Research Centers

Collaborative Research Center SFB 807
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Collaborative Research Center SFB 902
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Complex Scenarios of Light Control
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European Research Council
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@ Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Max von Laue Strasse 15, D-60438 Frankfurt / Germany
Ph: ++49-69-798 42518; Fax: ++49-69-798 763 42518


For other website, see here: BMLS

We analyze two areas in molecular and cellular neurobiology: 1) How neuronal activity evokes and modulates behavior, and 2) mechanisms of chemical synaptic transmission. We are also developing methods, particularly in optogenetics. Our model animal is the soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

Components of the machineries that mediate synaptic transmission, both on the pre-synaptic side (e.g. synaptic vesicle proteins), and on the post-synaptic side (e.g. proteins associated with neurotransmitter receptors) are analyzed by a combination of genetics, cell biology and electrophysiology. Furthermore, we use optogenetic tools for fast, bidirectional, optical control of synaptic function, i.e. light-sensitive ion channels, pumps and enzymes from microbial origin (Channelrhodopsin-2 and Halorhodopsin, proton pumps and photoactivated adenylyl cyclase), to precisely trigger synaptic activity and asses synaptic defects, both in vivo and using electrophysiology.

To analyze neuronal networks and their involvement in behavior, we express optogenetic tools in defined neurons, or specifically photoactivate defined neurons, to evoke, inhibit or modulate the behavior controlled by these cells. This allows analyzing cell-autonomous function of genes needed in that cell.