Our translational animal experimental research focuses on (serotonergic) genetic and environmental factors that influence brain development and behavioural traits. Interactions between these factors may lead to maladaptive emotional responses as seen in stress-related disorders and addiction, but also cognitive improvements, depending on environmental conditions. It is our overarching hypothesis that the cognitive improvements can be used to offset the maladaptive emotional responses. To test this hypothesis we use unique mutant rats that model human genetic polymorphisms, including the serotonin transporter knockout rat. We also investigate the role of serotonin and environmental factors in brain development and long-term effects on behaviour and cognition. Our main expertise is measuring basic and complex (translational) behaviours in rats, which we combine with invasive measurements, pharmacological manipulations, in vivo neurochemical measurements and neuroimaging, molecular genetic analyses, and immunohistochemical assessments.