dr. ir. G. (Geert) Hell

dr. ir. G. (Geert) Hell

Associate Professor
dr. ir. G. (Geert) Hell
  • Translational Neuroscience

Research Programs




Geert Ramakers obtained his PhD degree in Utrecht (1995) with Willem Hendrik Gispen en Flaminio Catabeni (co promotores: Pierre de Graan and Ivan Urban). He performed postdoctoral research in Utrecht (1995 – 1997) at the department of Neuroscience and Anatomy and Oslo (1998 – 2000) at the department of Physiology. In 2000 he was appointed at the UMC Utrecht as assistant professor at the department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology.

His research focusses on  cellular and synaptic plasticity; he wants to know how neurons integrate synaptic signals and convert these signals into output signals (action potentials). Research focusses on two brain areas: the hippocampus and the midbrain dopamine system (ventral tegmental area and striatum). Whole cell patch-clamp and field potential recordings in vitro, in vivo electrophysiology and optogenetic approaches are primarily used to study these phenomena.

Plasticity of neural circuits plays an important role during development, learning and ongoing behaviour. Plasticity of neural systems can result from alterations in synaptic strength, as well as changes in neuronal excitability. Unraveling the mechanisms underlying plasticity is fundamental in understanding the physiology of learning and memory and pathophysiology of neurological diseases (e.g. addiction). The aim of his research is to delineate specific processes involved in synaptic and cellular plasticity and eventually the role of these processes in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. 

In addition to his research efforts, Geert is also coordinator of the master program Neuroscience and Cognition and the neurotrack within the bachelor Biomedical Sciences.

Research line

Cellular and Synaptic Plasticity

Most recent key publications

1: Jongbloets, B. C., Ramakers, G. M. J. & Pasterkamp, R. J. (2013) Semaphorin7A and its receptors: Pleiotropic regulators of immune cell function, bone homeostasis, and neural development. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 1–36. doi:10.1016/j.semcd
2: Meye, F. J., van Zessen, R., Smidt, M. P., Adan, R. A. H. & Ramakers, G. M. J. (2012) Morphine Withdrawal Enhances Constitutive µ-Opioid Receptor Activity in the Ventral Tegmental Area. Journal of Neuroscience 32, 16120–16128
3: Meye, F. J., Trezza, V., Vanderschuren, L. J. M. J., Ramakers, G. M. J. & Adan, R. A. H. (2012) Neutral antagonism at the cannabinoid 1 receptor: a safer treatment for obesity. Mol. Psych. doi:10.1038/mp.2012.145
4: Notenboom, R. G. E., Ramakers, G. M. J., Kamal, A., Spruijt, B. M. & De Graan, P. N. E. (2010) Long-lasting modulation of synaptic plasticity in rat hippocampus after early-life complex febrile seizures. European Journal of Neuroscience 32, 749–758
5: Hoogendam JM, Ramakers GM, Di Lazarro V (2010) Physiology of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation of the human brain. Brain Stim. 3, 95-118

Fellowship and Awards

1: Marie Curie Training Fellowship
2: NEF: 10-17; Role of network rewiring and axon guidance proteins in experimental epileptogenesis
3: Neuroscience and Cognition Utrecht Grant: Axon Guidance Proteins
4: Ramakers (PI); 01/01/2011 – 01/01/2013; Neuroscience and Cognition Utrecht Grant: Controlling behavior using optogenetics
5: Top Institute Pharma: D1-105, GPCR Forum

Research Output (66)

Baclofen and naltrexone, but not N-acetylcysteine, affect voluntary alcohol drinking in rats regardless of individual levels of alcohol intake

Minnaard A Maryse, Ramakers Geert M J, Vanderschuren Louk J M J, Lesscher Heidi M B 1 Apr 2021, In: Behavioural Pharmacology. 32 , p. 251-257 7 p.

Stage-specific functions of Semaphorin7A during adult hippocampal neurogenesis rely on distinct receptors

Jongbloets Bart C., Lemstra Suzanne, Schellino Roberta, Broekhoven Mark H., Parkash Jyoti, Hellemons Anita J C G M, Mao Tianyi, Giacobini Paolo, Van Praag Henriette, De Marchis Silvia, Ramakers Geert M J, Pasterkamp R. Jeroen 10 Mar 2017, In: Nature Communications [E]. 8

Effects of neonatal exposure to the flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol-A, aluminum diethylphosphinate or zinc stannate on long-term potentiation and synaptic protein levels in mice

Hendriks Hester S., Koolen Lucas A. E., Dingemans Milou M. L., Viberg Henrik, Lee Iwa, Leonards Pim E. G., Ramakers Geert M. J., Westerink Remco H. S. Dec 2015, In: Archives of toxicology. 89 , p. 2345-2354 10 p.

Modulation of cue-induced firing of ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons by leptin and ghrelin Open

van der Plasse G., van Zessen R., Luijendijk M. C M, Erkan H., Stuber G. D., Ramakers G. M J, Adan R. A H 17 Jul 2015, In: International Journal of Obesity. 39 , p. 1742–1749

The vital role of constitutive GPCR activity in the mesolimbic dopamine system

Meye F.J., Ramakers G.M.J., Adan R.A.H. 2014, In: Translational Psychiatry [E]. 4

Identification of Srp9 as a febrile seizure susceptibility gene

Hessel E.V.S., de Wit M., Wolterink-Donselaar I.G., Karst H., de Graaff E., van Lith H.A., de Bruijn M.E., de Sonnaville S., Verbeek N.E., Lindhout D., de Kovel C.G.F., Koeleman B.P.C., van Kempen M.J.A., Brilstra E.H., Cuppen E.P.J.G., Loos M., Spijker S.S., Kan A.A., Baars S.E., van Rijen P.C., Gosselaar P.H., Groot Koerkamp M.J.A., Holstege F.C.P., van Duijn C., Vergeer J., Moll H.A., Taubøll E., Heuser K., Ramakers G.M.J., Pasterkamp R.J., van Nieuwenhuizen O., Hoogenraad C.C., Kas M.J.H., de Graan P.N.E. 2014, In: Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. 1 , p. 239-250 12 p.

Physiological challenges for intracortical electrodes

Groothuis J., Ramsey N.F., Ramakers G.M.J., van der Plasse G. 2014, In: Brain Stimulation. 7 , p. 1-6 6 p.

Social isolation stress reduces hippocampal long-term potentiation: effect of animal strain and involvement of glucocorticoid receptors

Kamal A., Ramakers G.M.J., Altinbilek B., Kas M.J.H. 2014, In: Neuroscience. 256 , p. 262-270 9 p.

Neutral antagonism at the cannabinoid 1 receptor: a safer treatment for obesity

Meye F.J., Trezza V., Vanderschuren L.J.M.J., Ramakers G.M.J., Adan R.A.H. 2013, In: Molecular Psychiatry. 18 , p. 1294-1301 8 p.

Repeated agouti related peptide (83-132) injections inhibit cocaine-induced locomotor sensitisation, but not via the nucleus accumbens

Alserda E., Adan R.A.H., Ramakers G.M.J. 2013, In: European Journal of Pharmacology. 719 , p. 187-191 5 p.

All research output

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