Dr. Gerard J. Boer (retired since 2007)

Project Group Neuroregeneration
Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences (NIN)
Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences
Meibergdreef 47, 1105 BA Amsterdam
e-mail g.boer@nin.knaw.nl or gerardjboer@gmail.com


Master Biochemistry, Universiteit van Amsterdam (Prof dr. J. Tager)
PhD Geneeskunde, Universiteit van Amsterdam (Prof dr. J. Ariens Kappers) on thesis 'The role of pituicytes in the rat neurohypophysis'
C-degree, Radiation protection, J.A. Cohen Institute, Leyden, and Ministry of Social Affairs, The Hague, The Netherlands)

Employment history

Assistent, Laboratory for Analytical Chemistry, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam (Prof dr. W. Van Tongeren)
Researcher, Project Group 'Histochemistry and Cytochemistry', Netherlands Central Institute for Brain Research (NCIH), Ministery of Education, Amsterdam (Dr. J. Jongkind)
Researcher, Project Group 'Interaction of the nervous system an hormones during maturation and adaptation', Netherlands Institute for Brain Research (NIBR), Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam (Prof dr. D.F. Swaab)
Research leader Project group “Functional Neuroteratology”, Netherlands Institute for Brain Research (NIBR), Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam
Scientific advisor at the Department of Nuclear Medicin, Academic Medical Center,
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam (20% position) (Pro dr. E.A. van Royen) (till 1998)
Senior investigator Project Group “Neuroregeneration” Netherlands Institute for Brain Research (NIBR) as of 2005 Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences (NIN) , Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Amsterdam (Prof dr. J. Verhaagen)
Adviser Project Group “Neuroregeneration”, NIN, Amsterdam (till 2011)

Scientific career

Scientific interest in neuroscience started in 1970 with investigations of glial cells of the nervous system with the model of their functional significance in neuronal release of neurohormones (neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin) from rat neurohypophysis. Thereafter it developed into investigations on the role of vasopressin both in early brain development and in circadian rhythm. Techniques of application of vasopressin were acquired. As of 1982 so-called Accurel plastic mini-devices were developed enabling long-term in vivo neuropeptide suppletion both in rat fetusses and in the adult brain (together with AKZO, Germany). Around 1985 a new technique of neural grafting of embryonic brain tissues was introduced in the lab (and in The Netherlands) on the basis of collaboration with Dr. D. Gash (Rochester, N.Y.) with the possibility to supplement vasopressinergic nerve cells.
The study to the role of vaspressin was extended towards the impact of catecholaminergic dysfunction in early pre- and postnatal life (with Dr. M.G.P. Feenstra, NIN). To this end common pharmaca were applied in pregnant rats and/of their offspring and effects tested in adulthood both neurochemically and behaviorally. General conclusions were that every chemical (peptide, drug, hormone) influencing the brain in normal adulthood has a lasting impact when applied in the perinatal brain development period, visible (mainly) upon challenging behavior and brain function influencable by the drug in adulthood. These rat studies may point to similar subtle effects in human brain development.

In 1995 a new direction was taken with investigations together with Prof Dr. J.J. Verhaagen to the possibilities to apply neural grafting in repair of spinal cord injury. Again using the rat as model it was shown that the motor disabilities of the hindlimbs could partially be restored by cell implantation at the site of the lesion in combination with viral vector-mediated gentransfer for the expression of neurotrophic factors.

Besides the lab work in Amsterdam and because of the direct initiating involvement in the start of NECTAR in 1994 (Munich, Germany:(Network CNS Transplantation And Restoration sponsored by the EC, Brussels) literature studies were done to develop ethical guidance for the retrieval and use of humen embryonic tissue for the implantation in the brain of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Parkinson's disease. This work has led to involvement in the vivid discussions the ethics of human embryonic research in various forums in Europe, including the European Parliament.

Organisational activities (short list, see complete list on separate page)

- Organisator Postacademic course "Neurosecretion", Amsterdam , 1977
- Organisator Dutch British Endocrine Meeting, Maastricht 1978 en Noordwijkerhout 1982
- Member organizing Committee International Summer School of Brain Research, Amsterdam 1979, 1987, 2001 and 2008 (4x)
- Co-organisator EMBO practival course "Immunocytochemistry and its application in brain research", Amsterdam, 1980
- Member International Programme Committee of Schmitt Neurological Sciences symposium on "Transplantation into the mammalian CNS", Rochester, NY, USA, 1987
- Co-organizer of satellite symposium 'Functional Neuroteratology', CINP, Tokyo, Japan, 1990
- Member Organizing committee of the 7th International Catecholamine Symposium, Amsterdam, 1992
- Organisator Meeting of the Network of European CNS Transplantation And Regeneration (NECTAR), Amsterdam (1994-2005, 6x)
- Organisator Annual Dutch Endo-Neuro-Psycho Meeting, Doorwerth (1996-2006, 11x)
- Chair of the Local Organizing Committee of FENS Forum 2010, RAI Congress Center Amsterdam, 2010 (6300 participants)

Board/Committee memberships
- Board member Dutch Society of Endocrinology, 1981-1989
- Initiator and board member of the Network of European CNS Transplantation And Regeneration (NECTAR) 1990-1996
- Member EC Working Group 'Human Embryo & Foetus Protection' (HEF), Brussels, Belgium, 1994-1998
- Board member Dutch Neurofederation, 1997-2007 (as of 2001 secretary, as of 2007 chair)
- Member Research Review panels EC Brussels, Belgium 1998-2016 (11x)
- Member Dutch Health Council Committee “Stem cells for transplantation purposes”, Den Haag, 2001-2002
- Member National Comittee ‘Tissues and Cells’, Ministry of Health, Den Haag 2003
- Member Working Group ‘Intervening in the Psyche”, Europeïsche Akademie, Ahrweiler, Germany 2003-2007
- Board member of the Program Council of the Dutch Program on Tissue Engineering (DPTE) 2004-2007
- Member European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB), London
- Board member of the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), 2008-2011
- Chair Ethical Review Board and Member of the Executive Board of EC CliniGene, Paris, France, 2006-2008


As of 1972 almost 200 papers were published in international (neuro)science journals and books. Co-editorship of 9 science books was executed and about 25 publications were issued in Dutch media (daily journals, magazines and special science booklets).


Officer of the Order of Oranje-Nassau to honor the efforts to promote neuroscience exchange within The Netherlands (Dutch Endo/Neuro/Psycho Meetings) and in Europe (Network for European CNS Transplantation And Restoration).