Dr. Christiaan de Kock

Associate Professor Department of Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (CNCR), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

+31 20 598 37 43

About Christiaan de Kock

Number of peer-reviewed publications: 46
(a.o. Nature Neuroscience 2x, Neuron 1x, Nature Communications 2x, PNAS 2x, Cerebral Cortex 9x, Journal Neuroscience 7x, etc).

Google scholar: 3495 citations
h-index: 30

  • Associate Editor Frontiers in Neuroanatomy
  • Associate Editor Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience
  • Guest editor of Special Issue in IBRO Journal NEUROSCIENCE: “Barrel Cortex Function” (volume 1, 2018), associated to the international conference BACOFUN, Amsterdam 2016.

Research statement

My research ambition is to elucidate the link between structure and function of identified cell-types to contribute to the construction of a comprehensive knowledge graph on the building blocks of mammalian brains.

This is achieved through cross-scale analysis of function of identified cell-types, ranging from single cell and population in vivo electrophysiology and imaging, to causality studies where interference using circuit manipulations lead to predictive manipulations of behaviour.

Open Positions

Inquiries from talented and motivated students to work on various aspects of our research are strongly encouraged to apply. We offer a working and learning environment where a team of 5-10 enthusiastic scientists works together, collectively learn and as a group push the frontier of what we understand about signal processing in the brain and the link between cell-types, neuronal circuits and behavior!

Project Description

Our brain consists of a vast collection of cell-types, each with a wide range of structural and functional properties. It remains largely enigmatic however how individual cell-types orchestrate behavior, which frustrates a comprehensive understanding of brain function in health and disease. This may explain in part why mental health issues affect over 400 million people around the world at great cost to the economy due to productivity loss as well as health-related burden.

In this project, we aim to study the function of the main (Layer 5) output cell-types of the cortical microcircuit which are involved in behavior that emerges from processing sensory information. We will exploit state-of-the-art genetic tools to study the electrical activity of the two Layer 5 cell-types in cortical brain regions for sensory and associative (sensory+motor) signals in behaving rodents.

Next, we will use a different but comparable toolkit of genetic methods to electrically silence these output cell-types and read-out the consequence of this approach on learned, sensory-guided decision making. Finally, we will translate our findings to human brain and study the functional and wiring properties of the very same cell-types in living brain samples of human patients undergoing brain surgery for treatment of epileptic seizures or tumor.

Detailed understanding of cell-type specific function, underlying brain areas, and cross-scale analysis across species has the potential to inspire the development of novel, effective therapeutic strategies to tackle mental health issues.


We are looking for PhD candidates with a master in neuroscience and a strong motivation to pursue a career in science. Previous experience with

  1. slice or in vivo electrophysiology, or
  2. imaging techniques or
  3. digital reconstruction of neuronal morphology

is essential.

Come and meet the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Meet with Dr. Christiaan de Kock during the PhD Workshop China Dutch Virtual Event.

Learn more about the research team In Vivo Neurophysiology