Meet the Researcher: Paul J. Lucassen
In what way can your expertise and field of work contribute to the Centre?
“Our expertise revolves around the effects that many environmental factors and stressors have on the brain during different stages of life. That is particularly relevant for UMH where similar questions are studied in an urban context and where we try to understand how the busy ‘city life’ can affect our vulnerability to addiction, depression and mental health problems in general. To study the huge complexity of an urban setting, you have to look at the bigger picture and need a broad and complexity perspective. Ideally, this takes into account all relevant data from that environment, that allow us to build network models of how they are interconnected.
Obviously, living in an urban environment alone is not enough and also genetic risk factors, early/adolescent life history, individual upbringing, education and personality play major roles in determining one’s vulnerability to mental health disorders. We try to take these factors along in our human studies and cellular/animal models, where we can perform controlled experiments manipulating these factors and study related brain changes. By taking a broad interdisciplinary perspective, we ultimately hope to develop novel interventions, that can in principle take place at many different levels; via policy making, social incentives, (neuro)biological and/or psychological/behavioral approaches.
"Plan your work, and then work your plan."
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