Arjen Brussaard

PROF.DR.

19862011

Research activity per year

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Personal profile

Specialisation

Translational Medicine in the field of Neurology and Psychiatry / Valorisation and Innovation

Research interests

Appointments at Amsterdam UMC

Scientific director of Amsterdam Neuroscience - 2016 to present

Chief Scientific Officer of the Industry Alliance Office - 2012 to present

Chair of the Amsterdam Valorisation Board at Amsterdam UMC - 2021 to present

Amsterdam Neuroscience - Amsterdam UMC, VUA and UvA

In 2016 he accepted - with Prof. dr. Diederik van de Beek of the former AMC - the assignment of both Boards of Directors of Amsterdam UMC to establish an Amsterdam-wide research organization for Neuroscience research. This led to the start of Amsterdam Neuroscience in 2016 (see www.amsterdam-neuroscience.com), which currently has more than 1,000 employees, the largest research organization in this field in the Netherlands and beyond. The strength of this organization lies mainly in the ability to initiate excellent and clinically relevant translational neuroscience research.

Industry Alliance Office and Translational Medicine

In 2017, Brussaard was appointed as faculty chair of Translational Medicine in the field of Neurology and Psychiatry at the Amsterdam UMC. His assignment is mainly focused on setting up public private partnerships, a role that he can fully deploy through the Industry Alliance Office of Amsterdam UMC and the VUA, which he foundedin 2012. The Industry Alliance Office establishes collaborations between external biotech and pharma companies and the teams of researchers and clinical specialists available within Amsterdam Neuroscience. From 2014 onwards this resulted in a strong entrepreneurial portfolio and especially in a powerful and innovative business development method in the field of contract research and industry sponsored clinical trials. The commitment of the Industry Alliance Office is not so much based on technology transfer (or technology 'push'), but rather on 'market pull', i.e. new interventions and medication are brought to Amsterdam and validated here in a clinical research setting to accelerate the way in which we bring novel interventions into the clinic. As member of the Amsterdam Resaerch Board of Amsterdam UMC, Brussaard holds the portefeuille Valorisation and Innovation, and in January 2021 he was appointed as the chair of the socalled Amsterdam Valorisation Board, i.e. AVB of Amsterdam UMC. The AVB has 16 board members, i.s. a CSO and a CMO for each Research Institute and functions as a thinkthank in the field of Public Private Partnerships and how to position and organise these.

Biography - 1989 to 1999

Arjen Brussaard (1961) studied at the VU University in Amsterdam, but also conducted research at Utrecht University and in the Katonspital of the University of Basel in Switzerland. After completing his MSc degree, he continued to work on his dissertation for 3 years in the admission department of Neurophysiology at VU University Amsterdam. In 1989, Brussaard left for the United States for several years, where he studied at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, in the research institute of the later Nobel Prize winner Prof. dr. Eric Kandel. In the lab led by Prof. dr. Lorna Role he specialized in the field of synapse physiology, nicotine receptors and brain development. In 1992 he returned to VU University Amsterdam (VUA), where he launched a new line of scientific research focused on synapse physiology over the next 7 years. He was the first in the Netherlands to make electrophysiological recordings of synapses under visual control in fresh brain tissue using the so-called patch clamp technology that even enables cellular derivations in human brain tissue on the VU campus in Amsterdam nowadays. 

Head of department and director of institute - 2000 to 2009

In 2000, Brussaard was appointed as faculty chair of Experimental Neurophysiology and head of a research department of the same name at the VUA. In 2002 he also became head of the Department of Neurosciences at the VUA and in the same year he - with others - was at the basis of the Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research (www.cncr.nl). He also founded an accredited two-year Neuroscience research master's program as director of education in 2002, selecting "at the gate" from the start, and which has delivered 30-50 graduates every year since then.

Founding director of Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam - 2008 to 2016

The establishment of the abiove mentioned graduate program, which was developed in collaboration between VUA and Vumc and through his continued commitment to better align the Faculty of Science with the Medical School’s research strategy, ultimately resulted in 2008 in the creation of a new interfactorial research organization, the Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, which already had more than 450 employees under his chairmanship, and which continued as Amsterdam Neuroscience, when AMC and UvA joined.

Coordinating director of NeuroBasic and ENC-Network - 2009 to 2019

In the same period, Brussaard served as managing director of a large Dutch research consortium, NeuroBasic PharmaPhenomics, in a collaboration between VUA and other Dutch universities. In 2009 he founded the European Neuroscience Campus Network (ENC-Network, see www.enc-network.eu). This international organization acquired and organized both an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master and an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program with ultimately > 200 MSc and 45 PhD graduates.

External positions

Scientific Advisor, Alkermes Inc

1 Jan 202131 Dec 2025