Marloes Henckens


In the Henckens Stress Lab, we aim to understand the neural basis of stress resilience, and the factors that are predictive thereof, as this may hold the key to both the development of improved treatment and the prevention of stress-related disorders. Our lab studies resilience using animal models that allow for the controlled study of its molecular, cellular and neural circuit level underpinnings, differentiating individuals that are behaviorally resilient or susceptible to stress exposure. The use of transgenic mice enables the monitoring of brain activity (with single-cell precision) over lifetime, the investigation of its molecular underpinnings, and its manipulation to show causality to behavior. As such, animal research is invaluable to enhance the mechanistic understanding of psychopathology, but only when translational value to the patient is warranted. Therefore, our research has a strong translational character, both applying backtranslation of patient findings (e.g., phenotypic heterogeneity), and using readouts that can be directly translated to the patient (e.g., resting-state fMRI). Success of these endeavors is assured by close collaborations with fundamental animal researchers, human cognitive researchers, as well as clinicians.