Brain function and dysfunction over the lifespan

The brain itself is multidisciplinary, and should therefore be studied as such.

The brain is our most complex organ, and makes us into the functioning beings that we are. It is extraordinarily powerful and resilient, yet also vulnerable. We can see this as the population is ageing, and emotional tolls and stress are increasing. We also see it in the developing child as problems with language development or pervasive disorders arise. And we are now better than ever able to see and measure what happens in the brain.

This research profile area brings together the cognitive and the biomedical neurosciences in a unique multidisciplinary setting, studying brain function and dysfunction in the developing brain, the adult brain and the ageing brain. The underlying belief is that anyone wanting to know why something in the brain goes wrong first has to know what normal brains look like and how they function. We study subjects ranging from language processing (including birdsong) to cognitive robotics, and from migraine to psychiatric disorders and neuro-pharmacology.

In combination with an interdisciplinary approach, (MRI) technology development is the main motor behind brain and cognition research. A 7 Tesla ultra high field MRI scanner is located in the C.J. Gorter Centre for High Field MRI, a joint initiative of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Faculty of Science. The University and the LUMC also have excellent research facilities for EEG, image processing, neurobiological research and behavioural experiments, patient research, neurocognitive modeling, drug research, molecular imaging and data processing.

This research profile area is based in two interdisciplinary research centres. The Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition was set up in 200 6 as a partnership between researchers from four faculties: the LUMC, Social and Behavioural Sciences, the Humanities and the Faculty of Science. In 2008 the Leiden Centre for Translational Neuroscience was established in the LUMC, as a partnership between preclinical, clinical and technological research groups involved in brain research.


  • Paul van den Broek, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience of Education, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Prof.dr. M.A. van Buchem, Professor of Neuroradiology, Leiden University Medical Center
  • Bernhard Hommel, Professor of General Psychology, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Serge Rombouts, MRI specialist/neuroscientist and Director of the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition

Participating Faculties
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
  • Leiden University Medical Center

Individual Grants Awarded
  • Spinoza Prize: 1
  • Royal Academy Professorship: 1
  • Vici: 3
  • Vidi: 8
  • Veni: 5
  • Mosaic: 2

Last Modified: 31-01-2012