Research Interests

My work is dedicated to develop optical and biophysical tools to investigate the function of neocortical neurons. Its main focus is to answer fundamental biological questions regarding biophysical properties of single cells, calcium signalling and synaptic plasticity. My current work concentrates on the basic mechanisms that are involved in synaptic plasticity and dendritic excitability and signal integration of cortical neurons. Here my interest is to elucidate the biochemical signalling pathways that are involved in the modification of synaptic efficacy by correlated patterns of neuronal activity.

Furthermore I am interested in the basic biophysical properties of neurons and how the dendritic processes of neurons shape and modify electrical signalling within the cell to transform synaptic inputs to action potential output. Dendritic excitability is intrinsically linked to synaptic plasticity because local dendritic depolarization is required for the induction of changes in synaptic transmission strength. We have developed a new approach to whole-cell patch-clamp recording from sub-micron sized dendrites that allows us to study the electrical properties and excitability of any dendritic structure of any neuronal cell type.

Research Techniques

  • 2-photon excitation fluorescence microcopy with infrared-scanning gradient contrast (IR-SGC)
  • 2-photon calcium imaging
  • Somatic and dendritic patch-clamp recording
  • Optical stimulation of neurons
  • STED microscopy
Patch-clamp recording from a basal dendrite of a layer 5 pyramidal neuron
Patch-clamp recording from a basal dendrite of a layer 5 pyramidal neuron. The dendritic recording electrode can be seen to the left.