Neuronal Plasticity Group

Neuronal plasticity describes the fascinating capability of our brain to modify its structure and function in order to adapt the organism’s behaviour to the environment. This learning process and establishment of a memory trace is based on the modification of the electrical properties of synaptic contracts between neurons, the modification of the electrical and morphological properties of the neurons and a change in the neuronal connectivity pattern by growth or retraction of synaptic contacts. In this context we study the underlying molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and the biophysical properties of single neurons. We also compare the properties of the normal brain to pathologically altered neuronal networks. Here we focus on the development of chronic pain that leads to long-lasting pathological modifications of synapses and neurons. We develop advanced imaging techniques to visualize the smallest neuronal compartments to reveal their function.