dr. YPY (Yannick) Vermeiren

dr. YPY (Yannick) Vermeiren

Universitair Docent Voeding, Brein en Cognitieve Veroudering

After successful completion of my MSc in Neurosciences at the University of Antwerp, I focused on the neurochemical characterization of behavioral disturbances in Alzheimer's disease during my PhD, for which I received the Santkin prize for Alzheimer research in 2016 (Royal Academy of Medicine). In addition to my postdoctoral research position at the UAntwerp between 2015-2020, I also became a guest researcher at the Dept. of Neurology of the UMCG and Alzheimer Center Groningen (Netherlands), and actively became involved in various neurochemical, neuropathological and imaging research projects concerning dementia. From 2017, my research line became centered around noradrenergic alterations in Parkinson's and Down syndrome subjects with(out) Alzheimer's. My overall research experience thus lies in the domain of behavioral and clinical neurosciences, and neurochemical biomarker studies in neurodegenerative disease, next to studying catecholaminergic and indolaminergic neurotransmitter alterations.

Starting from December 2020 onwards as a fulltime Tenure Track Assistant Professor at the Wageningen University, Division of Human Nutrition & Health, Chair Group Nutritional Biology, I will combine these previously acquired research skills with the study of nutritional alterations in elderly at risk of neurodegenerative disease. As such, my research focus has now broadened to include preventative measures against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, primarily looking at diet and lifestyle, and, the microbiota-gut-brain axis.

On the whole, my ultimate goal in the context of this tenure track path will evolve around three different main lines of research within the overarching theme of Nutrition and Cognitive Ageing:

1) Nutritional interventions on cognitive functioning with ageing

2) Gut-brain axis research in cognitive ageing

3) Identification of nutritional biomarkers for cognitive decline

Overall, these research avenues offer a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating elements of nutrition, neuroscience, neurochemistry and biology, which can provide a holistic understanding of the complex interplay between nutrition, cognitive aging and dementia. Moreover, they have the potential to contribute to the development of preventive strategies and tailored interventions for maintaining cognitive health in the aging population.

The role of tryptophan, the inflammatory kynurenine pathway and serotonin across the microbiota-gut-brain axis in elderly at risk of cognitive deterioration will be one of the topics under investigation (SmartAge-ITN; 2020-2024), next to the effect of a 2-year personalized multidomain lifestyle intervention to maintain optimal cognitive function in aging (MOCIA; 2020-2027). From 2023 onwards, we will also investigate the effects of various prebiotics on gut- and brain health in subjects with subjective cognitive decline (PRECODE project (TKI)), and how nutrition and lifestyle may affect amyloid species in abundancy and chemical-structural state applying state-of-the-art methods from the micron-to-the-nanoscale in older adults across the Alzheimer’s continuum (NWO-KIC, NanoNU-Marker; 2024-2029).

Apart from my position at WUR, I also am still affiliated as an unsalaried Guest Professor at the University of Antwerp (Faculty of Medicine), where I am involved in biomarker dementia studies.