Corette Wierenga does research on synapses, the connections between nerve cells. Synapses change as you learn something, but at the same time the function of the whole needs to be maintained. Therefore, synaptic changes are well regulated.
Research on changing synapses produces a lot of knowledge on how nerve cells communicate with each other. Many neurological diseases are caused by communication between nerve cells going wrong. By doing research on communication between neurons, Wieringa contributes to the development of knowledge about the origins of diseases such as autism and schizophrenia.
“In our lab, we use coloured proteins to make synapses visible,” tells Wierenga. “This way, we can use microscopes to get a live view of how those connections change and how new connections are made.”