ONWAR Retreat 2016
Retreat 2016
November 24-25, 2016
Welcome to the ONWAR Retreat 2016

Welcome to the ONWAR and BCRM Graduate School meeting that is traditionally taking place in the woods near Austerlitz. The annual meeting is your chance to get to know your fellow students (better) and learn about the latest developments in neuroscience research. By integrating different fields and views into your own projects, you will explore a problem in greater detail and bring your PhD program to a higher level!

Do you ever have the feeling of “Why am I doing graduate school? I had good grades during my master, that’s probably why they admitted me, but I feel like a failure who does not belong in the program.” “I am afraid that one day, someone will discover that I am not as smart as they thought.” “I feel guilty for using up the department’s funds and not having publications yet.” Well, you are not alone! It actually has a name: “the graduate student syndrome”, also called “the impostor syndrome” (Dr. Clance & Dr. Imes, 1978). This state of mind can be accompanied by self-doubt, low self-esteem and lack of motivation, but has nothing to do with accomplishments! Rest assured: it is very common among staff members as well….

This year, the program has, as always, been made by a committee of a group of dedicated colleagues of yours. They have done a meticulous job of grouping together the topics in the most logical way. That being said, the program encourages you to also look beyond your own topic and explore the vast landscape that is neuroscience. On the one hand, the committee has sought sponsoring and dealt with external parties like true entrepreneurs to make an attractive program; on the other hand, they have taken a reflective stance and incorporated a metascience event that will allow you to actively participate in a discussion about the value of science and the role of science in society. We feel truly proud that the students from ‘our’ ONWAR/BCRM take such an active role and show real concern for not only their own project, but also the future of science in relation to an ever-changing world.

Finally: don’t forget to also relax to boost your creative thoughts. Have fun these two days!

Ysbrand and Vivi

Woudschoten Hotel & Conferentiecentrum
Inspirational business location

Woudschoten Hotel & Conference Centre in Zeist is the inspirational location for your congresses, conferences and courses. Woudschoten is beautifully located on a 45-hectare estate right in the centre of the Netherlands, and is provided with all the facilities required for successful business meetings lasting either a day or several days. We feature 30 multifunctional rooms for meetings of between five and 350 people, all equipped with the latest technology. Woudschoten has 140 comfortable hotel rooms, each with a workstation. Our enthusiastic, welcoming team will support and take care of you from arrival to departure, from early bird breakfast to late evening snack.


A business meeting at Woudschoten combines perfectly with sporting or recreational activities. We will be happy to put together a tailored programme for you. On request, we will be pleased to arrange transport from and to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport.

More information?

If you have questions, would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us:
Phone: +31 (0)343-492 492
Fax: +31 (0)343-492 444
E-mail: info@woudschoten.nl

By car
A28 from Utrecht to Amersfoort/Zwolle
  • On the A28 exit 3 Zeist-Oost/Den Dolder
  • 1st traffic light left
  • At the end of the road, at the roundabout, take the second exit
  • At the next roundabout take the second exit
  • You are now on the driveway Woudschoten
A28 from Zwolle/Amersfoort to Utrecht
  • On the A28 exit 3 Zeist/Den Dolder
  • At the top of the exit at the roundabout take a right
  • At the traffic lights go straight
  • At the end of this road, at the roundabout, take the second exit
  • At the next roundabout take the second exit
  • You are now on the driveway Woudschoten
A12 from Utrecht to Arnhem
  • On the A12 exit 20 Zeist/Driebergen
  • After the exit stay on the road to Zeist
  • In Zeist follow signs Woudenberg, about three kilometers
  • At the fourth roundabout take the second exit
  • You are now on the driveway Woudschoten
By public transport

For the meeting at Woudschoten Conference Center we have arranged transport (from Station Driebergen Zeist to the conference center on Thursday, and vice versa on Friday.) This service is in the hands of the company Besseling. You can recognize the buses by a sign referring to our meeting in the front window of the buses.

On Thursday November 24, there will be three buses leaving Station Driebergen Zeist at:

  • access_time08:30
  • access_time09:05
  • access_time09:20
On Friday November 25, there will be two buses bringing you to Station Driebergen Zeist. Of these two buses, one will return immediately to pick up the remaining persons. Departure times from Woudschoten are:
  • access_time17:00

If you would like to use the normal bus, take line 81 to Woudschoten Hotel & Conference Center. For exact times please refer to 9292.nl.

Book through www.ikreisgroen.nl a seat in the green minibus Driebergen–Zeist railway station to Woudschoten Hotel & Conference Center.

November 24
November 25
Session 1A: Network & Connectivity
November 24 (10:00 - 11:15)
Chair: Martijn van den Heuvel
Session 1B: Development
November 24 (10:00 - 11:15)
Chair: Corette Wierenga
Session 1C: Immune system
November 24 (10:00 - 11:15)
Chair: Jinte Middeldorp
Session 2A: Cognition & Behaviour
November 24 (11:30 - 12:45)
Chair: Harm Krugers
Session 2B: Disease Modeling
November 24 (11:30 - 12:45)
Chair: Elly Hol
Session 2C: Stress & Relaxation
November 24 (11:30 - 12:45)
Chair: Aniko Korosi
Session 3A: Excitation & Inhibition
November 25 (11:15 - 12:30)
Chair: Chistiaan de Kock
Session 3B: Clinical & Therapeutics
November 25 (11:15 - 12:30)
Chair: Eva Naninck
Session 3C: Social & Emotional
November 25 (11:15 - 12:30)
Chair: Vivi Heine
Session 4A: Glia
November 25 (13:30 - 14:45)
Chair: William Richardson
Session 4B: Visual & Auditory
November 25 (13:30 - 14:45)
Chair: Christiaan Levelt
Blitz session 1
November 24 (13:45 - 14:15)
Blitz session 2
November 25 (9:30 - 10:00)
Poster session 1
November 24 (14:15 - 15:45)
Group 1
Group 2
Group 3
Group 4
Group 5
Group 6
Group 7
Group 8
Group 9
Group 10
Group 11
Group 12
Poster session 2
November 25 (10:00 - 11:00)
Group 13
Group 14
Group 15
Group 16
Group 17
Group 18
Group 19
Group 20
Group 21
Group 22
Group 23
Group 24
November 25 (15:30 - 16:30)
William D. Richardson
William D. Richardson

Oligodendrocyte precursors (OPs, NG2 cells) persist in the postnatal mouse CNS, where they continue to divide and generate new oligodendrocytes (OLs) for at least 8 months after birth, though at a decreasing rate [1]. What is the function of the late-forming OLs? Do they simply replace OLs that die through normal wear-and-tear (cell turnover)? To estimate the scale of OL turnover in vivo we induced permanent GFP-labeling of mature OLs by administering tamoxifen to Opalin-CreER: Tau-mGFP reporter mice and counted the OLs that survived over an extended period post-tamoxifen. We found that OLs survive without detectable loss for at least 20 months after birth. Thus, adult-born OLs do not replace dying cells but add to the existing OL population. We counted the number of myelin sheaths made by individual OLs and found that this also did not change appreciably throughout life. Thus, myelinating OLs are extraordinarily stable and long-lived cells (Tripathi et al., unpublished). Whether OLs eventually start to die in old age (after 2 years of age, say) remains to be determined.

We blocked new OL production during early adulthood (P60-P90) by conditional knockout (cKO) of the transcription factor Myelin regulatory factor (MyRF) in OPs, using Pdgfra-CreER plus tamoxifen. This prevented new myelin formation without damaging pre-formed mature OLs (which do not express Pdgfra-CreER). The MyRF cKO mice performed normally on an accelerating rotarod, a test of motor coordination and balance, but were unable to master a more complex motor task (running at speed on a wheel with unevenly spaced rungs), suggesting that active de novo myelination is necessary for motor skill learning [2]. A difference in performance between MyRF cKO mice and control littermates developed within the first 3 hours on the wheel, indicating that OL lineage cells respond rapidly to circuit activity. Using a novel marker of early-differentiating OLs (Enpp6), we detected accelerated production of new OLs in the motor cortex and corpus callosum after only 2.5 hours of running activity [3]. This suggests that new OL production is an integral part of the learning mechanism, occurring hand-in-hand with changes at the level of synapses.

For OLs to participate in learning, they must have a way to detect and respond to neuronal activity. It is known that OPs form physical synapses with unmyelinated axons and receive synaptic glutamatergic or GABAergic input from those axons. We tested whether glutamatergic input regulates OL lineage development in the developing forebrain. cKO of AMPA receptor subunits GluA2 and GluA3 in OL lineage cells using Sox10-Cre reduced the total kainite-evoked current in OPs by >50%. This did not affect OP cell division or the number of OPs but reduced the number of myelinating OLs that formed by 20-30% in the early postnatal period, probably by reducing survival of newly-differentiating OLs (Kougioumtzidou et al., unpublished). This might focus myelination on those axons that actively transmit information, conserving energy and accelerating the assembly of a functioning nervous system.