Cellular and Synaptic Basis of Behaviour

How Neuronal Circuits Control Behaviour

The long term goal of our research is to reach a mechanistic understanding of how anatomically-defined neuronal circuits contribute to specific cognitive behaviours.

We mainly focus on the rodent spatial memory system as a model for understanding how cognitive functions - like internal representation of external space - can emerge from the underlying circuit structure. The experimental accessibility of internally-generated patterns of activity (i.e. place cells and grid cells) offers an unprecedent opportunity for exploring the mechanisms of a “cognitive map of space” at the cellular, circuit and synaptic level.

Methods

Experiments in our lab are centered on newly-established techniques developed in the Brecht lab (Lee et al., 2009; Burgalossi et al., 2011) for performing whole-cell and juxtacellular recordings form single neurons in freely moving rodents. These methods allow to visualize neuronal circuits and to monitor membrane potential dynamics in animals engaged in unrestrained, natural behaviours. In combination with anatomical, molecular and optogenetic tools, we aim at dissecting the structural and synaptic determinants of cognitive spatial behaviours. Insights into the functional architecture of the spatial memory circuits will lay the foundation for understanding cognitive decline in human brain pathologies, such as Alzheimer's and dementia.

In addition, we put great emphasis on technique development and explore alternative approaches for monitoring neuronal activity in behaving rodents beyond the limits imposed by current technological barriers.

Learn more about our work here.


Group Leader and Further Information

Andrea Burgalossi
Cellular and Synaptic Basis of Behaviour
Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
Otfried-Mueller-Str. 25
72076 Tübingen
Germany

Phone: +49 (0)7071 29-88797
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