Professor in Molecular Pharmacology, Department of Pharmacology and Anatomy, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center, Utrecht, NL
Adan focused his research the last five years on the neural pathways underlying eating disorders and other psychiatric disorders (Neuroscientist. 2019 Mar 13:1073858419834517). Several animal models were used in which for instance anorectic behavior (including hyperactivity) was mimicked or in which animals became obese following exposure to palatable choice diets (Int J Obes (Lond). 2018 Aug;42(8):1445-1457). To address the role of neurons for aspects of behaviour, classical and operant conditioning models were used to study impulsivity, loss of control and decision making (Nat Commun. 2018 Feb 21;9(1):731). Opto- and chemogenetics, fiber photometry, rabies tracing and electrophysiology are applied to address the role of specific neural circuits on behaviors relevant to psychiatric disease. Using viral vector technology, specific subsets of neurons are genetically modified in order to record from them (fiber photometry), silence specific genes or block neurotransmission or control their activity. Results from animal experiments are translated into clinical relevance by using a human genetics approach (Mol Psychiatry. 2018 May;23(5):1169-1180) as well as by neuroimaging (Neuroimage. 2017 Oct 1;159:325-333). Our experience with chemogenetics started when we combined canine adenovirus (expressing cre) and AAV (expressing DREADD) to bring dopamine projection neurons under control of chemogenetics. (PLoS One. 2014 Apr 15;9(4):e95392) and we combined it with fMRI to show that chemogenetic activation of a defined population of dopamine neurons increased neural circuit activity (Neuroimage. 2017 May 11;156:109-118). We combined chemogenetics with fiber photometry and showed how the dopamine system is engaged in food-related decision making. (Nat Commun. 2018 Feb 21;9(1):731) and feeding behavior. (Int J Obes (Lond). 2017 Jul;41(7):1131-1140). We also used chemogenetics to unravel how the dopamine system is involved in attention. (Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 May;42(6):1315-1325). A long term aim is to contribute to the implementation of chemogenetics for the treatment of psychiatric disease.