Henk Karst

Karst fotov2

Dr. Henk Karst

  • environmental risks
  • translational research
+31 88 75 68821


Henk Karst obtained his PhD degree in Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam) in 1990. Between 1990 and 1997 he was postdoctoral fellow at the University of Amsterdam (SILS). Since 1997 he was appointed as researcher at the University of Amsterdam and from 2009 at the Rudolf Magnus Institute (Neuroscience and pharmacology) in Utrecht.

He studies the effect of stress hormones in the brain with state of the art electrophysiology. He found that corticosterone, besides a slow and long-lasting modulation via the classical genomic pathway, also modulates the brain via a rapid pathway, most likely via corticosteroid receptors in the membrane. These actions are region specific and may explain why emotional memory is processed in a different way than declarative memory.

He is also interested in the interaction between several stress hormones in time and hopes to get more insight in the background of stress related disorders with these studies. 

Research line and group

Research line
Number of PhD students

Personal fellowships and awards

  • NWO, ALW grant, 2008
  • Best article in basal endocrinology 2005
  • Best article in basal endocrinology 2010

Most recent key publications

  • Joëls M, Sarabdjitsingh RA, Karst H. (2012) Unraveling the time domains of corticosteroid hormone influences on brain activity: rapid, slow, and chronic modes. Pharm Rev. 64:901-938
  • Karst H, Berger S, Erdmann G, Schütz G, Joëls M.(2010) Metaplasticity of amygdalar responses to the stress hormone corticosterone. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107:14449-14454
  • Karst H, Berger S, Turiault M, Tronche F, Schütz G, Joëls M.(2005) Mineralocorticoid receptors are indispensable for nongenomic modulation of hippocampal glutamate transmission by corticosterone. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102:19204-19207
  • Karst H, Karten YJ, Reichardt HM, de Kloet ER, Schütz G, Joëls M. (2000) Corticosteroid actions in hippocampus require DNA binding of glucocorticoid receptor homodimers. Nature Neurosci. 3:977-978
  • Karst H., Joels M. (2003) Effect of chronic stress on synaptic currents in rat hippocampal dentate gyrus neurons. J. Neurothysiol. 89:625-633