The aim of this research project is to correlate the electrical and structural properties of individual neurons with the genes they express. To this end we employ novel high-throughput methods for single-cell expression profiling. With this approach we also aim to obtain a comprehensive map of the neuronal diversity of the neocortex.
More than 350 ion channels are responsible for the electrical diversity of neocortical neurons. The aim of the Channelome project is to characterize biophysics of these ion channels in a controlled and consistent environment with an automated patch clamp setup.
Using 3D reconstructions of neurons in slices combined with immunohistochemistry and whole mount imaging of brains, our goal is to map: 1) the complete set of cortical neuron morphologies, 2) the relative composition of cortical neuron subtypes, and 3) the long range projections between cortical microcircuits and other brain structures. 4) The morphology and architectural relationships between neurons, glia and vasculature
The LNMC has always been in the forefront in electrophysiological characterization and classification of cortical neurons. We use up to 12 multi-patch clamp setups to study the individual neuronal properties and quantify the principles of local connectivity between these neurons (microcircuits). We also further exploring the role of other neural components in neuronal activity, such as how astrocyte activity affect neuronal circuits.
Keeping in line with earlier pathbreaking work by Henry Markram, the lab continues to study short and long term plasticity, occurring under different time scales ranging from few milliseconds to hours.
Classic neuromodulators, such as dopamine, are known to shape behavior, mediate information relating the value of past experience and behaviors (reward) and to consolidate memories. We explore the effects of neuromodulation on the properties and dynamics of neurocortical microcircuits.
Autism is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder with remarkable symptom heterogeneity, and currently unknown causes and no global treatment. The aim of our group is to address if neural microcircuitry hyper-function is the common neuropathology of autism, as predicted by the Intense World Theory.