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News Archive 2012

UCC Neuroscientist Attracts Key European FP7 Funding

2 Feb 2012
UCC Neuroscientist Attracts Key European FP7 Funding

Picture: Prof. John Cryan (third row, far right) and collaborators at the kick-off meeting for the TACTICS grant held recently in Arnhem, The Netherlands


Professor John F. Cryan, Head of the Dept. Anatomy & Neuroscience and PI in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre has recently been awarded key research funding under the European Commission's Framework Programme 7 (FP7) Health initiative to understand the neural basis of compulsive behaviour.

The grant “Translational Adolescent and Childhood Therapeutic Interventions in Compulsive Syndromes” (TACTICS) is worth € 6 million overall and also involves researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, Utrecht University, Kings College London, University of Cambridge, UK, Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim, Germany, Tel Aviv University, Israel and Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston in addition to a number of European SMEs. 

Compulsivity is characterized by a repetitive, irresistible urge to perform a behavior, the experience of loss of voluntary control over this intense urge, the diminished ability to delay or inhibit thoughts or behaviors, and the tendency to perform repetitive acts in a habitual manner. Compulsivity is a cross-disorder trait underlying distinct psychiatric disorders that emerge in childhood (autism spectrum disorder; obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD) or adolescence (substance abuse). The multidisciplinary project seeks to integrate structural neuroimaging studies, neurochemistry, behavior, genome-wide genetic analysis, proteomics and Bayesian machine learning tools in both male and female paediatric clinical populations and behavioral animal models. Moreover, it will seek to better understand underlying mechanisms related to glutamate dysfunction in frontostriatal brain circuits and its remediation/prevention by early intervention studies with glutamate-based clinically used drugs.  

Prof. Cryan’s team have a longstanding interest in the consequences of stress in early-life to the development of neuropsychiatric disorders and in this project he will be focused on how such insults can affect the transition from impulsive to compulsive behaviour in the context of drug dependence. Welcoming the funding, Dr Cryan said "From UCC's perspective the research grant has much significance. It underscores how Neuroscience is a thriving and expanding research area in UCC  and has clear overlap with the Research Theme of Child and Maternal Health. Moreover, the network of collaborators on such grants is crucial for tackling such challenging research questions”. This FP7 grant also synergises with complementary research programmes of Prof Cryan in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre ( focused on stress-related disorders and an ongoing FP7 project focused on the developmental aspects of anxiety


Cork NeuroScience CNS Centre - Integrating Clinical and Basic Research

Cork NeuroScien floor,