THE SCIENTIFIC DRIVER
The mission of Syn2Psy is to train young researchers with novel and innovative tools aimed at a comprehensive biological understanding of conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders.
The Syn2Psy advanced training program will develop 14 individual PhD-level research projects to link disease-associated mutations over synaptic, network and behaviour defects. These projects will intersect basic research with technological development and transfer and social outreach, under a common and focused strategy. Integrated in the 6 work-packages (WP) that shape Syn2Psy, they will address the following scientific questions:
- Q1: How do mutations in genes encoding synaptic proteins result in synaptic, cellular, neurophysiological, circuits and behavioural phenotypes? Do different risk factors result in common phenotypes?
- Q2: What are the mechanisms underlying excitation/inhibition imbalance in different animal models of neuropsychiatric disorders, and can they be harnessed as therapeutic targets?
- Q3: Can nanoscopic and mesoscopic analyses be integrated to understand how synaptic defects result in alterations in neural dynamics?
- Q4: Can the course of neuropsychiatric disorders be altered by strategies that modulate mechanisms of disease? When are these strategies effective?
Each of the 14 projects will address one or more of these topics, building on solid previous and ongoing research on synapse biology and neuropsychiatric disorders, nurtured in the laboratories of the academic and non-academic partners involved . They constitute an opportunity to follow new innovative lines of collaborative research, and also to explore new angles in ongoing projects and previous collaborative efforts between partners. All 14 projects will lead to PhD theses, and ultimatly prepare the next generation of researchers in the field.
Work Package 1 aims to characterize new models of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Work Package 2 aims to test the excitation/inhibition (E/I) imbalance hypothesis in neuropsychiatric disorders using different models of disease.
Work Package 3 deals with testing strategies to modify the course of neuropsychiatric disease.