Neuronal Pattern Generation Group

Practically all functions of the central nervous system emerge on the level of networks of neurons. A key function of these networks is the generation of rhythmic patterns of activity. In the spinal cord such activity patterns are used to drive repetitive movements for locomotion. In the cortex, rhythms are involved in perception and memory processes. Neuronal networks in culture also generate rhythmic activity and can therefore be used as models for rhythm generation in small local networks.
We use rat and mouse cell and tissue cultures to combine extracellular multielectrode array (MEA) recordings with intracellular patch clamp recordings.
We are studying the mechanisms involved in the generation of oscillatory electrical activity patterns in spinal cord and cortical circuits. In particular, we have investigated the contributions of the cellular properties of neurons, of the synaptic interactions between neurons and of the activity-dependent electromagnetic fields to rhythm generation.
In addition, we are interested in the ability of neuronal circuits of the spinal cord to regenerate after lesions. In this context investigate to which extent two segregated spinal cord slices can re-grow together and synchronize their activity in culture, and how such functional regeneration can be influenced by the implantation of embryonic cells.
The major aim of these projects is to gain new insights into the mechanisms of plasticity and regeneration in the spinal cord and for the development of new therapeutic strategies.