We investigate how different populations of neurons coordinate their activity in time and how this influences information processing in the brain. We combine electrophysiological recordings in mice with opto- and chemogenetic manipulations, anatomical investigations and behavioral tests.

Current research

Flexible regulation of information flow between brain areas

The brain processes information through complex neural networks, adapts through learning and memory mechanisms, and integrates new knowledge with existing frameworks. The interplay of various brain regions and processes allows us to perceive, understand and navigate the world around us. Funded by the European Research Council, the olfACTION project focuses on sensory areas in the brain responsible for processing information from olfaction, the sense of smell. The aim is to understand whether learning-induced changes in sensory areas occur independently or if they are driven by signals from higher brain areas associated with learning and memory. We will explore neural activity and propagation of information through parallel electrophysiological recordings from several brain areas, optogenetic manipulations, anatomical assessments and behavioral tests.

Rapid responses dominate odor-evoked activity in piriform cortex (PIR) and lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC).

Inhibitory synaptic dynamics and cortical gamma oscillations

Gamma oscillations are commonly observed in the mammalian cerebral cortex. They emerge from interactions of excitatory and inhibitory neurons and provide a relatively easy readout of coordinated population activity with field potential recordings. While its exact functions are still a matter of debate, oscillatory activity in the gamma frequency range has been proposed to organize neuronal assemblies and to shape information processing in cortical networks. The specific parameters of gamma oscillations depend on the underlying microcircuit and vary with the contribution of different interneuron subtypes, over development, and are altered in neuropsychiatric disorders. A direct mapping of molecular and cellular features to specific parameters of gamma oscillations would allow to draw conclusions on the architecture of the underlying circuit from field potential recordings. Thus, mechanistic insights about potential dysfunctions could be inferred from population recordings, but the mapping between specific circuit elements and gamma oscillations is still very vague. While excitatory inputs are the driving force, inhibitory synaptic transmission determines the frequency and shape of gamma oscillations. With this project I aim to address how inhibitory synaptic dynamics are linked to specific parameters of gamma oscillations.

Figure Fast oscillatory activity.