Prof. dr. Taco de Vries

Prof. dr. Taco J. De Vries has a strong record in the field of drug addiction. Using computer-assisted analysis of operant i.v. (heroin, cocaine, nicotine) and oral drug (alcohol) self-administration behavior; his team particularly focuses on the neurobiological mechanisms involved in vulnerability and relapse to drug seeking. In a well validated animal model of relapse, the defining characteristics of human relapse behavior are mimicked. In his position as an associate professor in the Psychopharmacology group (headed by ANM Schoffelmeer) of the VU medical center, he published several papers on neural mechanisms involved in drug self-administration and relapse. He was the first to show an important role of the endocannabinoid system in relapse mechanisms. Using an i.v. nicotine self-administration paradigm evidence was obtained for a critical role of trait impulsivity in the onset and relapse of nicotine seeking.

In 2007, he was appointed as a full professor at the Dept of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology (headed by Guus Smit), which allows a deeper analysis of addictive behavior at a molecular and cellular level. A good example of this new opportunity is the recent study by Van den Over et al. (2008) in which behavior, proteomic analysis of the synapse and neurophysiological techniques were fully integrated.

Key papers:

Van den Oever MC et al., (2008) Nature Neurosci, 11 1053-1058
Diergaarde L et al., (2008) Biol Psychiatry, 63 301-308
De Vries TJ et al., (2005) Trends Pharmacol Sci 26 420-426
De Vries TJ and Shippenberg TS., (2002) J Neurosci 22 3321-3325
De Vries TJ et al., (2001) Nature Med 7 1151-1154