Large-Scale Neuronal Interactions

The central goal of our laboratory is to investigate how cognition and behavior emerges from large-scale interactions across widely distributed neuronal ensembles. How do sophisticated cognitive processes such as perception, decision-making, and motor behavior emerge from large-scale interactions across the brain? Which neural mechanisms coordinate these interactions, how are they dynamically regulated in a goal-directed fashion, and how are these interactions disturbed in neuropsychiatric diseases?

We believe that, in order to successfully address these questions, it is key to link large-scale population measures of neuronal activity to circuit and cellular-level mechanisms. To this end, our lab combines human (MEG/EEG) and animal electrophysiology. A central aim of the lab is to integrate these two lines of research.

Spectral fingerprints of large-scale neuronal interactions

To investigate large-scale neuronal interactions, we focus on the fine temporal structure of neuronal activity. Neuronal activity exhibits oscillations, i.e. periodicity, at various different frequencies and spatial scales. This structure may be key to understanding the neuronal mechanisms underlying large-scale interactions. Oscillations may serve as highly informative markers, or ‘spectral fingerprints’ of the circuit interactions involved in different cognitive functions 

Spectral fingerprints in the ‘resting brain’

In one line of research, we investigate these spectral fingerprints with MEG and EEG in the resting human brain, i.e. without a specific behavioral task. We investigate how networks of brain regions spontaneously coordinate their oscillations at different frequencies and how these large-scale oscillatory interactions are altered in the diseased human brain. Our recent results suggest that oscillatory resting-state interactions may indeed provide sensitive markers for brain pathologies.

Task-specific neuronal interactions

In another line of research, we investigate large-scale neuronal interactions underlying specific cognitive functions. We focus on decision-making and memory as two fundamental cognitive processes that involve flexible interactions across distributed cortical and sub-cortical networks. We study these interactions with M/EEG in humans and with large-scale microelectrode recordings in animals. 

Understanding neuronal interactions in the healthy brain is a prerequisite for unraveling how these interactions are disturbed in the diseased brain. We aim to translate our research into the clinical context to better identify, understand and treat neuropsychiatric disorders. 

Group Leader

    Markus Siegel

    Large-Scale Neuronal Interactions
    Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience
    Otfried-Müller-Straße 25
    72076 Tübingen
    Germany

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News & Press
April 16 2014
A Profile of Werner Reichardt

A look at Werner Reichardt's career from Max Planck Research.


December 4 2013
No Blue Skies for Mice

Scientists at the University of Tübingen study the differential distribution of photoreceptors in the retina of mice

November 28 2013
A New Computer Simulation for the Treatment of Eye Disease

A new study shows the possibilities and limitations of optogenetics as a treatment strategy for forms of blindness.


November 15 2013
International Prize for CIN PhD Student

Katja Reinhard has been awarded the 2013 Lush Prize for research that holds out the prospect of developing new treatments for blindness.

Next Events

April 24 2014, 6:15pm
Neurocolloquium - Two memory systems in the temporal lobe: hippocampus and amygdala
Children‘s Hospital, Hoppe-Seyler-Str. 1, Lecture Hall, Floor C3