Peter Burbach

Burbach foto

Prof. Peter Burbach

  • developmental disorders
  • genetic risks
  • translational research
+31 88 756 8848
Ga naar LinkedIn profiel


Peter Burbach studied chemistry and obtained his PhD degree with Ronald de Kloet and David de Wied at the Rudolf Magnus Institute, Utrecht University,  in 1980. He did postdoctoral research with Jacques Drouin, Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, Canada, and returned in 1982 to the Rudolf Magnus Institute. In 1993 he was appointed as full professor in the molecular biology of neuropeptide systems, in molecular neuroendocrinology (1997) and in molecular neuroscience (2001). He is head of the department Neuroscience & Pharmacology. He is summer scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, USA.

His present research concerns brain development and neurodevelopmental disorders, specifically autism. Key questions in his research concern the pathogenesis caused by mutations in contactins, a specific class of autism genes.

He has started his research in the field of biosynthesis of neuropeptides, and developed his interest in regulatory mechanisms via transcriptional regulation and transcription factors to brain development. He worked on the developmental mechanisms of dopamine neurons, and in recent years his research towards neurodevelopmental disorders.  His work covered a 300 publications amongst which Nature, Science, Nature Neuroscience, Neuron, J. Neuroscience, and PNAS. 

Research line and group

Research line
Number of PhD students
Number of postdocs

Personal fellowships and awards

  • Post-doctoral Fellowship of the Medical Research Council of Canada (1982)
  • C. and F. Demuth Award of the Swiss Medical Research Foundation (1984)
  • Organon Prize for Endocrinology (1985)
  • MBL Fellowship (2001 and 2002)

Most recent key publications

  • Zuko A, Bouyain S, van der Zwaag B, Burbach JPH (2011) Contactins: structural aspects in relation to developmental functions in brain disease. Adv Protein Chem Struct Biol. 8,4143-80.
  • Jacobs FM, Veenvliet JV, Almirza WH, Hoekstra EJ, von Oerthel L, van der Linden AJ, Neijts R, Koerkamp MG, van Leenen D, Holstege FC, Burbach JPH, Smidt MP (2011) Retinoic acid-dependent and -independent gene-regulatory pathways of Pitx3 in meso-diencephalic dopaminergic neurons. Development. 138, 5213-22
  • Smidt MP, Burbach JPH (2009) Terminal differentiation ofmesodiencephalic dopaminergic neurons: the role of Nurr1 and Pitx3. Adv Exp Med Biol. 651, 47-57
  • van der Zwaag B, Franke L, Poot M, Hochstenbach R, Spierenburg HA, Vorstman JA, van Daalen E, de Jonge MV, Verbeek NE, Brilstra EH, van 't Slot R, Ophoff RA, van Es MA, Blauw HM, Veldink JH, Buizer-Voskamp JE, Beemer FA, van den Berg LH, Wijmenga C, van Amstel HK, van Engeland H, Burbach JPH, Staal WG (2009) Gene-network analysis identifies susceptibility genes related to glycobiology in autism. PLoS One. 28;4(5):e5324.
  • Smidt, M.P. and Burbach, J.P.H. (2007). How to make a mesodiencephalic dopaminergic neuron. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 8, 21-32