The thematic area aims at characterizing brain plasticity and unraveling the underlying molecular mechanisms. We will investigate both structural and functional aspects of brain plasticity and their contribution to the development of the healthy and diseased brain.
The brain is the seat of dynamic, experience-based reorganization of neural pathways and refinement of synapses throughout life, under both physiological and pathological conditions. The combination of synaptic plasticity and adult neurogenesis provides a foundation for brain functions such as memory and learning. Furthermore, brain plasticity is essential for the opportunity for recovery and adaptation after brain insults. Indeed, plasticity is a prerequisite for the myriad of brain functions that arise in response to changing environments and demands.
We use cutting edge technology in confocal-, two-photon- and electron microscopy, dynamic optical recording techniques, genetic modifications in animal models, molecular imaging, two-electrode voltage clamp electrophysiology in Xenopus Laevis oocytes, extracellular recordings in brain slices, optogenetics, experimental embryology, stem cell technology and neurochemistry. By combining our efforts we will go beyond state-of-the-art neuroscience to gain insight into mechanisms sustaining brain plasticity and thus pave the way for future therapies.