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.