweg 100
3584 CG Utrecht
The Netherlands
Office: Stratenum 4.231

Tel: +31 (0)88 756 1234
E-mail: f.j.meye-2@umcutrecht.nl

About

Introduction

Throughout my career I have been fascinated by how brains encode motivational drives, and how this process can go awry. After my undergraduate studies in cognitive neuroscience (UU, NL), I became particularly interested in the underlying neurobiological “nuts and bolts” for the cognitive and emotional processes implicated in motivated behavior. I did a PhD on G protein-coupled Receptor (common drug targets) control over synapse neurophysiology in the dopamine system and on motivated feeding behavior in the lab of Dr. Geert Ramakers and Dr. Roger Adan (UMCU/UU; PhD obtained 2012). I subsequently did postdoctoral training in the lab of Dr. Manuel Mameli (INSERM, Paris, France), combining neurophysiological approaches with advanced neural circuit mapping/manipulation techniques (e.g. optogenetics, viral tracing), to explore the role of the habenula in drug addiction. Then in 2017 I founded my own research group (UMC Utrecht, NL).

Research

The research of my lab focuses on the neurobiology underlying the interplay between stressed states (due to environmental stressors) and motivated (reward seeking) behavior. This interaction plays an important role in a variety of psychiatric disorders, particularly in those with a strong cyclical manifestation where stress is a common trigger for relapsed maladaptive coping. Eating disorders are prime examples of such conditions. For those suffering from an eating disorder in which binge eating features heavily, stress is often a potent trigger to engage in such a binge. For others, stress has a strong suppressive effect on food intake, and may instead trigger other kind of (mal)adaptive behaviors (e.g. excessive hyperactivity). Indeed, the interaction between stress and reward is a complex and certainly partly individualized one, though there are of course also evolutionarily very well-conserved interactions between what is stressful, what is rewarding and how those processes and underlying systems interact.

The scientific approach of my lab is to use high-resolution neurophysiological measurement techniques to determine, in preclinical models, how stressors change the strength of specific synapses and circuits in the brain (particularly focusing on those linked to processes of motivation, reward, emotional states, and behavioral control). Furthermore we use brain stimulation techniques (e.g. optogenetics, chemogenetics) to gauge the causal contributions of such stress-driven brain changes for motivated (feeding) behavior. Thus by mapping, and then mimicking/preventing/reverting specific effects of stress in these brain systems, we seek to ultimately understand the complex relationship between stress and motivated behavior.

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Frank Meye, PhD.

Publications

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